• Team Blue Canning Green Mountain Grill

    In the thread below, Jonathon mentions about how difficult it is to kill bad bacteria without cooking meat to a desired temp due to lack of moisture when dehydrating.

    Can someone please explain how this is different than simply making jerky? The Imitation bacon seasoning already contains cure per the website. I have made Jerky in my dehydrator without cooking and have had no problems to date. I just use I higher temp to dehydrate such as 170+

    Just trying to be extra safe here*


    tbone I figured out what you meant from context, but I did have to read it a few times! I responded on the other thread, but in case anyone finds this post instead I will post your question and the answer below.

    From tbone “I’ve been reading the blogs about jerky bacon. I made some restructured bacon with your jerky seasoning with beef. Cooked in pans and sliced like you did in your video, but with beef. I did add some smoke powder and it’s awesome.( I’m sure it’s better with pork.) I still have some in the freezer. Have you tried dehydrating the restructured bacon into jerky? I’m curious about this, it’s already cooked. Just need to dry it. Do ya think a little brown sugar and some salt rubbed on it would be a good test batch? Everyone talks about bacon jerky, but not the restructured bacon. Any thoughts?”

    My Response "First, glad the imitation bacon came out great, we love that stuff and need to make more of it! As for how it is going to work for bacon jerky my only worry would be that it might get crumbly as it gets dried to that level. It works with regular bacon because it is still a whole muscle piece of meat, when you grind it down and restructure it, you are getting a very good bind BUT it’s still not the same as a regular whole muscle piece. In the end I think you will be perfectly fine but that is the only “danger” I wanted to point out!

    Let us know how it turns out!"

    Get more help with your processing questions and learn more about processing meat by subscribing to our waltonsinc.com youtube page at https://wltns.link/waltonstv I am a Gorilla, love yourself

    T 1 Reply Last reply Jan 3, 2019, 3:29 PM Reply Quote 0
    T tbone Jonathon Jan 3, 2019, 3:29 PM


    Maybe instead of cooking firsr…go straight to the dehydrator. Take it to 160.

    Reply Quote 0
    Jonathon Jonathon TEAM BLUE ADMIN WALTON’S EMPLOYEE POWER USER Jan 3, 2019, 5:10 PM

    tbone I’d be leery of that because as you dehydrate meat it becomes more difficult to kill off the bad bacteria. Basically, you are creating heat-resistant bacteria and without enough moisture, you can’t kill it. Check out this article for more information on this https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/meat-preparation/jerky-and-food-safety/ct_index*****

  • Team Blue Power User Traeger Primo Grills PK Grills Canning Sous Vide Community Moderator Kansas

    My guess is his comment is more directed to a ground product, where you can have bacteria intermixed in your grind, while a whole muscle cut would only have bacteria on the surface of the meat.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    wvhunter1965 I would echo Tex_77 comment.
    With ground product, any bacterial contamination becomes intermixed into the entire batch.
    Yes, you are adding salt, cure, and removing water but the risk level from bacterial growth while the batch temperature is in the danger zone is significantly increased compared to whole muscle jerky. This, and the fact it will not be exposed to lethal temperatures.
    Yes, people have done it this way before, and it was ok. But someone selling the products and offering the methods for making restructured jerky probably don’t want the liability exposure by advising folks to use a less-conservative preparation method.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    I think you’re talking about the few sentences at end.
    Jonathon said in Restructured Jerky Question:

    tbone I’d be leery of that because as you dehydrate meat it becomes more difficult to kill off the bad bacteria. Basically, you are creating heat-resistant bacteria and without enough moisture, you can’t kill it.

    When you dry meat, the bacteria form a shell as the meat dries, like a spore case, and become resistant to heat. If you dry FIRST, then gradually heat, bacteria can thus withstand the temps that would normally kill them, and your pathogen lethality heat lrocess becomes ineffective.

    He gives you the reference link to the USFDA FSIS document that discusses this, which is likely the Jerky Guidelines booklet.

    Due to some food poisoning outbreaks traced back to jerky, the USFDA changed the production requirements in 2014. It was due to this dehydrator drying process, where meat was dried before it reached high temp. Now, you are supposed to reach high temp while meat is still moist, and cook in a moist environment, and THEN dry it out after.
    Read that USFDA pamphlet he references for all this info and the guidelines for how to cook and dry jerky the way commercial producers are mandated to for food safety.

  • Team Blue Power User Traeger Primo Grills PK Grills Canning Sous Vide Community Moderator Kansas

    See below from Jon’s link:

    Why is temperature important when making jerky?
    Illnesses due to Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 from homemade jerky raise questions about the safety of traditional drying methods for making beef and venison jerky. The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline’s current recommendation for making jerky safely is to heat meat to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F before the dehydrating process. This step assures that any bacteria present will be destroyed by wet heat. But most dehydrator instructions do not include this step, and a dehydrator may not reach temperatures high enough to heat meat to 160 °F or 165 °F.

    After heating to 160 °F or 165 °F, maintaining a constant dehydrator temperature of 130 to 140 °F during the drying process is important because:

    the process must be fast enough to dry food before it spoils; and
    it must remove enough water that microorganisms are unable to grow.
    Why is it a food safety concern to dry meat without first heating it to 160 °F?
    The danger in dehydrating meat and poultry without cooking it to a safe temperature first is that the appliance will not heat the meat to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F — temperatures at which bacteria are destroyed — before the dehydrating process. After drying, bacteria become much more heat resistant.

    Within a dehydrator or low-temperature oven, evaporating moisture absorbs most of the heat. Thus, the meat itself does not begin to rise in temperature until most of the moisture has evaporated. Therefore, when the dried meat temperature finally begins to rise, the bacteria have become more heat resistant and are more likely to survive. If these surviving bacteria are pathogenic, they can cause foodborne illness to those consuming the jerky.

    What research findings exist on the safety of jerky?
    “Effects of Preparation Methods on the Microbiological Safety of Home-Dried Meat Jerky” was published in the Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 67, No. 10, 2004, Pages 2337-2341. The authors are from the University of Georgia (Brian A. Nummer, Judy A. Harrison, and Elizabeth L. Andress, Department of Foods and Nutrition, and Mark A. Harrison, Department of Food Science and Technology) and from Colorado State University (Patricia Kendall, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and John N. Sofos, Department of Animal Sciences ).

    Marinating meat doesn’t make raw meat safe. “Marination alone did not result in significant reduction of the pathogen compared with whole beef slices that were not marinated,” concluded the study.

    In the jerky studies, some samples showed total bacterial destruction and other samples showed some bacterial survival — especially the jerky made with ground beef. Further experiments with lab-inoculated venison showed that pathogenic E. coli could survive drying times of up to 10 hours and temperatures of up to 145 °F.

    A study by the Harrisons and Ruth Ann Rose, also with the University of Georgia, was published in the January 1998 Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 61, No. 1. The authors analyzed ground beef jerky made with a commercial beef jerky spice mixture with and without a curing mix containing salt and sodium nitrite.

    Half of the ground beef was inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 before making it into jerky strips and dehydrating it. The authors found that in both the heated and unheated samples, the jerky made with the curing mix had greater destruction of bacteria than jerky made without it. The jerky made with the mix and heated before dehydrating had the highest destruction rate of bacteria.

    They concluded, “For ground beef jerky prepared at home, safety concerns related to E. coli O157:H7 are minimized if the meat is precooked to 160 °F prior to drying.”

    What are the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline’s recommendations for making homemade jerky?
    Research findings support what the Hotline has been recommending to callers. Additionally, safe handling and preparation methods must always be used, including:

    Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after working with meat products.
    Use clean equipment and utensils.
    Keep meat and poultry refrigerated at 40 °F or slightly below; use or freeze ground beef and poultry within 2 days; whole red meats, within 3 to 5 days.
    Defrost frozen meat in the refrigerator, not on the kitchen counter.
    Marinate meat in the refrigerator. Don’t save marinade to re-use. Marinades are used to tenderize and flavor the jerky before dehydrating it.
    Steam or roast meat to 160 °F and poultry to 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer before dehydrating it.
    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.
    Are there any special considerations for wild game jerky?
    Yes, there are other special considerations when making homemade jerky from venison or other wild game. According to Keene and his co-authors, “Venison can be heavily contaminated with fecal bacteria — the degree varying with the hunter’s skill, wound location, and other factors. While fresh beef is usually rapidly chilled, deer carcasses are typically held at ambient temperatures, potentially allowing bacteria multiplication.”

  • Team Blue Canning Green Mountain Grill

    Great info from all of you guy’s and thanks for your input.

    My dehydrator goes as high as 195 I think so would it be safe to say that I can start the meat once the unit is at 195, then after it reaches IT of 165, reduce the u it temp and continue until dry?

    That sounds, in my mind, like what is being described except I am wondering about the moisture aspect

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    wvhunter1965 I’d read that pamphlet, then you will know all the official info and guidance that anyone else in the world knows, pretty much. You can get 1000 YouTube and online opinions and guys telling you they dehydrated only and never got sick… and not a one of them is worth just reading the official USFDA guidlines on how to make jerky, and what a commercial priducer as to do to pass an inspection and stay in business.

    That being said… so long as you get meat temp up to lethality ranges while meat is still moist, then bacteria won’tsurvive and you’llbe good. So 130 to 161f depending on how long you pause there (all that required timing is linked from that pamphlet in FSIS “Appendix A” for meat cooking). Sounds like your dehydrator will get hot enough to do that before meat dries out. I’d run it at 160 or so til some meat internal temp/time combo that charts say is good, then lower it and dehydrate from there. At 160f its just seconds, at 145f it is 4 min, etc.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    wvhunter1965 Can you tell us a little more about your dehydrator? What is the power rating (watts)? What are the interior dimensions?

    The reason I ask is that being able to achieve an air temperature (empty) of 195 does not necessarily mean you can hold that temperature with several pounds of cool or room temperature product unless your heating element is big enough for the space you are trying to heat up.

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

    Bottom line is that the USDA now recommends a moist heat to kill pathogens prior to dehydration. Short of a commercial set up the recommended method is the oven first then dehydrating, but as Dave AZ said the texture was not pleasant. The only solution that I have come up with and will do on my next batch is to marinate the meat in vac bags then sous vide in the bag to pasteurize the meat of all pathogens for time instead of the higher temp and then dehydrating the meat. This should achieve the moist heat as USDA recommended, but not over cook the meat so the texture is desirable.

  • Team Blue Canning Green Mountain Grill


    Here are the specs on the dehydrator.

    Screen Shot 2022-10-14 at 6.57.59 AM.png

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    wvhunter1965 That sounds like a good, high power unit with plenty of heating capacity relative to the size of the chamber.

    I would think you should be able to hold the necessary temperatures for what we are discussing.

    Are you able to close off or throttle back the discharge vent? If you are moving too much air through the unit, it would make it harder to hold a higher temperature.

  • Team Blue Canning Green Mountain Grill

    Dave in AZ ,

    So the results are in and the dehydrator is far from sufficient. I did a test batch and it took far too long to reach temp.

    I have also placed a test batch in the oven at 350 and it took about 12 minutes to come to 165. I then used the dehydrator to finish drying the jerky and it came out just fine.

    Thanks again for the help to all who responded

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    wvhunter1965 thx for the follow up. Just in case it affects your process, the usfda Come Up Time is 6 hrs, so from 50f to 130f 6 hrs is the max CUT. So your dehydrator may be fine?

  • Team Blue Canning Green Mountain Grill

    Thnx Dave in AZ. Appreciate the info as always. I will likely stay with the oven first from now on. It didn’t affective texture much at all, at least to my eye and it seems to be the safest method at my disposal at this time and the added time/ steps are not over burdensome at all!

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Regular Contributors Veteran New Mexico Sous Vide

    wvhunter1965 Sounds like you have a process that you like, thanks for the info.

  • Team Blue Canning Green Mountain Grill

    So now that I have the temps and all figured out, I have another question for those knowledgeable folks out there.

    For the jerky seasonings, do the recomended seasoning measurements apply to restructured as well as whole muscle jerky or do they need to be adjusted? I have done a couple of different ones and they seem rather salty. I am curious if the seasonings being mixed into the meat should be less than when being marinated

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    wvhunter1965 I do recall there has been a thread or two about this. Think the concensus was less salt/spice soaks into whole muscle, lot is left in the marinade bag. While 100% is inside the restructured. So yes, use less.

    How much less is the problem. Jonathon has a nice Meatgistics U video on making restructured jerky. Ut it doesnt talk about spice concentration. He uses 9.1oz for 15 lbs meat, which is just it’s recommended dosage for 25lbs adjusted for 15 (* 3/5). What I would tell you is this: use the snackstick seasoning amounts and spices, not the jerky version amounts. Snacksticks are usually a good spice level, and restructured jerky is just a flattened snackstick dried to about 50% weight. So it will be 2x as salty as the planned snackstick if using recommended amounts.

    Jonathon indicated he liked that level when using the Dill Pickle snackstick seasoning for restructured jerky and drying to 50%, so I’d go with that. Or use half, if you like how salty an undried snackstick is.

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Oh also, as a reference, I use Willie’s snackstick seasoning at recommended levels. But then I dry my snacksticks to maybe 70% original weight, so not quite as much as restructured jerky 50%. I’m happy with the salt and spice, but it is at the very top end of salty. So I’d go 50 to 70% recommended usage if using Willie’s.

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