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Dry Rub – Not Just for BBQ

In past we’ve taken a look at the most common ways to ‘flavor’ your jerky including wet marinating (strips) and adding seasonings to ground meat for stick or extruded jerky. However, there is another way to season your jerky meat and that is by using a dry rub.  This would only apply to portions of meat that are to be sliced or have already been sliced.

A dry rub cure typically consists of using the dry ingredients sprinkled on to the meat – all sides, and then rubbing it in . . .   wearing a glove will help keep your hands clean.  The dry ingredients are then allowed time to meld with the meat.

Like marinating, once the dry rub has been applied, seal the meat in an air tight container or zip-bag and allow to cure for a minimum of one (1) hour. When you are ready to begin the drying process, rinse the meat under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.  The meat is now ready to be dried either in the oven or using a dehydrator following  manufacturer’s directions.

Most of the recipes we’ve seen for a dry rub are very simple.   One that would be easy to prepare at home is below.

Salt Jerky

  • 2 tablespoons Morton Tender Quick mix OR Morton Sugar Cure mix
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Note: It is a good idea to mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl before applying to the meat.  Doing so ensures that they are well mixed and you won’t have any ‘hot spots’. 

Salt Cures:  What’s the Difference?

Below are three (3) of the top cures available on Amazon.  We’ve included a brief look at the differences and uses.  For more information, please visit the link and see what others are saying.

Morton Tender Quick – 4+ Stars  . . .   A salt product with sodium nitrate  (.05%) and sodium nitrite (.05%)  for preservatives.    For a wet marinade, per Amazon question/answer – 1 cup per 5 lbs. of meat.



Morton Sugar Cure – 4 Stars . . . This mix is formulated for dry or sweet pickle curing of meat, poultry, game, salmon, shad, and sablefish. It is primarily used for dry curing hams and bacon.   If you plan on making  jerky using this product, you may want to read some of the questions on the Smoking Forum.



Hoosier Hill Farm Prague Pink Curing Salt – 5 Stars   . . .  Hoosier Hill Curing Salt (1 lb.) contains enough salt to cure 100 lbs. of meat and is sometimes referred to as the ‘tinted cure’. According to questions asked on Amazon, you would use 1 teaspoon of product for 5 lbs. of meat.  Use of this product will give the meat a pinkish tint.



Next post we’re taking a look at some different ways to flavor your jerky using common OTS (off-the-shelf) seasonings.











Not All Woods Are Safe for Smoking

The new year is here and we’re looking for a way to save a few dollars. One way is to make your homemade jerky using the ‘smoke’ method using wood from a tree you’ve cut down or gathered from the woods. Great idea, right? Not necessarily.  Did you know that not all woods are safe to use for smoking? Some of them contain poisonous toxins or give off pitch.






We’re all familiar with the basic BBQ and smoking woods:

  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Mesquite

These woods all impart a great flavor and are – in most cases – readily available to gather yourself or purchase from a retailer. If you are gathering from the woods, watch for rotten, moldy wood or wood that has a fungus on it. You don’t want to use wood with those issues as they could possibly transfer to the meat.

Re taste: I’ve read where some people even remove the bark from the wood they use when BBQ-ing or smoking in order to get a milder flavor.


Fruit Trees

Any fruit tree – and we’re going to include pecan trees here – can be used for smoking. These trees would include:

  • Pecan
  • Pear
  • Apple
  • Peach
  • Cherry, etc.

So if you are chopping down a fruit tree, save the wood – it is great for smoking.   Don’t forget to store it in a dry place off the ground.




Dangerous Woods

One might ask, ‘Why?” use these  when there are so many other woods available that we know are safe.   Maybe, like us, you didn’t know they were dangerous.

The trees that you want to stay away from when smoking are:

  • Pine
  • Spruce
  • Fir
  • Black Walnut

While we’ve read that some of these woods are used in certain European countries for smoking (spruce and fir),  it is much better to stay safe and use the preferred woods listed above.

Most know that pine – and pine cones – contain resin resulting in too much pitch/black smoke. Know I wouldn’t want to eat that. But more dangerous than that is using the wood of the black walnut tree. We’ve placed a quote below taken from the ‘Smoking Forum’ – scary stuff.

The black walnut tree contains a poisonous toxin known as juglone. The tree naturally uses this toxin to compete against other nearby trees or plants for needed soil, water and sunlight. However, it can harm horses and dogs and may even kill them. Poisoning can occur when black walnut wood shavings are included in the bedding of these animals. For humans, black walnut wood and sawdust is sometimes known to cause allergies and asthma. Anyone handling and working with this wood should always use gloves and a dust mask. [1]

We discovered this when we had a black walnut tree die and thought we’d found an endless supply of BBQ wood. Thankfully, we decided to check on it before using. Glad we looked it up. Could have been a real problem. To that end, if in doubt about any wood  – don’t use it.

If you are looking for wood chips for smoking (or BBQ) check out the list of wood chips – specialty and traditional here:   Amazon: Best wood chips for smoking jerky.   Great variety & very affordable!






Rodeo Nuts & Jerky . . . Why Not??

rodeonuts_2015There’s always lots of parties to attend this time of year; many of which you may be asked to bring a ‘dish’. Why not bring something different this year?  A platter of assorted snacks with some of your own homemade jerky added in.  And, just to make that tray an even bigger hit, fill the center with a big bowl of homemade cinnamon-glazed nuts.


These nuts – sometimes referred to as ‘Rodeo Nuts’ – have a crunchy glaze of vanilla flavored cinnamon sugar.  They are great for snacking, but are equally delicious for chopping and adding to your favorite granola, topping home-baked cinnamon rolls, adding to waffles, sprinkling on  ice cream, using as a cake decoration and just about any thing else you can think of.


Best part, they are pretty simple to make. All you need is a non-stick skillet, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and  nuts.   Just about any nut will work but pecans, walnuts are best.  You can use cashews,  however,  since they have a high oil content and tend to break apart when stirring, limit the quantity of them to less than half the total amount of nuts used.  Also, this recipe is not recommended to double.


Cinnamon-Glazed Nuts


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups mixed nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews)
  • 5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups mixed nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews)


  1. In a small bowl mix the water, sugar and vanilla until well blended
  2. Stir in the cinnamon making sure there are no lumps and it is totally incorporated into the mixture
  3. Pour this mixture into a large, non-stick skillet cooking over medium-low heat stirring occasionally
  4. When the syrup begins to form threads, add in the nuts and gently turn the nuts until they are evenly coated
  5. Continue to gently turn and stir until the syrup evaporates and the sugar crystallized on the nuts
  6. Remove from heat and spread g
  7. In a small bowl mix the water, sugar and vanilla until well blended
  8. Stir in the cinnamon making sure there are no lumps and it is totally incorporated into the mixture
  9. Pour this mixture lazed nuts on was paper to cool
  10. Once cool, store in an airtight container

If you want to give a basket of jerky, or jerky making products like packets of seasoning, knives, etc., this link will show you how to wrap a professional looking cellophane gift basket.