I've been around here quite a few years but havent posted. I've got a small Cookshack smoker I got at Cabelas about 10 years ago, the tag says its a model 008, anyway...its probably the smallest Cookshack. I've had pretty good luck with pork butts and brisket but i suck at jerky. I tried jerky several years ago and wasnt happy with the way it turned out. I thought I'd try again after reading the forums, so I decided to start small with a 3 pound eye of round. I had it sliced at the store, asked for 1/4 inch slices and would cut into strips when I got home. I ended up with 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices, then i sliced into approximately 1 inch wide strips. I used Hi Country Original with cure and placed the meat in a ziploc in the fridge for 36 hours, turning the bag several times during the day. This morning I decided to just smoke 2 rods, in case it didnt turn out, i wouldnt have wasted the whole 3 lbs. After reading thru the jerky section, and liking a post from "padrefan" I decided to use a method suggested by "Joe M" with a 160 degree for 5-6 hours "set it and forget it" method. I patted the strips dry and put about 8 strips on two separate rods and put in the smoker with 4 ounces of hickory. My digital thermometer showed a range of 160-170 throughout the day, I opened the door a couple times during this period to check it. Hoping it would turn out like Joe's pictures, in the end it wasnt even close. It was real dark in color, with areas of almost white "dried out" looking areas. It doesnt taste terribly bad, but its really not all that good either.
Glad that I only tried a 2 rod test, I loaded another rod with about 8 strips, about 4 ounces of hickory chunk, and deciding to try the GLH method of 3 hours at 180-190. Checked it a couple times, purging the moisture, (there really wasnt much moisture at all). And it really came out about the same, edible, but nothing like I was hoping for.
Both batches were checked and sampled a couple times, I dont think the white areas are from over cooking as it was light in color halfway through the smoking process. As I'm thinking about this, when I was sprinkling the strips with seasoning/cure mixture, I ran out so mixed up a half again as much as they recommended for 3 pounds of meat. I wonder if the light colored "cure" powder left a residue on the meat and dried out as it smoked???
So I've got a lot of strips to smoke tomorrow, but I really am at a loss for how to approach it.
Any suggestions? It gets quite expensive ruining perfectly good meat this way.