Getting the Right Smoking Temperature For Beef Jerky

Beef jerky smoking temperature

Getting the right temperature for smoking beef jerky is crucial. If you don’t, your jerky will be too tough to chew and may not have much of a flavor.

To start, marinate your beef strips in a sweet and savory marinade. Then, smoke them at a low temperature for several hours.

Temperature Control

When it comes to smoking beef jerky, temperature control is key. This will not only ensure that the meat is fully cooked but also prevent bacteria from growing, which could lead to foodborne illness.

Keeping the internal temperature of a smoked beef jerky at 165 degrees Fahrenheit is essential to ensure that the meat is safe to consume. This will also help to maintain the moisture in the meat and allow it to dry completely.

Once the internal temperature reaches this level, the jerky will be fully cooked and ready to eat. A thermometer is an effective way to monitor the internal temperature of a smoked jerky. Use a thermometer that is accurate to within one degree, such as a Thermapen.


When making beef jerky, you’ll need to monitor the smoking temperature of the meat. Using an accurate thermometer is one of the best ways to do this.

A thermometer, typically a narrow glass tube with a liquid column at its end, is designed to measure temperature. Its range of temperatures is generally between 50 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit (between 10 and 150 degrees Celsius).

You can use a simple dial thermometer or a digital one with a display that shows the current temperature, like a Thermapen(r). Set it to 145°F to ensure you’re reaching current research recommendations for a safe jerky.

When your jerky is fully dry and reaches an internal temperature of 150-160degF (66-71degC), place it in plastic containers or bags. These should be slightly ajar to allow moisture to soften the driest sections of the meat. This will help the jerky last longer and be more flavorful. For added safety, spot-check its temperature with a Thermapen once you’ve removed it from the smoker.

Smoker Racks

Using smoker racks to maintain the smoking temperature of beef jerky is an excellent way to make sure that the meat doesn’t become overcooked or dry. They also save space on your grill, allowing you to cook more food at one time.

Aside from ensuring that the jerky is smoked to a safe and consistent temperature, smoker racks also add a smoky flavor to the beef. This is especially important for jerky made from lean cuts of meat.

To get started making jerky in your smoker, you’ll need to marinate the beef in a savory mixture of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and pepper. After the marinade has soaked into the meat, place it in your smoker and leave to smoke overnight or for at least 12 hours.

Then, once you’ve been smoking for two hours or so, periodically pull a strip of jerky out and check it to ensure that it is finished smoking. It should bend and crack but not break in half and will have small white fibers within it that indicate that it’s done.

Wood Chips

The wood chips used to smoke your beef jerky have a direct effect on the flavor. They can alter the meat’s taste in unexpected ways, allowing you to create unique and interesting flavors.

A good rule of thumb is to use a variety of wood chips. Fruitier woods (applewood and cherrywood) can infuse your jerky with a mild smoke flavor, while more intense options like hickory and pecan will add a rich and distinct smoke flavor.

It’s also important to consider the environmental impact of using wood chips for your jerky. A growing trend in the industry is to use wood chips made from biochar plantations, a method of collecting and burning the woodchips that would otherwise be dumped or disposed of.

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