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I have tried Alton Brown's recipe for jerky in the past using a dehydrator. Recipe to follow:
4 lbs. flank steak
1 1/3 c Worcestershire sauce
1 1/3 c soy sauce
2 T honey
4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
4 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. liquid smoke
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Marinate in reefer for 3-6 hours. Allow meat to dry 3 to 6 hours.
I would like to use the same marinade mixture and then put in my Smokette using Qdogg's method for smoking. Will not using Cure in the marinade be safe and acceptable with the salt coming from the soy sauce and the Worcestershire sauce?
Original Post
Cowboys used to live on Jerky and fatback. It was salted and smoked. Pepper was also added that provided flavor and, believe it or not, kept insects away. I'm sure our forefathers had more pro-bionics in their system and were used to eating things which would probably make the average American sick today.

If you visit some foreign countries, jerky is made without cure, just salted and dried. I do agree that cure gives an added level of safety, and I do use it, but I'm just saying that folks didn't have it for thousands of years and did fine.

One of my last batches of bacon, I did without cure, just brown sugar and salt. I fried some up, about a week or so after smoking and It tasted different than cured bacon. I froze the rest of it for a couple of months and then took a pack out and thawed it out, leaving in the fridge for about a week before cooking. After frying it this time, it was the best bacon ever. No info on the longevity of it, but it sure tasted great.

On the good eats episode, I don't even think Alton Brown even cooks his jerky, but blows it dry on a fan between two furnace filters. Dehydrators do the same thing and Jerky turns out fine, due to salt content and moisture loss. I've researched Jerky production and one of the CCPs (critical control points) is a time/heat factor of the jerky to kill bacteria.

I guess the USDA figures if we cook it so hot for so long then add cure then dry it, there is less of a chance that we'll get sick. There probably is, but I'm very sure that with this process, there is more of a chance that the USDA will maintain job security.

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