Jerky is one of the world’s most popular snacks. The salty, dried meat is simply addicting and provides a healthy dose of protein.
Most people use a dehydrator or oven to make jerky. However, you can use a smoker to smoke beef jerky. Smoking beef jerky makes it even more addicting.
The key to smoking jerky is knowing how long to smoke it at 180°F. Smoke beef jerky at 180°F for 7-10 hours.
Is 180 Too Hot For Jerky
Dehydrating beef jerky requires smoking it at low temperatures. If the smoker is too hot, the outside of the meat will form a crust.
Once this crust forms, it acts as a barrier, sealing moisture inside the meat.
The point of dehydrating the meat is to remove all the moisture. Therefore, smoking it at higher temperatures will do more harm than good.
180°F is ideal for smoking jerky. It is low enough that all the moisture will evaporate from the meat. However, it is not so low that the jerky will take forever to cook.
What Cut Of Beef Is Best For Beef Jerky
Lean meat is ideal for making beef jerky. The point of smoking jerky is to dehydrate it, which helps it last longer.
Fat is not good for jerky. It can spoil, so you must avoid fatty cuts of beef like prime rib or rib eye. Most experts recommend using the leanest cut of beef you can find.
Choose beef cuts from the round part of the animal. Eye of Round is great for making beef jerky. It has low-fat levels and is easy to work with.
Top round is also an excellent choice for making beef jerky. It is lean and creates delicious jerky.
You can experiment with top round and eye of round or other lean cuts of beef until you find a cut that works best for you.
How To Slice Beef For Jerky
First, remove any sinew or excess fat from your beef round. There will not be large portions of fat on the beef round, but there may be a few pieces on the surface of the meat.
Remember, fat is bad when it comes to making jerky. So get rid of any bits of excess fat.
Additionally, remove the silver skin from the round. The silver skin will not melt as the meat smokes.
If you leave the silver skin on the meat, it will shrink and cause it to shrivel as it smokes in the smoker. The silver skin will also cause the jerky to become tough.
To remove the silver skin from the beef round, insert a butter knife beneath the skin. Grab the silver skin with a paper towel and carefully pull it away.
The silver skin may come off at once. However, if it doesn’t, try again until all of it has been removed from the meat.
Next, slice the beef into 1/4-inch pieces. Cut the beef against the grain. It will create a slightly chewy jerky that is not so tough that your mouth hurts from chewing it.
Make sure you slice the beef as evenly as possible. Evenly cut beef will finish cooking around the same time. In contrast, if the beef is cut unevenly, it will have different cooking times.
It may be best to use a meat slicer to cut the beef round into thin beef round pieces. The meat slicer will give you the most even slices.
Do You Flip Jerky While Smoking
There is no need to flip jerky when you are smoking it. The point of flipping food is to ensure it cooks evenly on both sides.
However, with beef jerky, the heat will circulate around the meat evenly. So, there’s no need to turn the meat over.
Tips For Smoking Jerky
Beef jerky takes a long time to smoke. Trying to run a smoker for hours on end can be difficult for some people.
However, you can partially smoke the beef jerky and then place it into a dehydrator or oven to speed up the smoking process.
To do this, smoke the beef jerky for 3 hours, then place it on your dehydrator trays and dehydrate it at 180°F until it is completely dehydrated.
For the oven method, smoke the jerky for 3 hours, then place them onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Set your oven to its lowest temperature setting and let it preheat.
Place the jerky into the oven and bake it until it is completely dehydrated.
If the beef is hard to cut into thin slices, freeze it for 30 minutes to an hour. Freezing the beef makes it easier to slice.
If necessary, you can also pound the slices into thin pieces of meat using a meat mallet.
How Long To Smoke Jerky At 180
Ultimately how long to smoke jerky at 180°F will depend on the density of the meat. This is why it is extremely important to ensure the meat is sliced thinly.
It takes about 7-10 hours to smoke beef jerky at 180°F.
How Long To Smoke Venison Jerky At 180
Smoke venison jerky at 180°F for 3-4 hours. Check the jerky’s temperature after 1 hour to make sure the meat is dehydrating evenly.
If there are pieces of jerky that are dehydrating faster than others, move them further away from the heating unit. This will prevent them from overdrying.
How To Know When Smoked Jerky Is Done
First, you must let the jerky cool. Bend it slightly. The jerky should bend easily without breaking into pieces.
If the jerky tears in the center, it is not done. Return the jerky to the smoker and cook it longer.
In contrast, if the jerky snaps and is too dry, it’s probably overcooked.
Smoking beef jerky is easy, especially when you know how long to smoke it at 180°F. Smoke beef jerky for 5-7 hours, and you will have salty, slightly chewy, and smoky beef jerky.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.