A good, smokey-flavored jerky is always a favorite of those who eat jerky. And while this flavor can be infused by using a ‘smoke flavored’ ingredient in the marinade, another way to achieve this woodsy taste is to smoke the jerky outdoors over wood chips rather than using a dehydrator indoors.
While this outdoor process will most likely require more attention rather than merely setting a dehydrator and coming back later, for those willing to take the time, the results can be simply delicious.
The flavor will depend on both the marinade and the type of wood chips used, i.e., hickory, pecan, oak, mesquite, etc. (Visit this link to read more about wood chips, as all woods are not safe . . . some are toxic.)
When smoking jerky over charcoal and wood chips, the preparation method is basically the same – lean meat, trimmed of fat, marinated – with the exception of adding in a ‘smoke flavor’ to the marinade.
Before purchasing any smoker for making jerky, consider the frequency of making jerky, the amount of jerky to be made each time, and the possible use of the smoker to smoke (or BBQ) other foods like:
- Turkey, Chicken
The amount of jerky to be smoked will depend on the size and type of smoker required. Some use home-built wooden smokers that look like small buildings* – while others use purchased ones. These manufactured smokers can range in size from large to small; charcoal to propane, fancy to plain.
* It should be noted that if using a free-standing smokehouse-type building, due diligence should be performed on how to effectively deliver the smoke to the meat as well as how to maintain a constant temperature for drying.
Most home BBQs can be adapted to smoke jerky by using the offset method or if you already have a smoker like the Big Green Egg, you’re ready to go. The following link is to an alternate smoker similar to BGE (lower price) – Char-Griller 06620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker, Red.