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Thread: On smoking and jerky

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    Default On smoking and jerky

    All you experienced hands...help me understand something.

    I've never made jerky or smoked game, although I'd like to.

    When you look at recipes, most all instructions say to cook meat to 160 degrees minimum internal temp. to kill off parasites.

    On the other hand, smoking doesn't get up to that temp. Neither does jerking.

    How do the parasites get killed off when you jerk or smoke meat? Is it the saline solutions/preservatives? In the old days they didn't have preservatives.

    I'd like to get a food dehydrator and make jerky, but I want to know more about the safety of eating it.

    Thanks in advance for the help from a cheechako.

    Rick

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    If you hot smoke, you are getting up to that temperature. It is also recommended that you freeze the meat for at least a week prior to smoking. That kills off any parasites. The cooking temperature kills off any bacteria.
    Winter is Coming...

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    I've made tons of jerky but can't say I've ever recorded the internal temperature of the meat. I use to use a dehydrator to make jerky and would set the temp dial on 150-160, somewhere in that range. Mostly I was dehydrating it till it was pretty well dried, afterwards I'd keep it refrigerated while consuming it, or I'd freeze it for later consumption. The past five years or so I've made all my jerky almost exclusively on my smoker (usually 15-30 lbs / yr). Most of that jerky was in flat strips so it didn't take very long to dry to the desired level, maybe 2-4 hrs. Those temps I'm pretty sure were above 160. Some might say I'm actually "cooking" the jerky instead of "drying" it, maybe so but I've always ended the end result. But still I've always kept the jerky refrigerated or frozen afterwards. Between the salt cure in the mix, the smoking / drying, and the refrigeration I always figured I was pretty safe. As JOAT mentioned, I've always used burger that was previously frozen when making jerky.

    Jeff

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    Rickf,
    The use of salt on meat acts as a preservative. Actually the old timers used salt petre (or sodium nitrate) as a preservative.
    I can remember growing up and having slabs of pork side meat sitting in trays up in the attic. The trays had nothing but pork side meat & rock salt. There were maybe 3 to 4 slabs of side meat in each tray with a layer of salt between them. If you wanted some side meat- go upstairs, get a slab out of a tray, cut you off a piece, & cook it up. Some of those slabs were up to THREE years old.
    I ate it fairly regularly & it must have been effective CAUSE I AIN'T DEAD!

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    Default killing the bad guys

    I don't believe you need that high of a temp to kill things off. When I kipper fish (hot smoke) the fish tops out at 130F and never a problem. I eat it right away with no freezing all the time, though I do freeze the majority to use as winter meat.

    When I cold smoke fish (never gets above 70F) I then vacuum pack and deep freeze it for 30 days to kill off the baddies. When it thaws its still quite raw though highly smoked (as it should be after 30 hours of smoke).

    I worry more about the baddies with pork, and am quite religious about getting a good all cooked temperature clear through it as measured by an instant read thermometer. I posted a picture of some on here a week or so ago. 8 hours at a smoker temp of 250F does it every time; no muss no fuss; easiest smoke there is.

    Red meat scares me when its pork or chicken only.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    I don't believe you need that high of a temp to kill things off. When I kipper fish (hot smoke) the fish tops out at 130F and never a problem. I eat it right away with no freezing all the time, though I do freeze the majority to use as winter meat.

    When I cold smoke fish (never gets above 70F) I then vacuum pack and deep freeze it for 30 days to kill off the baddies. When it thaws its still quite raw though highly smoked (as it should be after 30 hours of smoke).

    I worry more about the baddies with pork, and am quite religious about getting a good all cooked temperature clear through it as measured by an instant read thermometer. I posted a picture of some on here a week or so ago. 8 hours at a smoker temp of 250F does it every time; no muss no fuss; easiest smoke there is.

    Red meat scares me when its pork or chicken only.
    The FDA recommends an internal product temp of 150 F as a kill step for parasites. Freezing is also effective, and it's recommended to freeze the meat prior to smoking/jerking if using the freeze step for parasite control. The reason for freezing first, is who can resist eating jerky right out of the smoker?

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    If you freeze it first, you pretty much kill off the everything, I just recently made some using a dehydrator and some spices from Sportsmans, Took about 4 hours in the dehydrator, and I like the way it came out.
    I used up some freezer burned ground meat. I removed the freezer burn, mixed the spices and let it set in the refer for a couple of hours w/ the spices doing their thing.
    You dont have to use ground meat in a dehyrator, a chunk sliced into 1/4" thick slices or so will work, but should marinate that in a brine overnight.
    Wild game with low fat works best, its the fat that can go bad and take a while to dry out in the dehydrator. About 3 hours into it I removed all the pieces and wiped w/ a paper towel to get the excess moisture off.
    My first time and I thought the dehydrator worked good, but somewhat limited to space unless you get a big one w/ lots of trays, I would like to try the smoker sometime, but was able to use the dehydrator on the kitchen table.
    When done, I put into zip-locks and back in the feezer, that lasted about a week & it was all gone.................LOL
    Had my dehydrator set all the way up at 160 degrees, I think some may go to 200?
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    I would think that some of those little beasties are designed to survive an Alaskan winter before emerging to find a host. Just guessing here.

    Freezing first couldn't hurt, though. I'm just inclined to get that 160 degree internal temperature while smoking/jerkying for lack of any better knowledge. Have to wonder about cold smoking unless the food is going to be cooked afterwards.

    My mother likes to make jerky, but she makes it solely in a food dehydrator which basically only removes the moisture. Heck, Mom eats raw hamburger right out of the package, so she isn't a good study.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickf View Post
    I would think that some of those little beasties are designed to survive an Alaskan winter before emerging to find a host. Just guessing here.

    Freezing first couldn't hurt, though. I'm just inclined to get that 160 degree internal temperature while smoking/jerkying for lack of any better knowledge. Have to wonder about cold smoking unless the food is going to be cooked afterwards.

    My mother likes to make jerky, but she makes it solely in a food dehydrator which basically only removes the moisture. Heck, Mom eats raw hamburger right out of the package, so she isn't a good study.
    I think yer Mom got it right, seems to me we can be obsessed with cleanliness, a little bacteria is good for ya..............
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akgramps View Post
    I think yer Mom got it right, seems to me we can be obsessed with cleanliness, a little bacteria is good for ya..............
    True. Additionally, dehydrating binds the existing water in the tissue to the point that bacterial growth is inhibited. The same happens during the brining process. The salt and/or sugar pull a substantial amount of water out, and done properly will lower the water activity to a point that inhibits bacterial growth.

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    Default cold smoked fish

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickf View Post
    Have to wonder about cold smoking unless the food is going to be cooked afterwards.
    I think its one of those "acquired tastes" which (raw) sushi also was, for me.

    So far as smoked, the cold smoked is now my favorite, but I just don't like doing that 30 hour temperature balancing act at 70F; that is a heckuva lot of work and my cold smoker size (I use a little chief and route the smoke in via dryer tubing) is tiny so small batches only.

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    Yes, it's the salt in the cure/brine that helps preserve jerky and other smoked meats.

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    The USDA, all meats are inspected by them not the FDA, reccomends 160 degrees but admits that no parisites will survive over 137.8 degrees, even trichinosis. The combo of salt & heat reducing the moisture, and salt and/or sugar changing the PH make it an un favorable environment for bacteria. Just make sure your meat is truly dried, commercial jerkey can have more moisture due to the chemicals that they add to it durring the process.

    The way you eat raw foods is important too. The reason wasabi is served with sushi is that it is a natural anti-parisidic, anti-fungal and an anti-bacterial. Hot mustards also have similar properties.
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    Thanks for the replies, and good conversation. I've always wondered about this as far as food safety goes.

    Learning a lot from this.

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    The professor and others are right. Grandfather and father both made sausage with salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic stuffed in casings and smoked for days on end 7-10 until the sausage was dry. then let it hang in the smoke house until you wanted some. This was a once a year project and so was the smoked jerky which was brined for a couple of days half salt and half brown sugar and then smoked until fairly dry. the test for the jerky was cut a piece and then press very hard between thumb and forefinger. If there was any moisture smoke it another day. this was hard smoke, seasoned live oak was the wood. ate this stuff for about 40 years without getting sick from it. Jerky was kept in cloth sacks and again this was a once a year project.

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    The way you eat raw foods is important too. The reason wasabi is served with sushi is that it is a natural anti-parisidic, anti-fungal and an anti-bacterial. Hot mustards also have similar properties.

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    Oops. I meant to include the quote from garnede. I find his post most interesting. I am wondering where it comes from. It makes sense, I am just wondering if there is scientific evidence for this or if it is something passed down through the generations. I know the wasabi tastes great, but it sometimes drowns out the taste of the raw fish. I still use it and am curious about how it came about to compliment sushi.

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    I use DQ Curing salt in everything that I smoke from fish to summer sausage. It has sodium nitrate in it...kills the bad guys. I still bring my Bear and chicken and pork to 160F though.

    Here's what butcher-packer.com says about it:

    Salt - 1 lb. (aka DC Curing Salt)


    $2.50
    All pink tinted cures have the same sodium nitrite concentration, which is 6.25%. Prague Powder # 1, Insta-Cure, Modern Cure are all the same. The pink color is not what gives the meat a reddish hue - that is done by the curing process. Using DQ CURE, your sausage will be ready to cook or smoke as soon as you have it stuffed (there is no need to wait). When used in a brine solution, the reason for allowing the product to set for 24 hours is to make sure that all of the curing compounds have had a chance to be distributed evenly into the meat. After the meat has been cured and cooked, it will have a longer shelf life than uncured cooked meat. Use 4 oz per 100 lb.

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    I like to dry salmon in my dehidrator, makes great jerk.

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