Smoking Jerky 101

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by mrsmik, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Hey all! I just posted a little bit about me in the "new members" area, so wanted to post my first question!

    I'm making jerky and have the beef all cut and curing in the fridge. I've got that all set to go, but haven't the slightest idea how to cook it in my new smoker! [​IMG]

    I have a Camp Chef 18" Smoke Vault that I will be using


    Can anyone give me a basic guide on what I have to do to smoke the jerky tomorrow, or point me to a thread that discusses how to smoke jerky?

    Thanks for your help!


    PS, I plan on "seasoning" the smoker in the morning, so that it will be ready later in the day for my jerky.
  2. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Bump....I am newer at jerky and some folk will chime in soon....Regarding your set-up....
  3. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, I'm not familiar with your particular smoker, but when I smoke jerky I try to run the smoker at around 140°. I apply smoke for 3 hours. A little smoke goes a long ways especially in thin meat like jerky. [​IMG]

    After 3 hours, I remove the smoke wood (I use my Smoke N Pit which I have converted to propane) and let it go at 140° (or as close to it as I can keep it) until it is the consistency that I want. I like it to bend but not crack. It will continue to dry a little bit after you remove it from the heat so be careful not to overdry it.

    Since your smoker is propane, it may not want to go down that low in temp. Go as close as you can get to 140° to 160° with out the flame going out. If you are having trouble with that, after you have smoked for 3 hours or so you can take it out and put it in the oven. Set your oven to as low a temp as you can and prop the door open a bit so the moisture can escape.

    Hope this helps.

    cowboy igor likes this.
  4. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I make mine in a dehydrator. I just dunk the meat in the flavor and dry it out. I keep it in the fridge after that. Lasts for weeks! Ive used Pork, Lamb, Chicken, Turkey, etc.....
    cowboy igor likes this.
  5. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I cure and soak mine for 3-4 days(24 hrs. is enough)2/3rds. thick x3/4 wide-dry mine with electric at 100-110 with smoke added part way through for a couple 3 hrs.I also like mine meaty-not hard.It sells for $30a#.If your useing a gasser I doubt you will be able to get the low temps,maybe leaveing the door ajar?good luck and if u have to use the oven.
    cowboy igor likes this.
  6. Can I jump in here too? Tomorrow will begin my third attempt at jerky using my Brinkman (rectangular shaped) charcoal smoker.

    1st batch cooked beyond recignition - way to hot for way to long

    2nd batch I hung with toothpicks to dry from top rack - turned out decent considering I could not get the smoker temp above 110-120 F.

    3rd batch to be announced

    Question - Please confirm that I do not fill the water pan while making jerky? I removed it for my first two attempts.

  7. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I believe using water in the pan creates moisture which you definitely don't want while trying to dry out your jerky.
    temps under 150 degrees and lots of ventilation is all you need.

    Post some pics when it's done! :)
  8. white cloud

    white cloud Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just a tip. Instead of using toothpicks, use the bamboo scewers, you can thread 8-10 pieces on each one and space them apart so they fit between you grate spaces. Also try and keep each scewer holding about the same size pieces of meat. Not like a small thin one and a thicker chunk on the same stick.
    cowboy igor likes this.
  9. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have always just marinaded mine and then into the dehydrater for a period of time till done.
    Now for your son tell him thanks for everything and our son is in Germany now awaiting deployment to Iraq on Dec 30. At least he will be home for Christmas with their 3 kids. [​IMG][​IMG]
  10. Kewl - thanks for the advice - Got the meat in the smoker at the moment. Today seems to be the opposite of last time - today Im having trouble keeping temps below 150... Yikes! But as of last check - Im hovering right around the 150 mark.

    Here are some pics of this morning.... (if I can figure out how to post them - standby)
    cowboy igor likes this.
  11. mballi3011, thank you. Please thank your son for his service! We will be sure to keep him and your family in our prayers.

    I'm in the process of "seasoning" the smoker right now. This is definitely going to be a learning process! It said to have it at 175 degrees, but after ten minutes, it was all the way up to 300! Yikes! Gonna have to keep a close eye on it and learn how to keep the temp down or I'm going to have shoe leather when I finally make my jerky! LOL [​IMG]

  12. So, I just sampled my Jerky that I smoked today. Yep, I must say... Its pretty darn good. Well, at least its better than my last two batches that is.

    If Im sick tomorrow - I will let you know. LOL.

    I didnt use a cure, but I did use the marinade ingredients below and refrigeratored it for 14hrs. I smoked the meat with temps that flucuated between 120-145 F for at least 5 hours.

    During the smoke, I had time to read more on this site about food safety which then made me paranoid. So, I took it out from the smoker, and tossed it in the oven at 200 for about an hour. Hoping that would raise the temp and kill off any bad stuff. But, during the oven time, and to add even more to my paranoia, I was reading more and found out that I should have done this before smoking it. Dang it!

    Well, having said all that - I ate some - and man its good. So, if Im sick tomorrow - I will know why.

    1/2 c soy sauce
    1/2 c Worcestershire sauce
    2 tbsp catsup
    2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    2 tbsp sugar (brown)
    1 clove garlic, mashed well
    1/2 tsp onion powder

    I did practice safe handling of the meat, boad, knife, etc. Wish me well.

    Mr. Detroiter
  13. Well, I made my jerky today! I actually started it last night. I bought a roast (don't remember what kind, but very little fat), sliced it VERY thin and then used a seasoning mix that our business sells that includes cure. I used it dry, rather than adding any water to it. I then placed it in a plastic leftover dish and put it in the fridge for 24 hours.

    I "seasoned" the smoker earlier today. I placed the jerky on my jerky racks (I needed three of them), and put it in the smoker with a little bit of apple wood shavings. I placed the shavings on the sides of the cast iron pan and lined the water pan with foil (in case of drippings), but left the pan empty of water.

    I had a hard time regulating the heat at first, and it shot up to almost 300 degrees when I went inside to vacuum! YIKES! OK, gotta keep a close eye on this, that's for sure!

    With the help of my husband (I wasn't sure about how to use the vents, and thought that all the way open would provide more cool air inside (DOH!). I got the vents situated and managed to keep the flame VERY low and was able to keep the temperature at about 140. After about two hours, I took the jerky out, as it appeared done, and we had to leave, and I didn't want to leave the smoker on while I was not home.

    Some of the jerky was done, but the thicker pieces were not quite the way I wanted them. I took the thinner slices off the racks and placed the two racks of thicker slices in the oven in the house.

    My kids LOVED the stuff that was done, and at almost one whole sheet!

    When we got home, I cooked the remaining two sheets in the oven in the house. The lowest my oven will go is 170, so I set it at that and propped the door open a bit. After about an hour and a half, those two sheets were done to my satisfaction!

    I think I'm going to have to hide the jerky or it'll all be gone tomorrow if today was any indication!!!!

    Oh, and here's a pic!
  14. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looking real good.

    I think if you put some water in the pan you wouldn't have thetemperature swing. Also the usda encourages steam to kill any bacteria before drying it.

    Good job.
  15. I cut up a flank steak with the grain about 1/2 an inch wide slices at approximately 4-5 inches in length and let it marinate in 1 cup soy sauce, 3/4 cup worchestershire, and a tbsp each of: black pepper, white pepper, dry rub (with brown sugar), molasses, minced garlic, Jim Beam whiskey, hickory liquid smoke, onion powder, paprika, and a bit of crushed red pepper.  Let it marinate in an airtight zip lock bag for about 6 hours (rotating and massaging every couple hours).  Pierced them with soaked bamboo skewers and threaded them through the top grill in my smoker.  Lit up about 1/4 load in the charcoal chimney and laid down about a 1/4 load unlit coals and added mesquite chunks to control the temp.  Left one bottom vent wide open and the other at about 3/4 open and adjusted with the top vent to just below 150 for about 8 hours.  Best jerky I've ever made.  Still i can judge my own and say it was a bit saltier than I had intended, I may try low sodium soy sauce in the future, or maybe just patting the meat dry with a paper towel before skewering them.

    My advice to people who are having high temp problems is to start with a small load of charcoal and add more briquets if necessary.  I was always taught that a low temp is easier to manipulate than a high one.  Plus you just feel a lot better when you aren't freaking out trying to get the meat out of the smoker before it chars.

    I'm open to suggestions and enjoy giving advice, lay it on me.

    I use a modified 55 gallon UDS.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012
  16. Does any body use the usda guide line about boiling the meat or somking above 160.  I have never had a issue, well not yet.  Won't boiling it be cook the meat and them you would just be drying out the meat.  Would you boil the meat in the merinated.  I am asking because i use a little cheif smoker and it dosn't reach the recomened 160 deg.  what do you guys think.
  17. Hello El Gallo. I've never boiled any of the meat before making jerky. I do however, always use Cure#1 when smoking it low and slow. 

    I see this is your first post, how about swinging by Roll Call and introduce yourself so we can give you a proper SMF Welcome and please update your profile to include your location.

    You can use the search bar at the top of the page for more info or check out the Making Jerky forum here.

  18. I also use cure in jerky and Bologna
  19. nkoenig

    nkoenig Newbie

  20. nkoenig

    nkoenig Newbie

    Use pink salt or cure #1 or Prague powder etc. etc.

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