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Old 07-19-2007, 09:01 AM   #1
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Beef Jerky On A Box Fan

I made this jerky the other day. It was the first time I have ever made jerky. I have to say that the novelty of using a box fax and filters was what really got me to try it.

I am HOOKED! This stuff tastes so good and was so easy to make. Now I was to try experimenting with other jerky marinades. Most of the ones I have seen have been very similar so I am going to try to come up with something unique.

I do have a question about safety though. Everything I have ever learned has said meat can't be unrefrigerated for that long. This jerky is never cooked, only dried, which I know preserves it, but it takes many hours to dry and the whole time it is in the danger zone. Is this a dangerous recipe? I am specifically looking for answers from people who think it is a bad idea to leave meat on the counter overnight to thaw or people who say that their grandmother did this for 1,000 years and she is still alive. While I respect your opinions, there are two schools of thought on meat being left out. I am in the camp that would never let is sit out on the counter to thaw so those are the people I am hoping will answer.

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Old 07-19-2007, 09:21 AM   #2
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Can't answer your question, sorry. Not in that camp.

HOWEVER, I did just buy a box fan yesterday specifically
to make some jerky. Have a great marinade in mind, too!
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:41 AM   #3
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Let me know how yours turns out GrillingFool.

OK I should probably amend what I said. ALL people are welcome to answer my question, but let me know which camp you are in (leave meat out overnight or don't leave meat out overnight).
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:48 AM   #4
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GB, even if you use a dehydrator, the meat is unrefrigerated in a much warmer environment than your kitchen. That's never a problem. Of course, by that time, the meat's been sitting in a very salty environment (worcestershire and soy) for a while.
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:52 AM   #5
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Thanks Andy! that is what I was looking for. With the dehydrators, I did not know if any heat was involved, but I didn't even think of the salt.
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:56 AM   #6
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I don't leave my frozen meat out over night - but I Do take it out in the morning - on counter, so I can watch the progress, when almost thawed, I put in fridge. Have always done this ! I'm still kickin' fine !
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:57 AM   #7
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I had an inexpensive dehydrator that did not have heat settings, just 'on' and 'off'. According to the maker, it ran at a temp of 130 F. I gave it away because that's too hot to dry herbs properly (you need about 110 F) and that's what I wanted it for. That's actually at the worst end of the danger zone and is considered safe. Using box fans in a 70-75 F kitchen should be even safer.
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:57 AM   #8
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Well, the USDA has weighed in on the controversy, and they say
jerky should be heated to 160 or so to kill off the nasties.
Using a cure lessens the dangers...

Jerky and Food Safety

That said, I tend to still be in the "let it sit out" camp, at least for chunks
of meat. Their surfaces, where the nasties live, will be well cooked.
For ground meats, chicken and fish, I tend to thaw in the fridge or in
cold water.
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:07 AM   #9
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Well, considering this is Food Network, AND it’s Alton Brown (known for his very technical and “chemically correct” approach), I would imagine they have done the research and believe this safe. Safe enough to reveal to a suite happy society that loves to sue anyone at the drop of the hat. I’d imagine if there was even the slightest hint of danger and liability, this wouldn’t be done.

What gets me though, is how is it done so quickly? I’ve get a dehydrator that runs at 140 - 150 degrees for 8-12 hours to make jerky. How is this meat done in the same amount of time at room temperature? Very interesting.

One of the things the dehydrator warns about is fat in the meat. Since you aren’t cooking the meat, you have to avoid using a fatty meat as much as possible (germs in the fat). A little fat (very little and thin – not a blob) is ok in the dehydrator as it will render even at those low temps. When the jerky comes out, the fat (if any) is dried out and translucent (and easily picked off). But what happens to fat in the box fan recipe since the meat stays at room temperature?

Before I got my dehydrator, I made beef jerky in the oven. You follow the recipe as described for preparing the meat. Then, move one rack of your oven to its highest setting, and the other rack to the lowest. Using toothpicks, hang the meat from the upper rack (run a toothpick through the meat, then turn the tooth pick so that it rests on two grates of the rack and the meat hangs down). Put cookie sheets on the lowest rack to catch the drippings. Set the oven to warm (the lowest setting), and walk away. In 6-8 hours, maybe a little longer depending on the thickness and cut. You have jerky. Very cool!
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:26 AM   #10
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keltin, I actually let this dry for closer to 20 hours. I was amazed at how well it actually dried the meat.

trusting Alton, Good Eats, and The Food Network just because they said it is safe is not a good practice. Even on Altons show he has done things that he has said others feel is dangerous (check out the carpaccio ,sp? recipe).
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