Dried beef???

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by mdprepper, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  2. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

    Hey MD:

    Curley's be good, but ya gotta use his brine, here be another one I've got, takes longer but makes a more traditional dried beef.

    Select a firm piece of meat, well trimmed. Remove ALL fat an sinew. If yer curin more then 1 piece at a time keep em all the same size.

    5 gallon cure/brine
    5 gallons water
    1 pound cure #1
    1 1/2 pounds salt
    1 pound cane sugar

    Add ingredients to the water an mix until salt an sugar be dissolved. Let cool ta 36° ta 38°. Then pump the beef (most any sort a needle will work) with the brine/cure ta 8-10% a the meats wieght, besure ta get well inta the middle a the meat.

    Next place the meat inta the remainin brine/cure fer 12 ta 14 days. Besure the meat stays covered, ya might have ta put a place over it. I use a food grade 5 gallon bucket with a tight fittin lid. If ya don't need all 5 gallons, use a smaller bucket, I get em at the megamart, had icin in em. Keep in the fridge this whole time.

    After the meat has cured, soak it in cool water fer 1 hour changin it half way through. Let the meat dry well then follow this smokin schedule:

    10 hours at 100°-110° with no smoke then
    12 hours at 100°-110° with smoke then
    6 hours at 120° with no smoke then
    7 hours at 130° with no smoke

    Besure ta keep the temps constant an in them ranges cause this be when the dryin occurs an it won't form a hard skin on it.

    Now leave in the smoker at 115° fer another 4 days with no smoke. Yer gonna notice the meat ways bout 40% less then it did when ya started. After the 4 days, shut down the smoker an let the meat cool gradually in the smoker with no heat er smoke. Should be cooled off well after bout 5 hours.

    Place in the cooler until well chilled then slice.

    This will keep quite well in the cooler, er it can be froze. If ya vac bag it, should keep well over a year in the freezer.

    I ain't never done it, but if ya was ta dehydrate it the rest of the way, it should keep as long as beef jerky, just reconstitue it a bit with some water, but not to much, cause ya don't wan't it soggy.

    I would imagine ya could salt it well an pack it fer longer dry storage.

  3. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...


    I truly appreciate the information!!!!
  4. Riverdale

    Riverdale Well-Known Member

    How thick is your meat cut when you smoke/cure it?
    Would this work with pork and mutton/lamb?

  5. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

    Ya don't slice it till it's smoked. Let it rest in a frig overnight an makes slicin easier.

    Ya wan't whole pieces so ya can inject the meat.

    I don't see why it wouldn't work on a sheep, ain't much of a sheep eater so never tried it. But again, no reason it shouldn't.
  6. TwoHoot

    TwoHoot Member

    Preserving Meat Without Refrigeration

    The best overall reference I have found about methods of preserving meat without refrigeration was put together by Curtis Conrad in 2004. This is a thoroughly researched, well written, comprehensive paper.

    You can find a link to it in the Pantry of Master Giles fitz Alan's virtual estate.
    Here is the link to the document itself: giles.freehostia.com/Docs/Meat%20without%20Refer.doc. (You will have to copy and paste it into your browser without the http:// prefix because it is a link to a word document, not a HTML webpage. You will also have to have software on your computer that will open Microsoft Word Documents).

    I quit posting at another Preparedness Forum because the reference links above would be considered "advertising" and the entire post removed. I think authors deserve credit for their work, especially when they make it free to everyone on the internet like Mr. Conrad has. I hope the links are acceptable on this forum.

    Since October, I have experimented with curing and drying beef and chicken using the guidelines in Mr. Conrad's article. When I have time, I will post the notes on procedure and results (with pictures).


    PS: I am new here and do not know the customs yet. Should I just post the entire document (it is long) with proper author credit and links?
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  7. Riverdale

    Riverdale Well-Known Member

    I know mr Conrad and have sampled both the dried meat and cheese that he makes.
  8. TwoHoot

    TwoHoot Member

    That is interesting. Were the meat and cheese good?

    I do not know Mr. Conrad. In fact it took me months to track down the author after the paper was sent to me via email without any source reference. I asked for and received his permission to reprint (with proper credit) it in the private section of my website.

    I used his guidelines to cure and dehydrate (in a dehydrator) both chicken and beef. After 4 months, it is remarkably like fresh meat when rinsed repeatedly and soaked in water.

    When I have time, I will put my detailed preparation notes and pictures together and post it.

  9. nj_m715

    nj_m715 www.veggear.blogspot.com

    I haven't tried this, but I like jerky. It looks easy.
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2WTrNQAw0M]YouTube - Making Traditional South African Biltong Part 1 of 2[/ame]
  10. TwoHoot

    TwoHoot Member

    Well, Here it is -

    Reading and thinking is one thing. Actually doing it is another thing altogether. With Curtis Conrad's excellent guidelines on storing meat without refrigeration, there are a thousand details that pop up when you do it.

    I used a 8 quart kettle on the stovetop to heat the meat in the third step. With the first batch of beef (brisket) and the chicken, I used a wet cure in large kettle in the refrigerator. On the second batch of beef (steak fingers), I used a dry cure in a 2 gallon Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. I think the dry cure/Ziploc bag method is less trouble and just as good.

    I have a 9 tray Excalibur Dehydrator that I used to dry the meat after curing and a small Model DZ-280A Vacuum Sealer from Sorbent Systems to vacuum pack the final product.

    I am still unclear on how critical it is to remove fat. Most of the flavor in meat is in the fat so a completely fat-free product is nearly tasteless. On the other hand, I am told that fat turns rancid even in a sterile environment. My approach was to remove all the fat I could without getting radical about it and hope for the best. Time will tell.

    Beef - First Batch

    9/30/10 Notes:

    1. Bought a 7 lb 13 oz Trimmed beef brisket and trimmed it some more to get 6 lb 3 oz of lean meat. There is a lot more fat and connective tissue in a trimmed brisket than one might expect. Original cost = $20.96; Cost of lean meat after 20% trimming loss = $3.35/lb
    2. Cut into strips (with the grain) ~ 1/4" thick. Trimming and slicing took about 45 minutes.
    3.Cover with water in pan with tight lid and heat to constant 165 F. (Yes I used a thermometer) and move to oven set at 170 F (to hold temp without cooking) for 2 hours.("Broth" was reddish and meat was white in color) Temperature did hold above 160 F. I think this wet heat treatment will kill all bacteria (I think it was a Univ of Ohio study that recommended this). I used the broth to make a pot of beans. There was a moderate amount of grease floating on the top.
    4.Shook meat strips dry, washed pan and covered meat with brine (2 lb salt in 3 qts water). Let sit in refrigerator for 2 full days. The meat was still whitish but took on a leathery consistency. (additional fat floated to the top).
    5.Shook off excess brine and put in dehydrator for 2 hours at 130 F, turned temp to 145 F for 1 hour and then to 155 F for 2 more hours.
    6.Put in plastic bag in refrigerator overnight to let remaining moisture equalize. Most of the pieces were slightly dryer than snack jerky and a lot saltier. Weight at this point was 2 lb 5 oz. Cost at this point = $9.06/lb.
    7. Put in dehydrator at 155 F for 4 hours. Finished product weighed 2 lb 2 oz and cost $9.86/lb (not counting time and supplies)
    8. Vacuum packed in bags containing 6 – 7 oz each. This represents a little over a pound of lean brisket in each package.
    9. In a week or two, I will open one of the packages, make some beef stew and give a report on how it reconstitutes and cooks.


    After 4 months, the dried beef is about like it was. I took one of the smaller packages, rinsed it thoroughly in cool water to get as much salt off it as possible and put it in two cups of hot water to sit for a couple of hours. It reconstituted to meat like salty brisket. This needs to have more rinsing and soaking to remove more salt.

    Adding potatoes and onions without any additional salt made acceptable beef stew. The brisket cut with the grain is tough even after cooking.

    There are 5 vacuum packs remaining. It is hard and brittle.

    Beef - Second Batch

    Modifications from above:

    1. Use am 8:3 salt:sugar mixture to cure the meat. This is supposed to reduce the salt flavor without harming the cure.
    2. Add Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) to retain red meat color without the toxic problems of nitrates.
    3. Use a dry cure in a Zip lock bag instead of a brine cure.
    4. Add a little vinegar (2 teaspoons) to keep after there is some liquid in the bag to keep pH low.


    Cut about 8 lbs steak (Strip Tips and eye of round) into 1/2” strips, covered with water and brought to about 140 degrees on stove top. Covered and put into oven at 170° for 4 hours.

    Put meat in colander and rinsed with cold water. Let drain. Meat is whitish.

    Put meat in large zip lock bag and added about 2 cups of dry-cure mix (4 lb salt, 1 1/2 lb sugar and 2 tbs of fruit fresh (ascorbic acid)). After mixing well to get all meat covered with salt, I put it in the refrigerator to cure. The salt draws the moisture out of the meat and in about 12 hours, there was enough water in the bag to dissolve all the cure mix. The ascorbic acid caused the meat to turn an appetizing red color.

    I plan to let it cure for at least 10 days before drying and packaging it.


    Added about 1 cup of salt and 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the bag. I have been turning and mixing it every day in the bag.


    1. Removed meat from bag, rinsed in colander, let drip dry. Meat is firm and reddish brown in color. (Discard curing juices and salt in dumpster because I don't want that much salt in my septic system). Wet weight = 5 lb 12 oz (23% weight loss from fresh)
    Put in dehydrator for 1 hour at 140° and 3 hours at 155°. Meat is dry and tough to hard. Weight = 4 lb 5 oz. (41% weight loss from fresh)
    2. Put in plastic storage bag in refrigerator overnight so remaining moisture can equalize.


    Dehydrated at 155° for 4 hours. Final weight = 3 lb even (weight loss from fresh = 60%). Meat is dry and hard.

    Vac pack in 8 – 6oz bags, each representing a little over a pound of fresh meat. Put 4 of these bags per gallon bag for storage.
    Steak Fingers.JPG

    Chicken Notes


    1.Bought 10 lb (11 pieces) Chicken Leg Quarters (this is just drumstick, thigh and a bit of backbone) for $5.48
    2.Removed skin and fat to get 7 lb 6 oz of lean quarters with the bone in. Cost at this point = $0.74/lb
    3. Cover with water and heat to 165 F (Yes I used a thermometer). Place in oven at 170 F to hold temp for 2 hours.
    4. Bone and separate muscle bundles to get drying size pieces. This yielded 3 lb 6 oz of lean boneless dark chicken meat. Cost at this point = $1.62/lb
    5. Covered with brine (1.25 cup salt, 1.25 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp Cajon seasoning in 2 qts water) and refrigerated for 2 days. I skimmed off maybe half a cup of fat during this process. (I reduced the salt and added sugar and spices after the finding the beef done previously was very salty)
    6. Put in dehydrator for 1 hour at 130 F and 3 hours at 155 F. Meat was white to light brown and very pliable at this point. Wiped some greasy pieces with a paper towel. I was surprised to find the chicken was a lot greasier throughout the process than the beef brisket dried previously.
    7. Bag and refrigerate overnight to let remaining moisture equalize. At this point there is 1 lb 13 oz of chicken with the flavor and consistency (it is pliable) of moderately salty jerky. Cost = $3.02 / lb at this point.
    8. Dry for 3 hours at 155 F. Now there is 1 lb 10 oz of dried chicken that cost $3.37/lb (not counting time and supplies). It is hard (not pliable like jerky) and tan to light brown in color (the greasy spots are darkest brown). You would classify this as dried chicken, not jerky.
    9. Vacuum pack in ~ 5 oz bags representing the lean meat from about 2 Chicken Leg Quarters.
    10. In a few days, I will make chicken noodle soup with one of these and give a taste test report. It will be a couple of years before we will know if this is suitable for long term storage or not.


    After four months in the refrigerator, there is no discernible difference in appearance. I opened one of the bags and soaked the dried chicken in water for 24 hours, rinsing and replacing the water 4 times to remove as much salt as possible.

    I boiled it for about 5 minutes. It looks and tastes like fresh cooked boned chicken. The cajon seasoning flavor intensified as did the brown sugar taste. Otherwise, I don't think you can tell the difference, certainly not in a soup or casserole dish.

    What I would do different:
    Use white sugar instead of brown and leave out the spice.
    Use a dry cure in a Zip Lock bag instead of a wet cure.
    Add some ascorbic acid to help retain fresh appearance and lower pH.

    Other notes:
    I heated the meat to 165 F in water before curing because I read that botulism bacteria will go dormant with dry heat and grow later. Higher temperatures than about 170 F begin to cook the meat, changing both flavor and consistency.

    Several studies mentioned that removing the fat was very important because it will go rancid by a non-bacterial chemical process over time and give the meat a bad flavor.

    Since you can store a lot of dried meat in a very small space, I am keeping it in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator for now. If the power goes off for an extended period, it won't spoil for several years.
  11. iprepare143

    iprepare143 ExCommunicated

    I have seen a recipe of dried beef in a cookbook that cuts the strips of meats and marinates in some kind of brine or spice magic elixir and hangs it and leaves them there until dried.It is also one of the recipes to make dried beef.