I've never used a cure on my jerky. Drying meat to remove moisture makes it shelf-stable. It doesn't have to be refrigerated, and it doesn't require a cure. It is important to get the meat to 160 degrees first, according to the USDA, then dry it at temperatures above 130 degrees.
Here is what the USDA has to say about it: Jerky and Food Safety
Here are the USDA recommendations from that link above:
quote: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.
By all means, use a cure if you feel more comfortable doing so, or if you prefer the flavor and texture of the cured meat. But if you prefer to simply dry the jerky without using a cure in your marinade, the USDA says its safe if you follow their guidelines.
My only reason for posting this is to ensure accurate information is available to people on this forum.