Thermal Processing Jerky Temps



  • So I’m a bit confused on the correct temps when starting the thermal process. I completely understand the reasoning behind the one process
    130 deg - 1 hour
    145 deg - 2 hours
    175 deg - till internal temp reaches 160 degrees.
    Now here’s what confuses me;
    Others say the thermal process should be;
    1st step - Heat the jerky to 160 deg quickly (start heating at 325 degrees)
    2nd step - lower temp immediately to 130 degrees once internal temp hits 160 deg, and then work the temp back up to 160 deg. It sounds like this process is supposed to kill any bacteria immediately, then the jerky can be completed starting from a lower temp upto 160 deg. To finish. Are both ok or is one better than the other? Thanks in Advance for your help.


  • Walton's Employee

    @loadpin The main reason we do not recommend the 2nd schedule is that it could lead to very tough jerky, that might sound odd but you want to have SOME tenderness to the jerky and cooking thinly cut beef at 325 might make it tough. Doing it the 2nd way is okay but if you are wanting to do that I would recommend you not start at 325° keep it below 300° and if you slice it 7mm thick then 275°



  • @loadpin
    I do mine all wrong.
    I use a Beef Jerky recipe with Pork Loin.
    I use Pink Salt (Prague Powder #1).
    I use a vacuum marinader overnight.
    I put my cured and seasoned meat in my dehydrator.
    I set it for 165°.
    And let’r run for 4-5 hours.
    And I’ve been known to eat the whole load. Often in one day.
    I’m incorrigible 😋



  • @pauliedmondsjr, thank you, I feel better already. Looks like I’d have to try real hard to mess up making the jerky as long as I get it to 165 degrees.


  • Walton's Employee

    @loadpin @pauliedmondsjr can you give some clairification on setting it for 165°? Is that the temp of you smoker or what you are trying to get your meat too? I read it as what you set your smoker/dehydrator too. There is nothing “wrong” with using a pork loin to make jerky, do you trim the fat cap?



  • @jonathon
    Hi Jonathon!
    Sure, I have a Presto Dehydro dehydrator I was given as a Christmas present, 2 Christmas’ ago.
    As cardio patient, I’m not supposed to eat “red meat”, meaning Beef. I’m not a really big fan of Chicken, and certainly not like my wife. She could eat chicken every day. 😝
    So, I kinda scoured looking for Jerky recipes using Pork, and found Pork Loin works really great to make Jerky with.
    I do remove the fat cap, and try to get as lean a piece of Pork Loin as I can find. Plus Pork is one of the most inexpensive meats I can find. (Retiree friendly meat. 😁 )
    I don’t think meat types care too much about what they are marinaded in. So I wound up using one developed for Beef, to do my Pork Loin in.
    I take the Loin and cut it into “chunks” trying to guess ~ 1 pound pieces. Then package them and freeze the “chunks”.
    When I’m ready to make Jerky, a chunk gets cut up with my meat slicer while still frozen, into dollops. (Sliced across the grain.)
    Marinade to your desired flavor.
    Then I put the slices (round cross sections) on my racks, assemble the trays, and set the dehydro for it’s maximum temperature, which is 165° F.
    And let it run at it’s maximum temp for the duration.

    I read a lot of posts around about dehydrators not reaching leathality temperatures. So I tested mine and found it actually hit 173° dry (No meat), which I’m confident is hot enough. That was on several planes.
    Plus I use Prague Powder #1 (Cure #1) in my marinade. I proportion it by weight, accurately.

    I’ve also monitored my process enough to be satisfied I’m hitting 40°-140° in 4 hours.
    And finally, if results count, I haven’t ever gotten sick from my Jerky, nor anyone who’s eaten any. 🤮
    So if anybody has died from my Jerky, they haven’t told me… 🤞🏻


  • Walton's Employee

    @pauliedmondsjr Your process sounds spot on and it sounds like you are being careful with your “danger zone” 40-140 before you have reached a low enough water activity for it to not matter, so good job!

    Is there anything you were wondering if it would be good or not with Pork jerky? We are getting ready to do the Meatgistics University advanced Jerky “classes” and I was planning on including a section on using other types of meat to make jerky from. Pork is one of those but, as you have said the same process can be used as jerky so if there is anything you were wondering about as an experienced pork jerky maker that I could attempt to tackle it might be good to add to the video!

    By the way Cured Sausage 20(x)s are done and will be released one every few days, I think the thermal processing one will interest a lot of people here, and some users are getting credit in the meatgistics article for their contributions!



  • @jonathon Hi Jonathon. Those advanced jerky classes sounds very interesting, looking forward to them! Perhaps you can look into making salmon jerky as a less traditional meat. I’ve made it a few times, and is great, just fatty, so not really shelf stable.

    For beef jerky, I’ve been doing some experimenting with the thermal processing guide and process from your article: “how to make tender jerky at home”. Its lead to big improvements, but still having trouble re-creating the texture and mouthfeel of store bought jerky. It doesn’t have the same shreddable tear to it, and is somewhat tacky. Its almost like a pellicle formed on the outside, despite the very low and slowly rising temps. On the other hand, store bought is completely dry on the outside (though still tender on the inside), and almost with a sort of fuzz on the outside. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    Also, I learned that most large-scale companies inject the meat with the marinade, tumble it, THEN slice directly onto oven trays. Perhaps this has something to do with it?



  • @jonathon
    Not at this time, but Thank You for asking. I basically tackle something, perfect it to my liking, then use that going forward.
    Not a real dabbler with different things. Kind of a stuck traditionalist. LOL!
    And I tend to like my Jerky dry and tough. Chews longer for me. But I’ve been trying to make softer Jerky.
    Our 5 year old Grand Daughter loves my Jerky as long as she has a glass of water. (Sometimes it tends to be a smidgen hot.)

    And presently, I’m moving into Meat Snack Sticks at this moment. I have some Willie’s I’m going to try. And my Walton’s Collagen casings to get me rolling along.


  • Walton's Employee

    @maxmeats Injecting and then vacuum tumbling is what they do for hams and whole muscle cuts that they are going to cure so it makes sense that they would do the same thing for jerky. Yes, that could be part of the reason for the differences.

    We just did a couple batches of “tender jerky” where we used glycering instead of extra sugar and vacuum tumbled it, and that turned out great. We also did 3 different batches using only what a home user would have, so no vacuum tumbling and the results were interesting. We will be finishing up this video and releasing it as a regular meatgistics one shortly, have to do a few things away from meatgistics U just too shake it up! We;ve done tuna jerky but not salmon, I’ll see what we can come up with for that!

    @pauliedmondsjr Nothing wrong with being a traditionalist, glad you are teaching the young ones to like home processed jerky!



  • @jonathon
    Interesting idea with the tuna. Makes sense since its so lean. Looking forward to the upcoming videos!

    I’m still trying to figure out the reason for the tacky surface when doing the “tender jerky” process. I’m wondering if maybe the storing process has something to do with it. Like after sitting in a bag with an oxygen absorber for a few weeks, the outer moisture might be absorbed. The reason I say this is that if you leave jerky out in the open air for about 3 days, all of the tackiness is gone… I just realized this accidentally


  • Walton's Employee

    @maxmeats Yeah leaving it out SHOULD remove the tackiness but it also will lose some of the tenderness in the jerky. Delicate balance on whether or not it is worth drying out a little more to lose some of that stickiness.


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