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how thick are your cuts and are they consistent? I've never had much luck with wet marinades for jerky, but others have. On the electrics, you've really got to dump the moisture. I recommend, you drain your marinade jerky for a couple of days in the fridge. Or, better yet, hang it up for a couple of days on racks, or bacon hangers in the fridge before smoking/drying. you can speed the process in front of a fan.
I have tried making hand cut and/or ground meat jerky using a cold smoke baffle and ice with some success, but you still need to dump moisture by opening the door a time or two

Lately I have been setting the smoker at 180 and using an A-Maze-N-Smoker to add smoke to my jerky.
You still need to dump moisture by opening the door a time or two, but the smoke flavor has been better and it’s a lot less hassle
I hand cut and wet brine overnight. Made some rods from stainless steel and have been hanging the sliced meat right out of the brine while still very wet. I have been immediately hanging in the SMO25 at anywhere from 180 to 225. After they've been in awhile I dump moisture and check progress. The last attempt had me dumping moisture numerous times but the end result was still a steamed boiled looking state to dried out brittle.

Prior to my Cookshack I used the same wet brine and immediate drying in the oven on cookie sheets and wire racks. It came out great each time but I know it will be better when I figure out the smoker method.
I have made jerky in the oven also. Since an oven can’t be turned down low enough I would leave the oven door cracked open throughout the drying process.
The same can be said for the SM25.
When it is first turned on it runs wide open for 20 minutes before kicking down to whatever temp it is set at.
That is too hot to make jerky.
You end up steaming it or at least cooking it instead of drying it.
Wait 20 minutes before putting the jerky in the smoker at 180 and dump the moisture 2 or 3 times during the drying process.

The next issue is that 180 is too low to produce smoke so that’s where an A-Maze-N-Smoker comes in.
You fill it with the appropriate sawdust and light one or both ends and set it in the bottom under the smoke house.

At least that’s what I do.
I have 30 lbs of venison I am going to make jerky with this weekend
Hi Chef-Boy-Arnie
Do you place the A-Maze-N-Smoker under the heating element? I've been using mine as well but had difficulty positioning it.

I too have problems making successful jerky in the SM025. It doesn't seem to dry well. I smoke at 170 for first 2 hours then 180 for the remaining times. I dump moisture about every hour. Some folks I spoke with smoke at 155-160.
Heres a couple of things that have worked for me:
I think your temps are too high, thus its cooking instead of drying.

Try starting with a cold smoker, and set to 160. As you know this will heat up for the first 20 min. but the smoke will be profuse. Leave it in with door closed for 2 hours. This will be where you will get most or all of your smoke flavor.

At the 2 hour mark, open the door to the smoker and LEAVE IT OPEN for the rest of the smoke. This is where it will dry. (The door is cracked open a couple of inches, not wide open) Set the temp for 200. Since the door is open, it will never actually attain 200, but in my experience the actual internal temp of the smoker will be around 160. If it is warmer than 160 inside(check with one of your remote thermometers), than decrease your smoker controller setting accordingly until the internal smoker temp is 160. Since the smoker is trying to attain the preset 200 degrees, it will continue to heat the wood and smoke will continue.

Total time on my jerky runs 6-8 hours with this method.

There is a cookshack video on the topic as well, on their website or youtube channel.

Hope I am explaining myself well, please feel free to ask questions if not. One last thing, I am typically using Hi Mtn cures, not a wet brine, so this may affect your total time to smoke.

Good luck. Don't give up. Take notes.
Spicy-Meat, yes I do put my A-Maze-N-Smoker under the heating element with the chip box removed and making sure it does not come in contact with the heating element. I do this to keep the drippings from snuffing the sawdust out. I smoke jerky between 160 and 180 depending on my mood. The more you dump moisture the better. I have left the door ajar to dump moisture if I know I can’t be there to open the door. So far this has worked for me

Soleman is right if the inside temp is much above 160 you will cook your jerky rather than dry it. I also prefer Hi Mtn cures over wet brine for jerky
Soleman, if you’re talking about the Cookshack video I’m thinking about they are using a cold smoke baffle and a bowl of ice cubes. It does work, I’ve done it. However, as they do caution you, you are isolating the heating element from the temp sensor so you must be there to cycle the power off and on for the duration of the smoke or you will overheat your heating element and cause premature failure.
This video was done using an AmeriQue not a SM25.

The big difference is if you set the AmeriQue to smoke at 160 that is the temperature it will strive to cook at from the start.
When you set a SM25 to smoke at 160 it will run full on for the first 20 minutes the settle in to smoke at 160 and that is too hot
Arnie, thanks for clarifying that. I just assumed the two units would fire up the same.
So for the purposes of helping answer DanC's original question, could he start his jerky in the prewarmed 160 degree smoker, smoke it for 2 hours, then finish it with the door open in order to keep his moisture down?

SpicyMeat, there are several restauranteurs on the forum who are much more qualified than me to answer that, however, prior to me getting my smoker, I made tons of jerky using a dehydrator. At that time, I never used a cure. Only marinated the meat and threw it on the dehydrator. Always worked fine. No ill effects.
A prewarmed 160 degree smoker should work. However that low of a temp makes it hard to get smoke from chunks of wood which is why I suggested the A-Maze-N-Smoker. Another way to obtain smoke would be to use wood chips or sawdust.

I have also made tons of jerky in a dehydrator using a marinade with good results. I may be wrong, but I believe the salt in most marinades will be enough cure for most meats. Adding smoke also acts as a cure which is how the old timers did it, salt and smoke (I think).
Thank's for all the great jerky tips above!

Made a batch yesterday using Bill's wet recipe from the above YouTube video. I didn't use any wood as I wanted to see what it tasted like without.

I preheated the SMO25 to 160. Hung about 4 lbs of wet beef strips from homemade rods with the door closed for 2 hours. Opened the door about 2 inches and turned the unit up to 200. Adjusted the door to maintain the temp at 160. It took 1 hr 30 min. More with the door open To get to a nice dried state that I was really happy with.

Thanks again!

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