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So, I just finished my first batch of jerky in my new 050, it turned out alright.... It was a bit too dry and smoky for me. I must have screwed it up, or you folks have a completely different taste for jerky than I do. I followed GLH’s method to a tee….I don’t know…..I think half my problem is I mess with too much of my own marinates.

What I’m trying to do is make like a kippered style beef jerky. I like the thicker, moist, tender type of jerky....I know that some wouldn't consider it jerky unless its like shoe leather, not me I want it soft and tender.

First, Let me back-up a bit, my main reason for wanting a nice smoker was to try and make or should I even say it (duplicate) a type of jerky they sell "up north" from where I live. So far any attempts, even back when I was using my oven and then a Brinkman, have failed miserably....I mean it’s not even close!!! And don’t get me wrong, I'm not looking to copy someone else's method or recipe 100%.... But, I would like to play in the same ballpark...And then dabble with my own variations. I’m trying to figure out the basics….This stuff is really like no other jerky I ever had.

I really like this sweet and spicy BBQ flavor they sell. It can be quite hot and appears to be heavily coated in a very spicy dry rub that seems like a sweet BBQ and has crushed red pepper in it. That’s about all I can tell, its orange in color, It’s NOT like a Cajun rub or anything really salt based, It’s not salty, not much garlic....really the taste is just sweet and hot, hint of BBQ. Maybe some sort a BBQ rub? I cut the outside coating away to try and analyze what the base marinate may consist of (this was about the time my wife called me nuts) After the dry rub was cut away and I was left with just the meat….It has just the sweet BBQ flavor. I realized that much of the sweetness is possibly coming from the marinate …it did get rid of all the spice. And I really taste no salt, this jerky is not salty!

My questions:

Its seems that ALL recipes for jerky marinate always include Soy, Worcestershire or other vinegar based sauce. thats not what this is...its not salty.

What about a BBQ sauce? Can I marinate in a sweet BBQ sauce?

Would a cure work if it was combined with BBQ sauce?

Could I cure it first for 24hrs and then marinate it for 24?

I want to try sweetening up some homemade BBQ sauce by adding brown sugar and let that be the marinate…. But I’m lost on the rub.

I need some suggestions

Am I nuts? Is what I’m trying to do forbidden?, unethical maybe?

Btw, if anyone would accept it, I’d be willing to vac pack and send a sample for some real expert analysis.
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I am certainly no jerky expert but I'll toss a few coins in the pot. Hopefully others will chime in.

1. It's no sin or crime to try to duplicate a product. Some people thrive on figuring out what others have done. The problem may arise if you try to market the duplicated product.

2. It's my [uneducated] opinion that all cures are salt based. I don't think there's anyway to get around that. However Morton does make a sugar cure. Might be worth trying. It DOES contain salt.

3. If you are having trouble with dryness don't leave the door open so long - or try the GLH method.

4. Tenderness - I think you have this figure out, but if you want tender jerky, cut against the grain.

5. Too smokey - You might try a lighter, more mild wood like pecan. Might even try some maple as that would impart light smoke as well as some sweetness.

Don't give up. Half the fun is in experimenting. Let us know if you have other questions! Big Grin

Hope this helps a little.
Last edited by wheelz
Just a comment....

I think jerky really needs a cure. I too have been trying to duplicate the jerky that I used to buy at a place near here. It was always quite tender and had a 'red' meat color to it that made it seemed not cooked, but more just dried.

I talked at length to the store owner as to how they did the jerky and was told they cooked it at 200 degrees in a smoker similar to a large CS smoker but yet when I do jerky, it would come out like cooked and smoked meat. Just a cooked meat color.

I also had to watch how the jerky was stored as it wouldn't keep unrefrigerated for more than 4 days and even in the frig, it would mold after a couple of weeks.

I think the answer is to always use a cure for jerky and most likely brined turkeys as well. I haven't had a chance to try a jerky batch with TQ yet.

I don't think adding a small bit of TQ would make your jerky salty. My usual jerky flavoring uses soy sauce (teriyaki flavor) and I haven't noticed it being too salty.. But maybe that's just me.

In any event, I think adding some TQ may yield the redder color I've been looking for.
I did use GLH's method...but I think when moving racks around I was keeping door open too long...But, I really don't know that's its wrong...its just not the way I prefer my jerky... the smoke is so strong, that it cant be right(used 6oz of apple)i cant believe anyone would want this much smoke.

I understand I need a cure but, cant I use the instacure? I'm reading that, that its not as salty?

Here's a question, could you use just a cure (instacure) to cure meat? Does it always have to be mixed with soy, worcestershire...etc?

Then i could use my own sweet bbq mix for flavor after its cured??

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