How Long to Smoke Jerky: A Basic Guide For Jerky Lovers

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There are a lot of ways to create jerkies. But for me, the best one is definitely through smoking. This cooking method somehow imbibes a natural feel to your meat. It is not as difficult as what other people claim. Instead, it is the most practical and cost-efficient approach in preparing a jerky.

However, there is one curious question that revolves around this jerky preparation. Since it is not as innovative as dehydrators and oven, there is no real way of determining the exact duration of the heating. How long to smoke jerky? In this article, I will answer that question for you.

How long to Smoke Jerky

Fortunately, there is a definite answer to this question. If you are using an smoker, just heat up the device to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal drying temperature that you should subject to your meat. You should use a food thermometer to check the consistency of this temperature.

You should expose the meat in such heating conditions around 4 to 6 hours. But you can already take out the meat once it gains a firm and chewable texture. You can also test the meat by taking a piece and shaking it by your fingers. If the meat feels limp or elastic, then put it back to the smoker.

At this point, the best thing that you can do is to always check the meat by an interval of 45 minutes to one hour. In this way, you can prevent any incidents of overcooking and undercooking.

Factors that Affect the Smoking Duration

In my experience, there are several factors that can affect the drying time of a jerky. After all, making a perfect jerky is not a product of sheer luck in the kitchen. I will emphasize again that cooking is still a form of science. If you account all the variables and put them into their best conditions, then you should be able to get a satisfying result.

Meat Cut

When it comes to preparing a jerky, the meat choice is a determining factor. There are ideal meat cuts that you should prefer over the other. Specifically, you should choose the meat that is lean. Of course, it is evident that the latter contains less fat. Therefore, it doesn’t need too much heating before it fully dries out.

Freshness of the Meat

Another factor that decides the preparation speed it’s the quality of the meat. You cannot expect that an old piece of meat would be as tender and smooth as a fresh one. Moreover, old and almost-expired meat don’t taste good as well. In fact, they could even spoil your stomach and send you quickly to the hospital.

Therefore, there are two components that you should always pay attention whenever you are choosing a lump of meat for your jerky. They are the size (leanness) and quality (freshness). If you can get meat strips that possess these qualities, your cooking would be quick and hassle-free.

Quick Tips for Using an Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30 inch, Black

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You don’t need to become a master in the kitchen before you can use a smoker properly. Most of the commercial smokers that you can see on the market today have an ergonomic design. Therefore, operating them is not as troublesome as operating those traditional smokers that we have.

Of course, you can still opt for a dehydrator or an oven to get your jerky done. But with a smoker, you can create a smoky-flavored delicacy. Specifically, you can do this by adding wood chips. Here are some of them:

  • Cherry and apple wood – It can produce sweet and mild flavor.
  • Hickory wood – It adds a bacon “taste” on the jerky.
  • Mesquite wood – It can give a strong flavor to the jerky. But sometimes, the flavor becomes too strong. Therefore, I recommend that you should complement the wood with a cherry or apple wood to mellow down the flavor.

You can also blend the hickory with apple and cherry wood so that you can even out their flavors, resulting in a taste that your tongue will never regret.


Knowing the correct time of smoking a jerky is quite essential. First, it gives you a fine estimate of the drying duration. Depending on the type of meat that you have, the process could last for 6 hours. But for tougher meats, it could go even longer. That’s why I emphasize the importance of being keen to the meat quality. It just saves your time and budget if you are well-versed with the ingredients in any jerky recipes.

Did you learn from this article? If you want to learn other jerky resources, then you can freely subscribe to my blog! Also, don’t forget to drop down your comments and suggestions in the box down below!

Last update on 2022-09-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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