Homemade Jerky and Sausage; Mastering my Little Chief smokehouse

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by rbV5, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    Got a Little Chief smokehouse for Christmas, so I decided to fire it up and test it out.

    I thought I'd try to make some Beef Jerky to get a feel for its use. I wanted to start out simple so I used the basic included recipe..here's what I did.

    Meat:

    *5 lbs New York Strip Roast (I already had it, probably a ittle to good a cut for Jerky?)

    Brine:

    *1 QT water
    * 1/2 cup Sugar
    1/2 cup Non- Iodized Salt (I'm using slightly less than 1/2 cup now, Much better :) )

    * I sliced up the roast while it was still slightly frozen, which made it easy to cut thin.
    * Meat has been soaking in the Brine, in a bowl for 24 hours in the fridge.

    The smoker has never been used, so I need to "season" it before using it. I just filled a pan full of Smokehouse Alder chips and plugged it in. I have it set on my rear concrete patio. We may be getting snow/rain today so I set my large Patio umbrella over the top just in-case. I'll pull my meat out of the brine and get it dried out and ready to smoke while it is seasoning

    Its colder outside than they recommend (36F, they recommend 45F +) I'm thinking it shouldn't be too big a deal, and the wind is calm so far today.

    The recipe calls for 2 pans of chips and 12 hours drying time. I'm assuming that that means after the 2 pans burn out (couple hours) I leave it plugged in for the remainder of the time and then all should be good to go.

    Any advice before I fire it up? It's smoking now....smells great :)

    Update: working great!

    ----------------------------------------------------------
    June 08 Update: Summer sausage hanging in the smoker :)

    3 lbs ground beef
    2 lbs Ground Pork
    Smokehouse "Summer Sausage" seasoning pack

    14 hours in the smoker; 6 pans of Mesquite chips

    In the smoker

    Out of the smoker

    Sliced up and ready to eat

    ---------------------------------------------------------
     
  2. bonkers325

    bonkers325 Lifer

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    put two sticks over the smoke vent, place a bunt pan over the hole, and a metal bowl over the bunt pan. place ice on top of the metal bowl, condensation will form on the inside of the bowl and you will get smoke flavored liquid
     
  3. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    Poor man's liquid smoke? Have you done that? I should try that!
     
  4. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    OK, got the meat laid out on the counter. It was a bit of a PITA, I think I need to cut larger pieces to make it go faster, the chunks would probably rack easier too.

    I basically laid out paper towels on the kitchen counter, laid the meat down flat after a quick rinse under the kitchen faucet, and covered with another layer of paper towels.

    Drying time on counter: 1 hour



     
  5. biggestmuff

    biggestmuff Diamond Member

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    Very, very low temp over a long time and ensure that the meat hits 160 degrees at some point.

    I did a batch in an electric oven several years ago and it turned out perfect. The second time I tried, it was terrible.

    I used flank steak each time and a marinade of OJ, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce and a base of a marinade that I can't remember the name.
     
  6. biggestmuff

    biggestmuff Diamond Member

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    If you haven't done so already, cut the meat into strips against the grain.
     
  7. homercles337

    homercles337 Diamond Member

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    I would have gone with a tasty marinade and skipped the brine.
     
  8. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    Always...I also cut it prior to soaking in the brine.


    I wanted to start simple with a basic recipe for my first shot...I'll be trying a number of methods going forward :D
     
  9. Darkstar757

    Darkstar757 Diamond Member

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    This sounds so tasty let me know how it turns out? Are you going to try fish?
     
  10. Darkstar757

    Darkstar757 Diamond Member

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    Also are you scared of animals getting into it?
     
  11. bonkers325

    bonkers325 Lifer

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    it was featured on an episode of Good Eats

    if you're already using the wood chips to smoke something, might as well capture some of that smoke in liquid form :)
     
  12. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    OK, the meat is in the smokehouse, and the first pan is on the burner.

    Racking the meat went easier than I thought. The small pieces fill in the spaces between the big ones, should be good little snacks.

    5 pounds of a fairly lean roast came up a little short from completely filling the 4 included racks.

    Oh Yea, fish is the reason I've wanted a smoker. I'd really like a propane version so I could take it camping with me when we go trout fishing.

    I'll be picking up wild Salmon when it goes on sale, and I have a good little fish market I get my seafood from, so I'll try a variety of fish and seafood. I also want to try smoking some cheese.

    I'll probably only be curing Jerky, and then smoke-flavoring the vast majority of stuff. I'll definately report on todays batch when it's finished :D
     
  13. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    Not with my dog watching it....(well mabe the dog;)
     
  14. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    Yea, no kidding, I like it!

    My Dad uses liquid smoke in his smokehouse (on his sailboat currently somewhere near Puerto Valllarta) When I was visiting last time, we would go out and fish for some "Sierra" from the dingy (fight like Stealhead !!!) and bring them straight in, a little liquid smoke marinade, into the converted little chief smoker and then "fish candy" in a couple hours <--- simply awesome...everything about it. mmmmmm.....
     
  15. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    On the second and last pan O' chips. Everything is looking good....~ 9 hour to go...........
     
  16. xavier es

    xavier es Senior member

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    salmon jerky has to be about the best stuff i have ever eaten, and i've been to alot of good eateries. my buddies wife used to have her brother send her coolers full of salmon from alaska. they had a ratty looking homemade smoker in the backyard to do the salmon, then they would put it in baggies and sell it, we used to joke that it was so good it should be illegal.
     
  17. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    We had a old wood smokehouse in the backyard when I was growing up. I hadn't thought of making jerky with the Salmon though...sounds like I had better :)

    OK, my second pan is burnt up, the meat is just drying it now...how will I know when it's done other than the "time"?
     
  18. xavier es

    xavier es Senior member

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    if you make salmon jerky i am going to find out where you live and show up when its done!!http://forums.anandtech.com/i/ratingicons/grin.gif
    grin.gif
     
  19. AlienCraft

    AlienCraft Lifer

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    A few years back , when CA was having some really big salmon runs, I got intosmoking Salmon. I did it during the time Tracy Chapman was using our studio for rehersals. They would come in on Monday's , after I had spent the weekend limiting out and Iwould have racks of fish set out under fans inthe morning when it was stillcooland then in the afternoon, when they would come out for lunch, the smoker would be doing it's thing and she would be blown away, chowing down on it 2 days later.
    Cycles of life, and all that stuff she likes to write about.

     
  20. IGBT

    IGBT Lifer

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    ..I hear whale jerky is real good. :p
     
  21. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    I like the music --> smoked Salmon connection.

    "I gotta do something with all this Salmon I'm catching......" ooooohh....smOKE it!
     
  22. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    I prefer baby seal jerky, but whatever....
     
  23. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    OK, small pieces are good because some of the small pieces are already done on the bottom rack!! :)

    First impression:

    Kids that are home already: Awesome...best jerky I've ever had...can I have some more?

    Me: It's a little saltier than I prefer, maybe because these are small pieces? Didn't rinse it quite enough after removing from the brine?

    I'm being very critical, cause it is excellent, just a "tad" salty. I'll have a better idea later when the large pieces are ready....shouldn't have tried the little pieces as it is getting harder to wait.

    Better crack a beer :beer:

     
  24. rbV5

    rbV5 Lifer

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    OK, jerky is done.

    Looks like the temperature recommendation is deserved. I ended up finishing the last couple racks in the oven because as the tempurature dropped it just wouldn't hold the temp high enough. Fair enough, they have an insulating cover you can purchase, looks like I could very easily fab one as well...probably worth it.

    The jerky was definately very good, however, it was just too salty. I'm wondering, If I want it less salty do I:

    * Rinse it off better. The recipe called to lightly rinse the meat after removing from the brine, did I simply not rinse it enough, hence the extra saltiness?

    *Reduce the amount of salt in the Brine. I used the basic recipe IQT water + 1/2 cup Non-Iodized salt + 1/2 cup Sugar. Should I reduce the ratio of salt to sugar to make it less salty? By how much?

    *Reduce the soak time in the brine. I soaked my meat for 24 hours prior to smoking. Should I reduce the soak time to reduce the saltiness?

    Don't use a brine, use a marinade instead. I want to make sure that the meat is cured so I don't have to refridgerate. I also would like to get a feel for the basics before I get carried away, that maybe the best jerky isn't just candied up with some fancy marinades. Maybe thats just way off-base.
    Those are the 3 variables I can come up with. Maybe a combination of the 3? Maybe using a brine just results in salty jerky so I should use a different recipe.

    I'm thinking that I just need to adjust the sugar/salt ratio of the brine, and maybe rinse the meat a little more should do the trick. I don't wan't to use not enough salt to not cure the meat so, maybe reduce it down to 3/8 cup salt + 1/2 cup sugar + 1 QT water

    Bottom line, I could care less about making it cheap, I just want to be able to make awesome homemade jerky with my Little Chief smokehouse
     
  25. xavier es

    xavier es Senior member

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    :thumbsup: