Jerky on the WSM....


Kevin Taylor

TVWBB All-Star
Note From Moderator: This was the latest known link to Kevin Taylor's excellent Beef Jerky page that shows how to make jerky on the WSM - Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be working. For now, I will attach a screenshot of an old version of the page for you to enjoy.

Hi all!

This board was getting lonely so I thought I would use it! LOL

I just purchased 25 pounds of bottom round on sale for $1.49/lb. I usually use top round, but the prices have been much too high lately. The meat looked great with very little fat and minimal waste. I will cook up 5, 5 pound batches for the holidays.

I went to cook the first batch Friday and my tusty old electric Char-Broil died!! What to do???

Figured what better time to try the WSM for the jerky. I have never done it before on the WSM, so I thought I would give it a shot. I always wondered how the WSM would work for this venture. My concern was, how to keep the temps low and still have a 5-7 hour cooking time. The weather was in the mid-40's with a light breeze.

I used the Minion method with the following number of briqs......30 unlit in the ring, a single layer. Then I lit 10 in the chimney. I used an empty water pan....I still want to deflect the heat, hence leaving the water pan in.

After 35 minutes the temp was up to 177*F but climbing a bit quick. Turned all the vents, except the top, to the closed position. 35 minutes later and it had dropped to 145*F. Keep in mind, I was only paying half attention to the I would set the vents and then go away for a half hour.

Opened them 1/2 open and struggled to get the temps up. I finally added anpother 10 unlit briqs and opened the vents full. Got it to 170*F, closed the vents to about half and it stabilized.

The jerky was finished at the 6 hour mark. The temp had by then dropped to 104*F and there were no more coals left.

The jerky came out great and I will continue to use the WSM to make it! I think if I had paid a bit closer attention during the start, it would have gone much smoother.

Overall, I was very impressed with its ability to get a long cook, keep the temps below 180*F and use only 50 briqs total.

Here is the recipe I used for this batch. After the lengthy discussion on Tender Quick I tried using Kosher salt and only a Tablespoon of TQ. The results were very good so will continue using Kosher salt and only small amount of TQ...

Kevi's Jerky

5 pound(s) Jerky meat
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Kosher salt
1 tablespoon Tender Quick
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup A1 Steak Sauce
1 tablespoon Garlic powder
2 tablespoon(s) Yum Yum Steak Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Habanero powder

Combine all ingredients, add meat and add enough water to cover meat.

Marinate for 2-3 days.

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OK Stogie --

You know, don't you, that you can't just pop in here, drop off that kinda info and just walk away. You do know that, don't you?

You also know I am full of questions, so you know I'll ask them, don't you?

1. At what point, temp wise, did you put the jerky on? As it was passing through the 170s? The first time?

2. If you had of paid closer attention, what would you have done differently? Adjusted vents sooner? At different points?

3. Just what is "Yum Yum steak seasoning"? Did you get the Habanero powder at the local grocery store, or have to order it?

You're just going to have to get in more intimate touch with your inner self and give more! You know I can't read between the lines!

Thanks for any clarification you can add!

There was someone a few years ago that used a large coffee can and filled it unlit charcoal and put lit coals over the top. He found that he was able to get the low temps he was after and still get a long burn.
I also have the same questions as Sespe Pete.
Yo Sespe Pete!!

I can't be givin' away every little thing all at once!! LOL

Jim, thanks for the coffee can tip. I think if I would have paid closer attention the temps would have been very easy to control.


I string the meat on first while the unit is still cold, as it takes time to do. Also, a note about hanging the meat....the WSM grates are much closer together than the old ECB ones are. That narrower space makes a big difference! Can't have your meat too thick or the fit will be very tight.

Also, I have tried the skewering of the meat pieces but have had problems using that approach. I can fit 12 pieces of meat on that skewer, but, then you have to negotiate 12 spaces all from one leverage point...NOT easy! Then, you better hope that all the pieces dry with no curves or angles because you have to pull all 12 back through. I just find it much easier to use individual toothpicks.

OK, now, where were we???

Oh, yeah...I would have adjusted my vents much quicker. That would have eliminated that large swing I had from 177*F-145*F. I would bet I could have caught it on the way up and stabilized it immediately. Usually I am able to hang around and closely monitor the thing for the first hour, but not this time....damn conference calls are getting harder to sneak in and out!!

The Hab powder is what I use for heat. It's all my home grown habs that I smoke and dry and then grind up into dust. You can use whatever stuff you want. I used to use Cayenne and hot sauce (endorphin rush), but I now have so much of this hab powder I use it whenever possible. You'll just have to experiment a little to get your level of heat.

The Yum Yum Steak Seasoning is a knock-off of the Outback Steak House's rub. I just like the name Yum Yum better! The recipe is below. You can use any kind of beef rub you want...I have used Adolph's For the Grill and many others in the past.

OK, now that I am feeling myself inside can I quit?? LOL

Hope this answers the questions!

Yum-Yum Steak Seasoning

4 tablespoon(s) Salt
2 tablespoon(s) Paprika
1 tablespoon Black pepper, coarsely ground
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) Onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) Garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Coriander
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric

Mix together and use on any beef. Makes about 1/2 cup.
Thanks for all the recipes Stogie, I was planning on doing up a large batch of jerky this weekend to give to everyone at the office. I've made it 3 times before, but used a prepackaged beef jerkey cure, because I didn't have any tender quick. I finally got some, thanks to mail order, so I'll be giving your recipe a shot this weekend. The last times I have done it, the jerky was done in about 4 hours, but I haven't been able to stabilize the temperature, it fluctuated between 140 and 190 for pretty much the entire cook. I noticed you didn't use any water in the water pan, what was your reason for doing this, I would tend to think the water would help keep the temperature a bit lower, but then again I'm pretty new at this. I give you method a shot this weekend and see if I have any better luck with a more consistant temperature. Thanks again.


I want the water pan to act as a baffle of sorts. I fear having the fire directly underneath the matter how far away that meat is. I have seen what happens to jerky that is near the sides of the cooker.....toast.

Therefore, I made sure to hang all of my meat inside the diameter of the water pan. If you place any outside that "cylinder" it will burn up.

Hope this helps! I know you will like the end product!
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
There was someone a few years ago that used a large coffee can and filled it unlit charcoal and put lit coals over the top. He found that he was able to get the low temps he was after and still get a long burn.

Gentlemen, the coffee-can works great, but make sure its had it's label peeled off, Never use one with the plastic-coated label still on it. It will stink, smoke, the food will be unedible, & you'll be scrubbin the inside of your cooker for days.
[Trust me on this one /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif ]

BTW... In a thread or two on cleaning the WSM, ive mentioned that it fits nicely in most dishwashers, a section or so at a time, & comes out like new, but I never mentioned how I came to find this out... until now /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif .
Well I made my beef jerkey on Saturday using the method described by Kevin in this post. The temperatre outside was around 35 and I used the Minion method with about 40 unlit coals and 12 hot coals. Then assembled the cooker with the meat hanging on tooth picks. With all three vents open the temps climbed up to 160 then I closed all but one of the vents and the temperature hovered right around 160 for 3-4 hours, when they started to drop below 140, I just tossed in a handful of unlit charcoal and gave it a stir and they climbed back up to 160. It took 6 hours for the full rack of jerky to cook. It was by far the best jerky I have made so far, as far as the texture, but I think I used a bit too much tender quick in the recipe, because it was very salty tasting. Next time I think I'll cut the amount in half. But this method definitely works great for jerky, no fighting to keep the temperatures down. Thanks for the help Kevin.

Just made my second batch of beef jerkey. Meat was sliced 3/8 inch thick as I don't possess an electric slicer to do a thinner job. Ambient temperature was around 95 F with about 5 mph winds.

I poured about 1-2 qts of cool water into the pan. The meat was hot-smoked at 140-170 (at grill level) for about 10 hours total. It seems the thicker the meat, the longer the cook time.
In cleaning out the wsm this morning, I noticed lots of unburned charcoal setting at the periphery of the ring. Should the charcoal therefore be placed in a pile for a complete burn, rather than arranged 'flat'?
Hey tjoko

freeze your meat almost solid and then slice. You'll be amazed how thin you can get it with a sharp knife
I prefer it sliced about a quarter inch thick, rather than super thin. I also like it cut against the grain, rather than with, even if that gives you rather short, stubby pieces.
I'm going to use top round roast that is on sale for my first batch.

If I'm cutting it 1/4 thick wet, how thick will it be when dry?

The best jerky I've had was from a butcher in Fernie, BC. It was thick and slightly moist.

Thinking about trying this recipe from All although I'm not as excited about the sweet as I am the spicy:

Jerky Lover's Jerky - Sweet, Hot and Spicy!
* 1 pound lean beef

* 1 tablespoon onion powder
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 2/3 cup soy sauce
* 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
* 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
* 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
* 1/2 cup pineapple juice
* 3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
I'm on my 6th batch of Jerky and I've gone away from the sweet and adjusted for more spice. Here is my current recipe:

2.5 lbs Inside Round Steak

1/2 c Worcestershire
1/2 c Soya Sauce
1/2 c Water
1/4 c Brown Sugar
4 cloves minced garlic
2 shallots diced
1 Habanero with seed diced
3 tbsp Red Chilli Pepper Flakes
1 tbsp Cayene Pepper Powder
1 tbsp Ancho Chilli Powder
1 tbsp Onion Powder
1 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tbsp Ground Black Pepper

I combine the above in a small sauce pan and simmer for 20 minutes to let flavours combine and bring some of the heat out of the peppers. Let completely cool before use.

Cut into 1/4" thick slices, trim all fat & connective tissue, and marinade in plastic re-seal able bag for 2 days (refrigerated). I move the meat around 4 times or so for even marinading.

Lay meat on wracks 45 min prior to putting in WSM.

Set up smoker for 150 - 160 degree smoke with 3 fist sized Hickory wood chunks. Approx 4 - 6 hr cure.
That sounds great, I've been dying to try making jerky on the WSM, and I believe I have all the ingredients! Thank you!
I really like the jerkey seasonings I get from Hi Mountain Seasonings - all mixed in with sodium nitrite for colour and preservation.
This batch turned out pretty good. Next batch I'm going to go with 1/2" x 1/2" pieces - dry season for 2 hours prior marinade - and take the water out of the recipe.

I did this batch for 3 hours at about 155 and then moved them to the oven to finish because I had ribs to cook for dinner.

I've taken a look at the packaged seasonings but I don't want sodium nitrite in my food. I realize it cures the meat but I prefer to go without it and just keep my jerky sealed in the fridge for the 10 days that it lasts.