Jerky Brine

  • Regular Contributors

    Is there a general rule of thumb for adding curing salt to jerky brine either by weight of meat to be sliced or by amount of liquid?

  • Walton's Employee

    @mdseaside I think I understand your question, please let me know if my response addresses it or not.

    Either way, I like to calculate the cure by weight of the meat, not by the amount of water. Use 1/4 of a teaspoon per lb of meat, so if you are doing a 5 lb batch use just over a teaspoon. Now, if you are making whole muscle then coat the meat in the seasoning and cure and then put it in a bag and add just enough water where everything is covered. If you are making a restructured product add about a 16 oz of water per 25 lb of meat, this is just to help mix in the seasoning and cure. Remember, whatever you add to the mix will have to be cooked or dried out of it later!

    We have the cure conversion chart to help you break down cures by lb of meat and a Seasoning Conversion Chart that helps you break out the amount of seasoning per lb of meat. I strongly suggest you di it by the listed weight, not the volume. Thos charts aren’t perfect but they are a very good starting point.

  • Regular Contributors

    Thank you Jonathon. That will help allot. I have been making my jerky by starting with a mix of 2 parts water, 2 parts soy sauce, and one part teriyaki sauce and the various spices. But would like to get away from so much sodium in my diet. I use whole muscle meat, marrinate for up to 36 hours and then dry and smoke till done. I am always careful about bad bacteria so your info will put mind at ease. Thanks again. Marc

  • Walton's Employee

    @mdseaside What meat are you using? We did an experiment somewhere recently where we took store-bought eye of the round and just marinated it, no vacuum bag or anything and I was shocked that it picked up 0 additional weight. This was probably because the meat was already pumped when we bought it and there was some transfer of the seasoning into the meat, it just expelled some water that was already in there and exchanged it. It was pretty fascinating actually, even though I’m probably not making it seem so!

  • Regular Contributors

    Mostly I use boneless pork loins and then trim them out so I have only the tenderloin left with little to no fat. But for beef I use the eve of the round trimmed of all fat and silver skin. Then I chill the eat and slice it across the grain about 3/16 to 1/4 inch. My average batch is 17 lbs. of meat and the marinade is usually about 1 3/4 gallon. Then I take the meat and layer it between layers of paper towels to dry it off while I get the smoker set up. When it is done I usually end up with 8 to 9 lbs of finished product. I get the meat at my local restaurant supply store so it is as fresh as I can get and seems to be unaltered or pumped full of unknown stuff. I have never checked for weight difference before marinating and after, but I think i might give it a try just to see what it is. All I know is it comes out very flavorful and I try to keep it a little on the moist side AKA Not cooking it to death.
    Thanks for the info. and interest.

  • Power User

    @mdseaside I go through the same process on the eye of round and have been using the recommended Excalibur seasoning ratio per pound but instead of water I use 8oz of vegetable glycerine per 5 lbs of round. This adds slight sweetness but no added sugar and seems to really help with the soft texture. I will then vacuum tumble for an hour and rest in fridge overnight. I was then hanging in the smoker to finish but the process took all day.

    Recently I began to lay the beef out on my Westin dehydrator racks and bake in the oven at 350 for ten minutes to bring the temp up to 160 as quickly as possible then transfer to the dehydrator to finish. It cut my time down by half!

  • Walton's Employee

    @Joe-Hell Eventually everyone will use the added glycerine or sugar to make sugar jerky, it is the only thing I make anymore. I still havent tried it with venison and I am worried that I wont like it as much with venison as much as I like it with beef, dont know why I feel that way but I do.

  • Power User

    @Jonathon The one flavor That I’ve tried so far that I don’t feel it complimented was the Bloody Mary. I plan to change that one up a bit next time. I’ve been asking around amongst friends to find some venison or other game to no luck. I’d really like to give goat a try too. My brother has a small heard so hopefully that happens soon!

  • Walton's Employee

    @Joe-Hell A few I wont try with it are Dill Pickle, Garlic & Pepper and the Habanero Lime. I will add Bloody Mary to that list!

  • Power User

    @Jonathon Oh man…do yourself a favor and try it with the Habanero Lime and Garlic & Pepper. Those two are WILDY popular among friends. Particularly the Garlic & Pepper. I personally felt that the lime in the Habanero was overpowering and almost ‘metallic’ in my first batch. On my second batch I added 1/4 c. Brown Sugar (splenda substitute in my case) as I did with the Teriyaki. It boosted the sweetness slightly but really balanced out the lime. I would describe the before as an essence of bitter lime peel…the after was like a green lifesaver candy! It was unanimous between friends. Everyone described the change as an upgrade.

    As a side note, I tried the Teriyaki, Garlic & Pepper and the Habanero Lime with almonds last weekend and all of them turned out fantastic. The surprise with the Habanero which didn’t have much if any lime character to speak of. Oddly, it reminded me of a typical ‘BBQ’ flavoring. I’m going to try roasting a batch in the smoker to see if I can truly capture a smoky bbq flavor.

  • @Joe-Hell Beware!! Smoked nuts can be addictive!! We usually just add salt and smoke at 325 F for 20 - 30 minutes. You might also try smoking with an “Amazing Smoking Tube” for 30 min BEFORE adding heat for a much stronger smoke flavor.

  • Power User

    @KansasDad I’m going to do it!!! There was a post here not too long ago that said they couldn’t find smoked almonds in their area. I’d love to make something true to that style!

  • Walton's Employee

    @Joe-Hell You may have sold me on the Garlic & Pepper but I can’t see it with the Hab Lime! I’ve got some venison in the next week or so to work with so I think I will make some jerky with it and try the glycerine!

    We are also going to be testing some “sugar free” (less than 1 gram per serving) jerky here! I’ll keep you all updated on the progress.

  • Power User

    @Jonathon Salty, sweet and spicy is the best! Trust me!

  • @Joe-Hell what temps and how long do you go in the dehydrator after the oven cycle? I’ll be trying this process soon!

  • Power User

    @fatsnacks I have so far ran the dehydrator at its max temp of 160 although I’m not sure it’s necessary as the meat has already hit that temp. It probably speeds up the process though. As far as duration I don’t have an exact on that either. I kind of go based on the look, bend, feel, etc… Sorry to be so vague. Lol! I haven’t been in the jerky game long but each batch seems to improve by leaps and bounds. I will be making another batch this weekend and will try to take note of time frames!

  • @Joe-Hell well, lesson learned. I tumbled my jerky with the added percentage of water and brown sugar as suggested in one of the videos. I then loaded it onto the dehydrator racks and put it in the oven at 400 to get to 160. Of course dumb me didn’t even think about how much drippings there would be and now the bottom of my nice brand new convection oven is coated with a nice layer of burnt sugar 😂. Moral of the story: foil is your friend!

  • Walton's Employee

    @fatsnacks I am doing some jerky today in the oven and some in the smoker to show the differences. You have inspired me to not only use a pan underneath my racks but also to foil that pan!

  • Power User

    @fatsnacks 400 might be a bit much. I go with 350 and place my dehydrator rack over a sheet pan for 10 minutes and it seems to work pretty well. I’ll get a couple drips but nothing significant.

  • Walton's Employee

    @Joe-Hell I am going 325 on 1/4" thick, figure take no more than 15?

  • Power User

    @Jonathon I would think that would would work just fine. The lower temp/longer duration might be the ticket. I figure that any drips are a reduction in flavor so if you can retain as much liquid as possible that it can only be a positive. I reduced my thickness to slightly less than 1/4” on the last batch and it seemed to help with the ‘evenness’ of the drying cycle a bit.

  • @Joe-Hell so after this whole process today, I DID NOT like how the jerky turned out using the added brown sugar and water. The brown sugar just overpowered the batch of pepper garlic and sweet chipotle, and it was way too tender (as crazy as that sounds) for my liking. If I just add water next time but no sugar, would I still want to use 20% of the starting weight added water or maybe cut it down some since not adding any sugar? Also, sorry for hijacking this post lol.

  • Power User

    @fatsnacks Don’t apologize for good questions!!! I personally apologize if it didn’t turn out the way way you had hoped! I can understand fully why a more traditional (dry) batch of jerky would be more desirable! My first batches in the smoker were of that style were quite popular amongst friends though many wanted a sweeter, chewier style. For the drier variety I would absolutely recommend the standard Walton’s method while using a dehydration process with the smoker! For my personal taste I was trying to avoid excess sugars while maintaining a soft chew. The reduction in processing time using the oven method and Westin dehydrator was also a huge factor!

  • Walton's Employee

    @Joe-Hell It’s different for everyone, some people don’t like the texture or even the taste of doing it, everyone has different expectations. @fatsnacks As for water content if you are making just a normal batch then I would recommend not going with a specific amount of water, you really just want the water to marinate the jerky in. So use just enough to cover the meat, remember, if you are looking to make a traditional jerky then you will have to cook out / dehydrate the water that you add to the meat.

  • @Jonathon I have a question on smoking and oven use, I have a gas convection oven with a dehydrate setting. my great grandchildren call it a smart stove. would you smoke first then oven or the other way to bring up to temp ?

  • Power User

    @craigrice I’d like to know what model oven that is! That sounds awesome!

    I use my Kenmore gas/convection first then it’s off to the dehydrator. I would think the smoker would work for you in the same way. I haven’t made a jerky lately that I thought would benefit from added smoke or I would have tried it. I have a small batch of Bloody Mary Jerky that I considered using the new Pit Boss pellet grill to see if could give it just a touch of smoke before or after dehydrating.

    I’d be really interested in the dehydrator method in your oven. That could really be an all in one jerky maker right there!

  • @Joe-Hell my stove is a Samsung 5 burner converted to propane it has bread proof. keep warm, and dehydrating cycles , I love the griddle plate on the top center burner and the wife and I have done a lot of home canning on it with no problems

  • Power User

    @craigrice I’ll have to check those out! Mine is also a 5 burner and has a warming drawer that I can turn on which heats the oven to a temp that is great for proofing. Doing some quick research it sounds like any gas convection can be used as a dehydrator so long as you can keep the fan going. My stove won’t run the fan under 300 degrees for some stupid reason. 170 is my lowest setting which isn’t ideal either

  • @Joe-Hell bought this one on a black Friday sale it has a favorites setting slow cook and also pizza settings, was $12 something paid & 670? and it is convection with a bigger oven

  • Power User

    @craigrice I bought mine about 7-8 years ago for $800-ish. It was normally $1200 if I remember correctly. It’s built by Bosch but branded as a Kenmore. One reason I bought it was the 550 max temp so I could do pizza. Prior to my diet when I was eating that kind of thing I would preheat to 550 for an hour on convection with the pizza stone on the top rack then I would switch to high broil, add the pizza and it would finish in 2-3 minutes, tops!

  • Power User

    @craigrice I did end up using the Pit Boss this morning on the initial warming phase on half of my batch of Bloody Mary jerky. My Westin dehydrator racks fit perfectly! The edges definitely cooked quicker than the middle but I kind of expected that. Putting the rack on a sheet pan may help with that. The other half I heated in the oven as I have done with other recent batches. It will be interesting to see how much smoke was picked up in that time frame.

    I tweaked the Bloody Mary recipe a bit by replacing some of the seasoning with some of the Garlic & Pepper, Habanero Lime and gigawatt Jerky seasonings. I also added ground horseradish, Worcestershire and some of the Pa’s Blackbull soluble as my liquid addition. I think I stumbled onto a very legit Mary with that recipe!!!

  • @Joe-Hell let me know the end compairson

  • Walton's Employee

    @craigrice I agree with Joe on doing the cook cycle first. I would say run the fans with the convection function but since you are going to presumably have the meat sliced very thin and the oven set around 325-350 they shouldn’t need a drying stage.

    @Joe-Hell is a marketers dream, he has never seen the new “toy” he hasn’t wanted to play with right away!

    Also, joe I ended up liking the garlic & pepper with the sugar/glycerine a lot more than I would have thought. I did a batch with light bornw sugar and a batch with the glycerine and of the two I think I liked the glycerine more. I also did this on Venison so I knocked out a few tests at once!

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  • @Tex_77 That’s a tasty piece of meat! It looks like great results @PapaSop It’s amazing how many obscure cuts of beef that were once ground for burger are now choice cuts. I think we can both thank and curse at the millennial food movement on that one! Lol. If we dive into bbq history, brisket is perhaps the best example of a ‘throw away’ but now it’s a most cherished cut!

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  • @PapaSop They don’t need a marinade, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt anything. It’s basically a steak that is cut out of the shoulder/chuck. It has became pretty well know due to marketing efforts through the beef check off. They use to be dirt cheap about 10 years ago, now they can go for about the same price of a ribeye.

    Looks like your end product was pretty tasty!

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  • Never tried this before. Trip to Wally world looking for sale on pork butt. Seen one of these. Looked nicely marbled but had no clue. Quick Google told me it’s flavor full but needs to be marinated.


    Went with first hit I had. Marinade looked good.
    Olive oil, basil, rosemary, garlic, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and some Cabernet.
    Vacuumed marinated in fridge for half hour while prepping the grill.


    Did a direct sear on these for 1 1/2 min both sides. Then inderect till 125. Pulled, covered in foil, rested for about ten minutes.


    This was incredibly flavorful, moist and tender.

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