Who Here is the Jerky Expert? MES

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by jazzy, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. jazzy

    jazzy Newbie

    Getting ready to try first batch of jerky in my MES 30.  Researched things to death and as I found with Smoked Salmon recipes, things are all over the map. I have a few questions.  Wondering if the jerky experts here could chime in and throw me a bone! Thanks in advance.

    Use Of Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate (TenderQuick)

    I'm seeing a lot of posts with people using Morton TenderQuick which has Sodium Nitrite.  I've done some research, and by far the majority of jerky in the grocery store does NOT have Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate.  In fact the go out of their way to advertise it is 'natural' preservative/nitrate free. 

    I'd done extensive research on using it in smoked salmon for commercial sale.  With salmon it does not have to be used if the salt to moisture content is high enough.  I could not find on FDA publications requiring certain salt/moisture ratios in jerky or requiring Nitrites/Nitrates at ALL (and the FDA is pretty conservative.)  Instead they say the meat must reach 160F at some point in the process and then stay above 130F.  I've seen in posts here that people are using Tenderquick so they don't have to go above 130-140 in there drying process.  I also know, at least in smoked salmon, the amount of nitrite in the product mus be in a narrow band (between 100ppm and 200ppm)  This is because the Nitrite/Nitrates over time turn into chemicals shown to cause cancer in lab animals.  I'm not an alarmist, just stating why they regulate it.


    So my first question is, does using Tenderquick and drying at 130 the entire process instead of going to 160 meat temp momentarily then reducing the heat to 130 make a big difference in the finished product? Or, are people using Tenderquick so they can have more moist jerky and not worry about if there is enough salt in the finished product?


    For top round, 1/4" thick, what are the recommended marination times just using out of the bottle marinades, like the Lawrys brands (Teriyaki, Mesquite Like, Chiplotle, etc.)  I have a friend that tried 12-hr and you could barely taste the marinade.  Not sure if he washed or blotted, that could be the difference.  It sounds like for 1/4" 24-hrs should be sufficient?  Should I add extra salt to the marinade?


    Storage life.  If I vacuum pack my jerky, does it have to be refrigerated, or, if I want to store it at room temperature and ship it to friends and family, will I have to get technical and send samples to a lab to insure the salt-moisture ratio is correct?
  2. jsdspif

    jsdspif Meat Mopper

    This doesn't really answer your questions , but ...

    I make mine with hi mountain jerky cure and seasoning kits . http://himtnjerky.com/  is the website . I use top round and slice it 1/4" against the grain and follow their directions . I know some people may say using their directions you're cooking it as opposed to drying it , but everyone that's ever tasted mine tells me I should be selling it . It's not that I'm an expert it's just that the hi mountain stuff is pretty much fool proof . I'm sure some one will post some answers for you .
  3. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  4. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    not a tenderquick user here but I do belive in cureing Jerky because of the low temps involved in drying it. so I use prague 1-and yes low temps-120.anything higher and your cooking it. some will insist no cure is needed because the smoke will do the same in thin cut meats,somthing I might try if only I were to eat it.but why fix somthing that ain't broke?  I marinade mine 24-36 hrs depending on the flavors-some will take quicker some don't. I don't add salt to any of mine never saw the need-with useing soy in some of mine. I sucky bag mine and store in freezer but will send across country but let friends know it should be kept under fridge or freeze to prolong life.never lasts long enough to hear anything going bad or wrong. not a pro but have made my share. there are thousands of jerky links to answer your questions or help confuse you either way. good luck and I also don't keep smoke to my jerky the entire time-thin meat- long smoke-U get the picture.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  5. jazzy

    jazzy Newbie

    Well my goal is to create jerky that can be vac-packed and stored at room temp.  I noticed Oh Boy Oberto is now selling a 'NATURAL' line of jerky with no Sodium Nitrite, so it MUST be possible.  There is a USE BY date on it (I need to get a pack to see what it is typically).  My understanding is (sorry if I'm repeating myself) that the cure powders introducing the Nitrite are allowing us home producers to make room-temp stable without worrying about botulism or other stuff?  But if Oh Boy Oberto can do it, I should be able to.  I imagine it just boils down to a high enough salt content and low enough moisture content. I did notice in most products, include the Jeff's Famous brand of jerky, vinegar is usually an ingredient.  Wonder if that is helping make up for no Nitrites.  

    While I've found gobs of info I still haven't found FDA's guidelines for making jerky that is stable at room temp storage.  I did find this which like I found for Salmon confirms the 160F is just a dummied-down number because it is the temp at which the bacteria instantly dies.  You can actually heat to only 150 and maintain it for a few minutes and it still does the same thing.

    It's about 55 and raining here today and I was going to try my first batch.  Bring to 155 for a couple minutes then turn my MES 30 down to 135 for the remainder.  I'm concerned with the cold temps and humidity from the rain, even with vents open, the MES will do a poor job and I should just use the oven?  I want to keep the jerky mess/smell out of my house though.  Wife won't be pleased me turning the oven into a jerky maker.

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