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I just made a batch of jerky last weekend. I used the packet that came with the dehydrator. Marinade for 4 hours, dehydrate at 160 for 14 hours (12 for smaller peices) It turned out excellent! (I did not use the beef jerky gun)

My question is, since I only have 2 more packets left and I want to try my own flavors, what do I need to use to create a cure?

I'd like to stay away from salt if possible or at least reduce the salt content (possibly sea salt?).

What exactly is the cure doing?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The salt in the cure inhibits bacterial growth (particularly if the salt is one made for curing, and contains nitrates). So you should be warned that you are trading a few blood pressure points for enhanced risk of foodborne illness. Unfortunately, I think your options are rather limited -- either to keep the salt as-is, or forgo jerky in your diet.

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never!! So what salt should I be using? –  DustinDavis Mar 2 '11 at 23:46
this is really a separate question... You do need nitrites (a.k.a. "pink salt", "saltpeter", etc.) in your mix to prevent botulism –  Ray Mar 3 '11 at 1:49
What Ray said.. –  Sean Hart Mar 3 '11 at 2:40

While the salt does inhibit bacterial growth, it is possible to safely make jerky in a dehydrator without it if you are careful about the temperature, moisture, and dehydrating time. There is more information on this thread.

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