If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Monday, October 5, 2009

First round of jerky in the new smoker

First things first,  get your meat ready.  I like to leave it in the fridge, thawed out, for at least a day to pull as much blood out as possible.  This is especially true of wild game like this big goose breast.  Trim off as much fat as you can.  Sinew and silver skin doesn't have much flavor when cooked but leave a hunk of venison fat on there and they'll never eat your jerky again.  Or you will get the quizzical once over which I find demeaning.
Next, slice into whatever size pieces you want.  I slice mine no more than a 1/4 inch thick.  This is better for cure penetration and smoking times as well.
This breast was sliced in half and lengthwise because most of it will be given away.  This makes smaller pieces so everyone can have some.
I am not embarrased to say I use a commercially available product for my seasoning.
I use the High Mountain brand. For 8 dollars you can do 15 lbs of meat.  Thats a lot of jerky people.   Follow the directions for amounts and simply sprinkle on both sides and put in a ziploc for 24 hours.  Be sure to massage pieces in bag to ensure even application of seasoning and remove air from bag.  Once you are comfortable with the smoking process go ahead an experiment with diffrent ingredients.  I love to add dried habenero flakes and watch the guys at work try and eat it.  Too funny!!!!

I also take my racks and scrub them and then put them under the broiler for a few minutes to kill any bacteria.
Load the jerky onto your racks keeping sufficient air space around them.  Place in smoker and smoke away.  I like to keep my smoker at 150 degrees while making jerky. I put this on for 2 hours using a handful of chips right away.  I load another handful of chips and hour later.  After 2 hours I flip the jerky and let go another 2 hours.  After that I just keep checking until I reach the desired dryness.  You can see the thermometer sticking out below.  It's from an old turkey fryer set up.
I use a two burner system in my shack.  An electric burner keeps the temp at 175 degrees or under with an adjustable dial.  Underneath that is a propane burner for other cooking applications such as hams and poultry.  The propane burner will burn down the shack if not careful.  In test sessions I had it up to 225 degrees with no problems.   I would not leave unattended at these temps.  The propane burner is capable of very high temps.
If your gonna build a smoker I highly recommend a window.  This one is built from wood and is two panes.  At 225 degrees the outside pane was still cool to the touch.  It is so nice to look through the window instead of opening the door.  It was leftover from the great hail storm of 2008.  I removed the plastic handles and lock and it was ready.
Finally out of the wood shop and full of smoke.  I will have to put it back in before it rains.  I don't have any "clothes" for it yet.
Big Brown Dog thinks it his job to guard the smoke shack. 
Even he knows whats good!!!

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