Where to buy Morton's Tender Quick and size

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by dougmays, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Where did you see me say you can't use anything but TQ????

    I said you can't make a substitute for TQ !

    And who told you "You don't have to be exact when dry curing?? Charcuterie??  You can't just make things up here--Peoples' lives depend on it. True--Nobody should go 100% on what I say either, but at least what I say won't get somebody sick or worse. And then telling people you're getting info like that from reputable places just makes it all that much worse.

  2. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Worth Reading Especially the Red Highlighted Areas...

    Source: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/nchfp/lit_rev/cure_smoke_pres.html

    The National Center for Home Food Preservation
    Guide and Literature Review Series:
    Smoking and Curing

    Curing and Smoking Meats for Home Food Preservation
    Literature Review and Critical Preservation Points

    Document Use | Preface | Table of Contents | References

    6. Critical Preservation Points

    These guidelines have been created by the NCHFP using the 2001 Food Code, which are recommendations created by the United States Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration (PHS/FDA 2001), and other published science-based recommendations as referenced. The guidelines have been reviewed by the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s Advisory Board and external experts. Adhering to these guidelines will minimize the risk of exposure to food poisoning organisms. 

    6.1. General Guidelines

    6.1.1. Sanitation

    All equipment, work surfaces, and utensils should be cleaned and sanitized before and after use (PHS/FDA 2001). An example of a sanitizing solution for home use is 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach in a gallon of warm water (Marchello and Garden-Robinson 1998). Cross contamination between raw and/or dirty surfaces with clean or cooked food products should be of prime concern.

    6.1.2. Storage/Refrigeration

    During storage or refrigeration, raw products must be separated from cooked products. Never store raw products above or in contact with cooked products (PHS/FDA 2001). If necessary, place raw products in pans or utensils approximately 1-2” deep to keep meat juices from contacting with other surfaces.

    6.1.3. Temperature

    The danger zone for microbial growth is 40-140°F (USDA FSIS 1997b). Therefore, store, age, cure, or otherwise preserve meats in a refrigerator below 40°F. Cooking meats to an internal temperature of 160°F will destroy bacteria that can cause foodborne illness (USDA FSIS 1997b). Any recipe that minimizes preservation time within the temperature danger zone followed by cooking to a safe internal temperature will minimize risks of food poisoning.

    6.2. Curing Guidelines

    6.2.1. Meats

    Meat must be fresh prior to applying any preservation method. Curing should not be used to salvage meat that has excessive bacterial growth or spoilage (PHS/FDA 2001). Meat, especially game meat, does not need to be aged, since curing/smoking will act to tenderize it. If aging is desired, age all meats below 40°F. (Cutter 2000).

    6.2.2. Salt.

    Only food grade salt without additives, e.g., iodine, should be used. Using salt with impurities can produce less desirable results, especially with fish (Turner, no date). Thawing must be monitored and controlled to ensure thoroughness and to prevent temperature abuse. Improperly thawed meat could cause insufficient cure penetration. Temperature abuse can allow spoilage or growth of pathogens (PHS/FDA 2001).

    6.2.3. Curing Compounds

    Purchase commercially prepared cure mixes and follow instructions carefully (PHS/FDA 2001) or blend cure mixes carefully at home using an accurate scale.

    Nitrate. Use cure mixtures that contain nitrate (e.g., Prague Powder 2, Insta-Cure 2) for dry-cured products that are not to be cooked, smoked, or refrigerated (PHS/FDA 2001). Dry cure using 3.5 oz. nitrate per 100 lbs. meat maximum or wet cure at a maximum of 700 ppm nitrates (9 CFR Cpt 3. 318.7(c)(4), 381.147(d)(4)).

    Nitrite. Use cure mixtures that contain nitrite (e.g., Prague Powder 1, Insta-Cure 1) for all meats that require cooking, smoking, or canning (PHS/FDA 2001). Dry cure using 1 oz. nitrite per 100 lbs. meat maximum. For sausages use ¼ oz. per 100 lbs. (Reynolds and Schuler 1982). A 120 ppm concentration is usually sufficient and is the maximum allowed in bacon (PHS/FDA 2001).

    Nitrites are toxic if used in quantities higher than recommended; therefore caution should be used in their storage and use (PHS/FDA 2001). About 1 g or 14mg/kg body weight sodium nitrite is a lethal dose to an adult human (USDA FSIS 1997b). Mistakenly using sodium nitrite instead of NaCl in typical curing recipes can lead to a lethal dose of nitrite in the incorrectly cured product (Borchert and Cassens 1998). For this reason it is safer to purchase and use curing mixtures rather than pure nitrites (saltpeter).

    6.2.4. Cure Penetration

    Cure mixtures do not penetrate into frozen meats. Before curing, it is essential to thaw meats completely first in the refrigerator. Pieces must be prepared to uniform sizes to ensure uniform cure penetration. This is extremely critical for dry and immersion curing (PHS/FDA 2001). Use an approved recipe for determining the exact amount of curing formulation to be used for a specified weight of meat or meat mixture (PHS/FDA 2001). All surfaces of meat must be rotated and rubbed at intervals of sufficient frequency to ensure cure penetration when a dry curing method is used (PHS/FDA 2001). Immersion curing requires periodic mixing of the batch to facilitate uniform curing (PHS/FDA 2001). Curing should be carried out at a temperature between 35°F and 40°F. The lower temperature is set for the purpose of ensuring cure penetration and the upper temperature is set to limit microbial growth (PHS/FDA 2001). Curing solutions must be discarded unless they remain with the same batch of product during its entire curing process –because of the possibility of bacterial growth and cross-contamination, do not reuse brine (PHS/FDA 2001).

    6.3. Smoking

    Verify that smokehouses operate as intended (heat, airflow, moisture). Appropriate calibrated thermometers should be used (for cooking temperature and meat internal temperature). Procedures for delivering the appropriate thermal treatment of cooked meats in conformance with the Food Code must be developed and used. Smoke itself, without proper cooking, is not an effective food preservative (Hilderbrand 1999). Caution should be used when smoking meats at temperatures in the danger zone 40-140°F for prolonged periods of time. In such a case meats must have been salted or cured first.

    6.3.1. Smoke Cooking

    Consumers should smoke cook foods to internal temperatures as listed by the USDA (USDA-FSIS 1999).

    Table 6.1. Internal Temperatures for Smoke Cooking of Foods (USDA-FSIS 1999).
    Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures
    Turkey, chicken165
    Veal, beef, lamb, pork160
    Fresh Beef
    Medium Rare145
    Well Done170
    Fresh Veal
    Medium Rare145
    Well Done170
    Fresh Lamb
    Medium Rare145
    Well Done170
    Fresh Pork
    Well Done170
    Chicken, whole180
    Turkey, whole180
    Poultry breasts, roast170
    Poultry thighs, wings180
    Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)165
    Duck & Goose180
    Fresh (raw)160
    Pre-cooked (to reheat)140
    Fin FishCook until opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
    Shrimp, lobster, crabShould turn red and flesh should become pearly opaque.
    ScallopsShould turn milky white or opaque and firm.
    Clams, mussels, oystersCook until shells open.

    6.3.2. Cooling

    Cool cooked products rapidly to below 40°F and keep refrigerated. Cooked fish products should generally be cooled from to 70°F or below within 2 hours and to 40°F or below within another 4 hours (US FDA 1998). Minimize handling of cooked products. Dry (unfermented) products may not be hot smoked until the curing and drying procedures are completed. Semi dry fermented sausage must be heated after fermentation to a time/temperature sufficient to control growth of pathogenic and spoilage organisms of concern.

    6.4. Trichinella

    Pork products must be treated to destroy Trichinella by (a) Heat: A minimum internal temperature of 130°F(30 min.), 132°F(15 min.), 134°F(6 min.), or 136°F(3 min.), (b) Freezing: 5°F(20 days), -10°F(10 days) or -20°F(6 days) for all pork in pieces not exceeding 6 cu. inches. Double the freezing times for larger pieces up to 27 inches of thickness or (c) some combination of curing, drying, and smoking can kill Trichinella, but these are process specific (9 CFR 318.10).

    FSIS approved of the use of up to 50% KCl2 in place of NaCl for the destruction of trichinae (USDA FSIS 1995c). Wild game (bear, elk, etc.) must be treated to destroy Trichinella by heating to 170°F, since some strains of Trichinella are freeze resistant (CDC 1985).

    6.5. Fish

    Intentionally under-processed fish (e.g., green herring, or cold smoked fish) should be frozen first to 4°Ffor 7 days to kill parasites (PHS/FDA 2001) or to -10°Ffor at least 7 days (Price and Tom 1995). Because spores of C. botulinum are known to be present in the viscera of fish, any fish product that will be preserved using salt, drying, pickling, or fermentation must be eviscerated prior to processing. Without evisceration, toxin formation is possible during the process. Small fish, less than 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length, that are processed in a manner that prevents toxin formation, and that reach a water phase salt content of 10%, a water activity of below 0.85, or a pH of 4.6 or less are exempt from the evisceration requirement (US FDA 1998). For salted and hot smoked fish, use brine with a minimum salt concentration of 3.5% water phase salt (Hilderbrand 1999). It is not recommended to hot or cold-smoke fish that have not been brined (Schafer 1999).

    6.6. Ham Recommendations

    For country ham, dry salt cured ham, country cured shoulder ham, or dry-cured bacon, the internal salt content should be 4% when used with nitrates/nitrites or 10% without the use of nitrates/nitrites. Properly prepared dry cured hams are safe to store at room temperature (Reynolds et al., In Press, PHS/FDA 2001). Soak country cured hams in water in the refrigerator (40°F) to reduce salt levels prior to eating (PHS/FDA 2001). High humidity during curing and aging may lead to surface spoilage. Mold may grow on the surface and can be safely washed off.

    6.7. Sausage

    All recipes should call for final internal temperatures that will destroy trichinae. We do not recommend preparing homemade, non-fermented sausages that are not fully cooked. If you do prepare them, be sure the meat, especially pork, has been properly frozen to destroy trichinae and other parasites. Use a meat thermometer to help insure that meat is kept cold before cooking and that sausage is properly cooked. Cool the sausage quickly after cooking and keep in the refrigerator for short term storage or freezer for long term storage (Busboom 1996). Semi-dry cured sausages, such as summer sausage, should be heat treated to 145°F for 4 minutes to destroy E. coli that may have survived the curing and fermentation process (USDA FSIS 1995).

    6.8. Storage Guidelines

    Store Cured/Smoked Poultry up to two weeks in the refrigerator or up to one year in the freezer (TAES Extension Poultry Scientists 1999). Store lightly cured fish 10-14 days in the refrigerator or 2-3 months in the freezer (Luick 1998). Vacuum packaged meats, e.g., smoked fish, must be kept at 40°F, since the reduced oxygen atmosphere increases the risk of botulism poisoning (Luick 1998). Modern fish curing/smoking recipes produce a highly perishable product that rarely keeps better than the raw fish.

    6.9. At Risk Consumers

    You can protect your unborn child by not eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish that can contain high levels of methylmercury (U.S. F.D.A. 2001a). "At risk" consumers should avoid eating refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is in a cooked dish. Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel, is most often in recipes for "Nova style, "lox, kippered, smoked or jerky seafood. These preparations are at risk for Listeria monocytogenes contamination (U.S. F.D.A. 2001b). At-risk consumers might want to avoid dry cured sausages because of the risk of E. coli O157:H7 (USDA FSIS 1995b). Consumers may want to avoid feeding cured products containing nitrates/nitrites to babies less than three months old because of implications in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) due to nitrate/nitrite poisoning (methemoglobinemia).

    Document Use | Preface | Table of Contents | References
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Paul!

  4. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Source:  http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?736-Curing-Salts&highlight=curing+salts

    [​IMG] Curing Salts

  5. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    FYI the Susanminor site has the exact recipe I gave earlier...word for word actually.  It is not something I have pulled out of my butt.


    Straight cure #1 is not interchangeable with TQ of course.  You cannot take a tablespoon of Cure #1 and use it in place of a tablespoon of TQ.  I am in no way saying that.

    You can however, dilute it in a recipe (with salt, sugar etc.) to where the percentage of nitrite is equal to that found in TQ and then use the proper measurement given in that recipe to achieve the same results. 

    TQ is simply sugar, salt and nitrite and nitrate in the proper amounts.  They add glycol to keep it shelf stable because the stuff can sit for years on a store shelf before being used. 

    Other cure recipes out there do the same thing, minus the glycol and in many cases the nitrate.  You will get the same percentage of nitrite in the mix (plus or minus one percent depending on the mixture) and all will cure meat just fine. 

    I use TQ from time to time.  It is easy and simple.   I also have cured lots of meats with other mixtures both commercial and taken from books. I fail to see how it is dangerous to use a product within the accepted safe range.  Yes, there is a safe and unsafe range of operation, but I have yet to find a recipe that goes outside of the norms.  All I have seen have a percentage of nitrite in the 5.5% to 6.75% range.  Just do the math if you are worried.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    None of that changes the fact that you can not substitute any recipe for Tender Quick, unless you have the right amount of each ingredient (I doubt they told you that), and the ability to use Propylene Glycol like they do. It is NOT put in for shelf life! It is put in to keep the cure mixed with the other ingredients properly. In other words, you can get a bag of TQ, and use a few TBS of it one day, then a half of a cup another day, and you don't have to shake it to keep the part you used & the part you didn't use uniform. 

    Plus it makes it so when you rub it on your meat, it stays mixed during that process too. The mixture you think you're matching TQ with would not have those properties, so you might put an ounce of your impostor TQ on a 2 pound piece of meat, and the Cure could be on one end and the other ingredients on the other end.

    Also if you use half of your mixture, you don't have any idea how much cure you used from that mix, and how much cure is in the part you didn't use yet.

    Also IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that you use the exact amount of cure needed for each piece of meat!

    We have ALL been telling people that forever. Now you're gonna come along and tell everybody it doesn't matter if you aren't exact when Dry Curing.

    That Is Dangerous!

    BTW: Do you have a link to any of your smokes using TQ?  Any links using other cures?

  7. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I will just say this, let me be the third member to take issue with this post. You can not just make up a recipe and be safe unless you are a food scientist. None of us here are with the possible exception of Bob Bally. If you have a recipe that calls for TQ or cure #1 or cure #2, follow the recipe to be safe. When you post info on a public site like this you can lead the inexperienced into a path that can cause serious problems.  Most folks share their food with others so you not only make one person ill you make many ill if you make a mistake.

    If you want to play with recipes on your own for your own family that is one thing but do not post it here as a safe tested recipe. The cure you gave from pages 39/40 of Charcuterie are meat for specific recepies in his book.  They are in no way intended to replace TQ.
  8. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    So every butcher shop in the world who uses their own cure mix is flirting with danger?  Only those who use TQ or put glycol into their mix are safe to buy from?  That is basically what you are saying.  By shelf stable I meant the glycol keeps the contents from settling out over time.  Cure #1 has the same texture as salt (because it is salt with 6.25% sodium nitrite added) so it will not settle out as much as you seem to think it will. 

    Go back and read the part of the recipe where it makes the comment about being not quite exact.  Take the statement in context in the recipe and I think you will see that you are getting all worked up over nothing.  The recipe itself tells you about contents settling and when to mix up a new batch for crying out loud.  Calm down and have some jerky.

    And no, I do not post my smokes and such.  Been smoking meats and fish since I was a kid and posting photos of it just does not appeal to me.  Only came to this forum when researching my first new smoker purchase in some 15 years.  My trusty old smoker finally gave out on me and I was interested in some of the new stuff out there. 

    Just been finding it interesting when folks get all worked up when someone offers an alternative method to achieve the same results.  You can use a tablespoon of TQ to cure your pound of jerky meat or you can add a quarter teaspoon of cure #1 and use some additional salt and sugar to make up the difference.  The meat will cure safely and will be tasty either way.

    Many people do not try to cure their own meat because they have been scared into believing that if they are off a fraction of a teaspoon in their measurements that they will kill their family.  A fraction of a teaspoon off will not harm you.  If you start to use cure #1 in place of salt in equal measure, then you have a problem.   Again, some common sense is needed.  Scaring people over half a gram is not needed.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
  9. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Recipe offered from Brian Polcyn's Charcurterie book is a solid recipe.  Works well for curing meat.

    The recipe is not a substitute for those of you using TQ.  And diluting it with salt and sugar will not make it so, I don't worry about the homogenizing stabilication ingredient as much  as you have to take into account the Nitrate to Nitrite conversion and correct the protection timing for it as will affect the length of time you can cure with it by shortening it.

    (In the sited case of making jerky, it would NOT have an affect as this is such a short cure time the "nitrate" in the TQ is really wasted and converted by temperature to NOx.) 

    But the stand alone recipe is a good one, I cook with Brian's cousin quite a few times; they know food and the recipe is very safe.

    Don't substitute it for TQ. 

    As the gentleman said, there are a lot of cure mixes made out there, follow the directions for the cure mix being used.  On the recipe posted follow its directions for use in Charcuterie.  The book is not a bible by any means, but a pretty solid book that should be on your shelf.

    For those just starting out and in the early stages of learning curing... with time you will have the knowledge to know what you can do and cannot do safely, mostly you pay attention to the Nitrite or Nitrite and Nitrate added for the weight being treated minus the fat.  When you understand the range for safe cure levels it is actually pretty wide with the exception of bacon.  So exact does not become some magic number.  There is a range.  There is also a not to exceed.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
    cowgirl likes this.
  10. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     Well said Bob. [​IMG]
  11. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Bob...

    Jeanie, Where You Been, We Miss Your Smokes....
  12. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My findings on jerky making actually go into a whole new realm, which not only includes the danger zone, as we all know it referred to as, but, the fact that you are drying out the meat brings a little known (to many folks)additional possibility for microbial issues. I have never made uncured jerky myself either, no will I ever, knowing what I know about dried meats. For starters, moisture has everything to do with the life cycles of microbial organisms, up to and including their death, if heat is expected to be an effective exterminator, if you will.
    To go along with what I mentioned above, Doug, I must stress the following be completely understood before you consider making uncured jerky, as things can go very badly without you even knowing it until you're sick from it. Well, let me just say that if you want a really good tasting and good eating uncured jerky, you can't process it at low temperatures. The meat must be brought up to temperatures which will kill the pathogens (160*, if I recall) before it becomes dried. Basically, the meat has to cooked before it is dried...not conducive to a good jerky. If this is not followed, the live pathogens could become heat resistant due to the reduced moisture content in the meat, thereby not being killed even though the meat may be taken to a safe temp, but this being post-dried, resulting in colonizing to levels which may become unsafe for human consumption when the temperature of the meat does reach levels which the microbes can begin to thrive again, that being room temperature. Let me see if I can find the info again...it's been quite a while since I last read it.

    Here we go...did a quick search on the USDA site for fact sheets on "making jerky". I hope it's OK to copy/paste this, as I wanted everyone to see it right up front, so as to be less likely to skip clicking on a link...I couldn't paste the page in it's entirety without errors, but managed to get the info portion):

    You are here: Home / Fact Sheets / Meat Preparation / Food Safety Of Jerky
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    Food Safety of Jerky
    When raw meat or poultry is dehydrated at home — either in a warm oven or a food dehydrator — to make jerky which will be stored on the shelf, pathogenic bacteria are likely to survive the dry heat of a warm oven and especially the 130 to 140 °F of a food dehydrator. Included here is the scientific background behind drying food to make it safe and the safest procedure to follow when making homemade jerky.

    What is Jerky?
    This product is a nutrient-dense meat that has been made lightweight by drying. A pound of meat or poultry weighs about four ounces after being made into jerky. Because most of the moisture is removed, it is shelf stable — can be stored without refrigeration — making it a handy food for backpackers and others who don't have access to refrigerators.

    Jerky is a food known at least since ancient Egypt. Humans made jerky from animal meat that was too big to eat all at once, such as bear, buffalo, or whales. North American Indians mixed ground dried meat with dried fruit or suet to make "pemmican." "Biltong" is dried meat or game used in many African countries. Our word "jerky" came from the Spanish word "charque."

    How Can Drying Meat Make it Safe?
    Drying is the world's oldest and most common method of food preservation. Canning technology is less than 200 years old and freezing became practical only during this century when electricity became more and more available to people. Drying technology is both simple and readily available to most of the world's culture.

    The scientific principal of preserving food by drying is that by removing moisture, enzymes cannot efficiently contact or react with the food. Whether these enzymes are bacterial, fungal, or naturally occurring autolytic enzymes from the raw food, preventing this enzymatic action preserves the food from biological action.

    What are the Types of Food Drying?
    There are several types of food drying. Two types of natural drying - sun drying and "adibatic" (shade) drying - occur in open air. Adibatic drying occurs without heat. Solar drying sometimes takes place in a special container that catches and captures the sun's heat. These types of drying are used mainly for fruits such as apricots, tomatoes, and grapes (to make raisins).

    Drying from an artificial heat source is done by placing food in either a warm oven or a food dehydrator. The main components of an electric food dehydrator include:
    • a source of heat;
    • air flow to circulate the dry air;
    • trays to hold the food during the drying process; and
    • mesh or leather sheets to dry certain types of foods.
    Why is Temperature Important When Making Jerky? Illnesses due to Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 from homemade jerky raise questions about the safety of traditional drying methods for making beef and venison jerky. The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline's current recommendation for making jerky safely is to heat meat to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F before the dehydrating process. This step assures that any bacteria present will be destroyed by wet heat. But most dehydrator instructions do not include this step, and a dehydrator may not reach temperatures high enough to heat meat to 160 °F.

    After heating, maintain a constant dehydrator temperature of 130 to 140 °F during the drying process is important because:
    • the process must be fast enough to dry food before it spoils; and
    • it must remove enough water that microorganisms are unable to grow.
    Why is it a Food Safety Concern to Dry Meat Without First Heating it to 160 °F?
    The danger in dehydrating meat and poultry without cooking it to a safe temperature first is that the appliance will not heat the meat to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F — temperatures at which bacteria are destroyed — before it dries. After drying, bacteria become much more heat resistant.

    Within a dehydrator or low-temperature oven, evaporating moisture absorbs most of the heat. Thus, the meat itself does not begin to rise in temperature until most of the moisture has evaporated. Therefore, when the dried meat temperature finally begins to rise, the bacteria have become more heat resistant and are more likely to survive. If these surviving bacteria are pathogenic, they can cause foodborne illness to those consuming the jerky.

    What Research Findings Exist on the Safety of Jerky?
    There have been several scientific studies of meat dehydrating and lab tests on jerky samples by the following professionals: Judy Harrison, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia; Mark Harrison, the Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia; Richard A. Holley, Food Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, in Ontario; and William Keene of the Oregon Health Division. In studies, the meat dehydrated included slices of beef from the round, loin, or flank; corned beef slices; and ground beef formed in jerky presses. Keene examined homemade venison jerky which infected 11 people with E. coli O157:H7.

    In a related work, factors affecting the heat resistance of E. coli O157:H7 was the subject of an April 1998 piece by J. Kauer et al., Letters of Applied Bacteriology, Vol. 26, No. 4, page 325.

    In the jerky studies, some samples showed total bacterial destruction and other samples showed some bacterial survival — especially the jerky made with ground beef. Further experiments with lab-inoculated venison showed that pathogenic E. coli could survive drying times of up to 10 hours and temperatures of up to 145 °F.

    A recent study by the Harrisons and Ruth Ann Rose, also with the University of Georgia, was published in the January 1998 Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 61, No. 1. The authors analyzed ground beef jerky made with a commercial beef jerky spice mixture with and without a curing mix containing salt and sodium nitrite.

    Half of the ground beef was inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 before making it into jerky strips and dehydrating it. The authors found that in both the heated and unheated samples, the jerky made with the curing mix had greater destruction of bacteria than jerky made without it. The jerky made with the mix and heated before dehydrating had the highest destruction rate of bacteria.

    They concluded, "For ground beef jerky prepared at home, safety concerns related to E. coli O157:H7 are minimized if the meat is precooked to 160 °F prior to drying."

    What are the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline's Recommendations for Making Homemade Jerky?
    Research findings support what the Hotline has been recommending to callers. Additionally, safe handling and preparation methods must always be used, including:
    • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after working with meat products.
    • Use clean equipment and utensils.
    • Keep meat and poultry refrigerated at 40 °F or slightly below; use or freeze ground beef and poultry within 2 days; whole red meats, within 3 to 5 days.
    • Defrost frozen meat in the refrigerator, not on the kitchen counter.
    • Marinate meat in the refrigerator. Don't save marinade to re-use. Marinades are used to tenderize and flavor the jerky before dehydrating it.
    • Steam or roast meat to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer before dehydrating it.
    • Dry meats in a food dehydrator that has an adjustable temperature dial and will maintain a temperature of at least 130 to 140 °F throughout the drying process.
    Are There Special Considerations for Wild Game Jerky?
    Yes, there are other special considerations when making homemade jerky from venison or other wild game. According to Keene and his co-authors, "Venison can be heavily contaminated with fecal bacteria — the degree varying with the hunter's skill, wound location, and other factors. While fresh beef is usually rapidly chilled, deer carcasses are typically held at ambient temperatures, potentially allowing bacteria multiplication."

    Is Commercially Made Jerky Safe?
    Yes, the process is monitored in federally inspected plants by inspectors of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Products may be cured or uncured, dried, and may be smoked or unsmoked, air or oven dried. The following terms may be on processed jerky products:
    • "Beef Jerky" - produced from a single piece of beef.
    • "Beef Jerky Chunked and Formed" - produced from chunks of meat that are molded and formed, then cut into strips.
    • "Beef Jerky Ground and Formed or Chopped and Formed" - produced from ground or chopped meat, molded and cut into strips. Beef Jerky containing binders or extenders must show true product name (e.g., "Beef and Soy Protein Concentrate Jerky, Ground and Formed").
    • "Species (or Kind) Jerky Sausage" - the product has been chopped and may be dried at any stage of the process, and it is stuffed into casings.
    What is the Safe Storage Time for Jerky?
    Commercially packaged jerky can be kept 12 months; home-dried jerky can be stored 1 to 2 months.

    Last Modified: #BeginDate format:Am1 April 5, 2006

    Not the easiest to understand in layman's terms, but there it is.

  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Answers to some of your comments in red above.

    People who frequent this forum are in a range from "Never smoked or cured anything" to "Been smoking for many years". Those who have been curing & smoking for a long time might do things many ways, but we try to only post the safest simplest ways because the biggest percentage of people who have a chance of following what was posted are Newbies. It's not that any of us are saying that this or that can't be done, it is that things on this forum should be either posted exactly how it was done, step by step, and beyond all doubt that it is safe, or it should be posted without instructions, so nobody will try to follow it. If you want to do things such as "Making your own Tender Quick", or not measuring the exact amount of cure you use, that's fine, just don't be telling people here to do the same.

    You don't post anything you have ever done, yet you tell Newbies here how to do things the wrong way, and give a hard time to people who have put their hearts into every post they have ever made, for the benefit of others.

    I'm done with you, so don't expect any more replies from me.

    I will just have to hope that nobody takes any of your advice seriously, and stays safe.

  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank You Eric & Bob!

    Very good posts!

  15. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hmm I love when people say our fore fathers did this or that.  Look up the adverage age they lived to.  35 was very old.
  16. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    lol Okay... I stayed up way too late last night and haven't had enough coffee yet this morning....but..... I've read this over and over and see nothing wrong here.  Some people have access to Tenderquick and some do not.  This recipe looks like a good one to try for those who do not have tenderquick.

    Another note... I've cured a heck of a lot of meat in my life (thanks to how I was raised) and when using a dry rub on bacon, I rub the required amount called for  according to the weight of the meat... THEN I shake off any excess, wrap and let it do it's thing while chilled. (usually 5 to 7 days)

    When curing larger cuts of meat that require several treatments with the dry rub, I measure out the exact amount needed (according to the weight of the meat)...Then divide the cure into how ever many treatments I'm going to do.   Sometimes a large cut requires treating twice in the 30 day cure period, sometimes the meat requires three treatments. I rub the meat and DO NOT shake off the access.

    We are talking about two different methods of curing... depending on what cut of meat you are treating.

    Hope that makes sense... lol 

    Now I really need another cup of coffee.. [​IMG][​IMG]

    If this doesn't make sense... just ignore me while I wake up. lol
  17. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Jeanie,

    I have to disagree without being disagreeable on one point in your post. I really hate to do that, because I have more respect for you than you can imagine.

    I know you and others have in your instructions to shake the cure off after rubbing. I am dead set against that. I figure if I'm gonna shake it off, why did I bother measuring it so accurately. I know how much falls off of my pieces, because I do them individually on a plate. There is sometimes quite a bit left on the plate, since I dry the pieces off real good before rubbing. I could be measuring & applying 1  3/8 ounce of TQ, and shaking off a half ounce. If my method seems too exacting to some, then I just like to err on the side of caution. I figure it's a better way to teach Newbies. If they want to change later, that's up to them.

  18. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Bear, Thanks.. [​IMG]

    I only do it this way because it is in the instructions from the Morton Tenderquick recipe that I use. I follow their instructions to a T.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  19. buffalosmoke

    buffalosmoke Meat Mopper

    I've been using the above recipe from Charcuterie for some time now.....I've had really good results with it.
    cowgirl likes this.
  20. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     Thanks for the info BuffaloSmoke!

    I've got the Charcuterie book and have had it for some time now... I've never tried a recipe out of it yet. lol   need to do that one of these days. [​IMG]

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