Best-Practices Time/ Temperature For Smoking

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    Seems like a lot of folks just getting into meat processing and sausage making have trouble wrapping their heads around food safety and correct smoking time and temperature. Commercial processors live and breath the food science because they are required to, but DIYers like us mainly just want their finished meat products to taste as good as possible and not make anyone sick.

    I wanted to share this link and maybe get folks to comment on it’s relevance to home processors. In particular, check out Appendix A on page 35.

    Most commercial processors have equipment that gives them far better control over their thermal processes than us home-processing guys have. For that reason, I try and factor in a bit of safety cushion into my meat smoking and cooking.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    processhead Obviously the food safety aspect of this is important but it the attention that is paid to making sure your product is safe will also give a better tasting product as well! Good article, we love appendix A but I always want to caution people that cooking up to 160 which is the point of instant lethality is the best way to be sure your product is safe.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    Expanding on the time and temperature discussion, commercial processors have much tighter controls over the storage temperature and handling of their raw ingredients. Individuals butchering their own wild game or livestock seldom can chill a carcass as quickly and are not able to control all the variables that inhibit bacteria growth on their raw meat.
    If you don’t know or can’t measure how clean your raw ingredients and processing equipment actually is, then the hot side of your processing is kind of your last line of defense for making a safe product.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User

    Ran across this somehow. Thx for the link.
    Ate up my whole afternoon lol. Read the Jerky guidelines last week, now read your link to
    FSIS Cooking Guideline for
    Meat and Poultry Products
    (Revised Appendix A)
    December, 2021

    I have to say, it was actually very interesting. 92 pages, but probably 65 actual or so. Very thought provoking, as much of our BBQ work like briskets and pork butts fall into the Scientific Gap area of not being in FSIS compliance but using a long time recognized method. But it is eye opening how easy it would be for a small producer to not be in compliance if they didn’t read all this. The fact we perform the lethality cooking time-temp process AFTER the drying in most BBQ, and our smokers fail the relative humidity requirements, immediately fails most of their compliance methods, and forces use of more complicated HACCP process validation.

    But here is a golden nugget that I read and is KEY for BBQ and smokehouse: if a solid chunk of meat is 10lbs or more, there is no longer any relative humidity requirement! So for butts, hams, briskets, >= 10 lbs is a huge simplifier.

    Also, I am now browsing Amazon for a steam injector I can use on smoker, something better than piping my little steam cleaner pot into the side! And an oven safe relative humidity sensor, or ready made dry/wet bulb RH comparator I can slap in there. May not be necessary, but would really take it to the controlled process pro level.

    Jonathon Since you linked that great Jerky Compliance Guide above, you might be interested they recently republished the Jerky process HACCP guide in 2021. So while that 2014 Jerky Compliance Guide still applies, this is the new guide for new small producers to prepare their HACCP. I’m just throwing this in because I’ve seen at least 4 folks recently talking about starting to produce jerky commercially, and they might want to take a look at this new 15page process quality check guide also. I know I would if I was starting up. Wow things get complicated when you go pro!

    HACCP Model for Ready-to-Eat, Heat-Treated, Shelf-Stable (Beef Jerky)

  • Team Blue Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Military Veterans Power User Regular Contributors

    This is the latest and greatest USDA info I have on jerky, 2019, and it adds to the standard 160f treatment because of inconsistencies of heat and humidity.

    Drying Jerky Procedure
    The USDA’s current recommendation for making jerky safely is to heat meat to 160°F before the dehydrating process. This step ensures that any bacteria present will be destroyed by wet/moist heat. However, most dehydrator instructions do not include this step and a dehydrator may not reach temperatures high enough to heat meat to 160°F. Thus, the meat must be cooked first by baking or boiling before being placed in the dehydrator. Using the dehydrator alone will stop microorganisms from growing, but it will not kill them. The right conditions of heat and moisture may cause the microorganisms to become active without the consumer being aware of a potentially dangerous situation. After heating the meat to 160°F, maintain a constant dehydrator temperature of 140 to 150°F during the drying process.
    • Marinate meat in the refrigerator. Do not save marinade for reuse. Marinades are used to tenderize and flavor the jerky before dehydrating it.
    • Steam, boil, or roast meat to 160°F, as measured with a meat thermometer, before dehydrating it. Consider using a boiling marinade as a quick method that ensures the safety of the meat.
    • Dry meats in a food dehydrator that has an adjustable temperature dial and will maintain a temperature of at least 130 to 140°F throughout the drying process.
    • Prefreeze meat to be made into jerky so it will be easier to slice. Cut partially thawed meat into long slices of ¼ inch thickness. For tender jerky, cut at right angles to long muscles (across the grain). Remove as much fat from the slices as possible to prevent "off " flavors.
    Heating Step
    Boiling marinade: Prepare 2–3 cups of your favorite marinade and bring it to a rolling boil over medium heat. Add a few meat strips, making sure the marinade covers them. Reheat to a full boil. Wait for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat source. Remove the strips from the hot marinade and place them in a single, nonoverlapping layer on drying racks.
    Oven heating: Place the jerky on racks placed on baking sheets, and bake in a 325°F oven. Check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer to make sure it has reached 160°F.
    Drying Step
    Dry the strips at 140 to 150°F in a dehydrator, oven, or smoker. Rotate product to ensure even drying. For ovens with no setting below 200°F, use an oven thermometer to maintain the oven temperature around 170°F. Keep the door propped open 2 to 6 inches to ensure a more even temperature. Circulation can be improved by placing a fan outside the oven near the door.
    Dry until the product cracks but does not break when it is bent (5 to 6 hours). Pat off any beads of oil with absorbent toweling and cool. Remove strips from the racks. Cool. Package and store in a cool, dry place. For longer shelf-life, consider storing jerky in the refrigerator.

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Sous Vide Team Blue Power User

    mrobisr great Info. Needs to go in the conversions and charts area. Lol

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg Dry Cured Sausage Sous Vide Canning Power User

    It continues to amaze me the depth of knowledge members have in this community and their willingness to share.

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