Jerky is becoming my “White Whale” so to speak. I have the process and the method down pretty good, I have a good smoky consistency, it looks and feels like jerky. What I can’t master is the flavor. I could buy some pre made seasoning, but I really like making my own. But, for this batch, a buddy gave me some of his venison to make into jerky for him, so I played it safe.
For Christmas I got a 4 pack of jerky seasoning, so for this experiment in jerky making, I choose the mesquite flavoring. I also used mesquite wood chips. A big tip also is to get the shredded wood chips and the chunked ones. When you smoke at such a low temp, I have found the almost saw dust wood chips took off a lot quicker.
I put the venison in the freezer for a little bit to firm it up for cutting. Once it was set, I sliced it pretty thin, and put it into a glass baking dish. I mixed up the seasoning packet into some water, and I poured it over the meat and covered it with cellophane and threw it in the fridge over night.
I got up at 6 am and turned my Masterbuilt Electric smoker on to 150 degrees. 150 is a nice low temp to really get that meat dried out. I layer out the meat flat on the grates and left gaps between so smoke and air could flow between without resistance. Next time, I think I will string my metal skewers through the ends of the cut meat and let it hang down.
Even though it was cold out, I mean really cold out, the Masterbuilt smoker held its temp. They are very well insulated. I don’t ever really open the smoker up until I hit the 3 hour mark. By then, if you had some thinner shaved pieces, they may be done. Go ahead and pull them out if they feel dry and have a nice dark color to them. Otherwise, close it up, throw in some more chips and head back inside. I usually add chips every hour and a half since you don’t burn through them very fast at this temp.
The 3 hour Mark
My jerky this time took about 7 hours to complete. I think the cold temps just really slowed the overall process down. The mesquite flavor was good. Now, I just need to master my own flavoring.