Trouble getting jerky to 50%

  • I took some jerky that was smoking much of the day. I have about 40% weight loss. Sounds like the goal is 50%. Should I throw it back on the smoker after it cooled?

  • Power User

    JitteryBuck if the internal temp is at 160 ant the dryness is where you want it, it is done weight loss depends on the fat and moister of the meat !

  • If I was finishing the jerky at 190° to bring the internal temp to 160 and the jerky hits 160° but I would like it to be a little dryer – should I leave it in there but lower the temperature or keep the temperature High?

  • Regular Contributors

    I would decrease the temp to 140 and very carefully watch the jerky to insure you don’t turn it into leather, I have a rule that I use and that is if it has reached internal temp and I think it is almost done it probably is as things change when it cools. Next batch you may want to use a gradual smoker temperature schedule start at 120 for a hour then 140 for 2 hours and 160 for 2 hours and finally 180 till it reaches 160 internal. The longer it is in the smoker the more moisture you are removing from the product. Also the thickness of the jerky drastically changes the process and having uniform thickness and not hot spots in your smoker gives you more uniform results. Patience and Practice


  • akdave
    That makes sense - I’ll try that next time. Thanks

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    akdave and craigrice Good responses, thanks for that!

    One thing to keep in mind is that trying to manage jerky “doneness” off of product loss can be inaccurate as when I add more sugar to a jerky I am going to lose less % as the water will be bound up in the sugar but it is still perfectly safe. In my opinion, and I think most people here would agree, internal temp is the way to go!

  • Jonathon - I see your point

  • I’m wondering how nitrites fits into this. If the internal temp i[censored], and the water activity is under .85, is it shelf stable? What is the benefit of adding sodium nitrite to a product that ha[censored] those points, and stored safely with an oxygen absorber.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    maxmeats That is a fair point and there are absolutely people who make jerky without nitrites as they are going to be low enough in both water activity and pH that they don’t need them. The reason we don’t recommend this is that A) unless you have a way to test both of these you cannot be sure you achieved the desired levels and 😎 if the toxins are created then merely reaching target temp/water activity and or pH won’t necessarily neutralize them. So, even if you kill off the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, if the spores have already created the toxin then you could be in some danger.

    Also, the toxins have no identifiable characteristics as far as I am concerned. In Meatgistics University Jerky:101 What is Jerky I addressed this quickly with the following paragraph

    “You might hear some people say that Jerky does not need to be cured as it is going to be dried out. However, the meat will not start out at that level of dryness and since we are cooking this at low temperatures we are creating an environment that is ideal for the growth of botulism, so cure should be used for safety reasons. Think of it as a seat belt, your car will start without it but it’s not a great idea to ride around town without it on!”

    EDIT - I have no clue why there is a smiley face with sunglasses! That is supposed to be 😎 …ahhh I guess I know why there is a smiley face with sunglasses in my post. it is supposed to a capital b with a parenthesis after it to show it is the second point I was trying to make.

  • Thank you for the insight Jonathon. When you mention PH, is that the PH of the marinade? Or finished product?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    maxmeats Final pH of the meat is what we use to determine shelf stability. We use the Testo pH Meter but the Mw102 would work as well.

  • Jonathon Thank you! I will have to pick one up.

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