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Carolina Reaper dried beef, stage 1, The Cure

Time for some dried beef.

-Eye of round trimmed of fat/fatcap

-Black pepper
-Granulated garlic
-Onion powder
-Peppers and/or spices of you choosing
-Cure (I prefer Mortons Tender Quick. For some reason Morton's TQ make the best dried beef.)


-Knife and cutting board
-Grinder if using whole spices/peppers they will need ground in to powder
-Vacuum bag or HD zip top bag large enough to hold the meat
-Smoker or grill
-Means of producing smoke (Amazing pellet tray works a treat)
-Rubber gloves especially if using hot/super hot peppers

1. Remove meat from package, pat dry and trim of all fat. Can be cured whole or further cut down this is your choice. If you cut the meat into smaller piece each piece of meat is treated separately so that you do not add too much or not enough cure.

2. Weight the meat and then measure out 1 tablespoon of Morton's Tender Quick per pound of meat. If you have a 1 pound 4 ounce piece of meat you will ne 1 tbls + 1 tsp of Tender Quick. No more no less. Place the measured out TQ onto a clean plate or coffee filter.

3. If you are using dried spices like hot peppers, black pepper, ginger, allspice etc. choose the quantity of each spice you like and put it in a grinder and grind into a powder. You can also omit peppers or spices during the curing as it will also get a round of spices prior to smoking.

4. Stir together the Morton Tender Quick and whatever spices you chose to make a rub.

5. Prepare the plastic bag by writing the weight, date and product info on it with sharpie. Fold the top down and set aside

6. Next rub the meat with the entire rib. Some of the rub will not stick that's okay. Place the meat in the bag scrape up and rub that did not stick and put it in the bag with the meat squeeze out 90% of the air and seal it up. The salt will soon start to leach out some of the water in the meat this will make a brine.

7. Take note of the thickest part of the meat then place the bagged up meat onto a plate and put into a 37 to 42 degree refrigerator (this is the range you fridge should be running) on a low shelf in the back. You will flip the meat every couple of days to redistribute the cure containing liquid over the meat.

Note: Calculating cure duration.

Cure will penetrate meats refrigerated between 37/42 degree's at a rate of about 1/4" per day. So a 1" thick piece of meat will take a minimum of 4 days. But since it is east to undercure we always add in 2 to 4 days of safety factor. It is also impossible (within reason) to over cure. The meat I am curing is 2-1/2" thick. It will take 10 day + 2 to 4 days safety factor so I'll say 2 weeks to make it easy to remember. Also it is not uncommon for meats to be in the cure for 21, 28 or 35 days. It all depends on thickness.

8. After the proper duration has elapsed remove the meat form the bag and rinse off with lots of fresh cold water.

9. If you like exceptionally salty dried beef move tot he next step if you want it slightly less salty soake the meat in a pot of fresh cold water for 1 hour changing the water at the 30 minute mark. I found a 1 hour soak is perfect for my taste.

10. Pat the meat dry with clean paper towels and now dust with onion powder, granulated garlic and black pepper.

11. Place on a wire rack and put bak in fridge for 24 to 48 hours uncovered to dry out a bit.

12. After 24 to 48 hours bring meat out of fridge and set on the counter of about an hour to get it closer to room temp. While this is happening set up the smoker to 120 degrees.

13. PLace the meat in the smoker on a clean rack and set the time for 1 hour.

14. After one hour raise the temp of the smoke to 130 degrees and star the smoke. A word on smoke. You want a thin blue wisp of smoke not billowing plooms. More is not better and will make the meat taste like an ashtray smells. Amazing pellet trays work really well at producing the right amount of smoke for a long duration. A 1/2 pound of pellets will smoke for up to 12 hours. Smoke can be successfully applied for 5 to 7 hours after that there really is no benefit or additional flavor. After 7 hours its got all the smoke flavor your gonna get. If you find its not strong enough smoke flavor next time use a stronger flavoerd wood like mesquite. I prefer the mild flavor of apple

15. Every hour raise the temp 10 degrees until you hit 180 on the smoker and the meat reaches an internal temp of 158 degrees.

16. After the meat reaches 158 degrees pull from the smoker and let rest at room temperature for a couple hours to bloom.

Meat is ready to be eaten but I prefer to add two additional steps to further intensify the flavor and texture.

16a. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and place back in the fridge for a day or two to let the flavors distribute.

16.b After a few days unwrap the meat and let place it on a wire rack in the fridge uncovered a few more days to help dry it out a bit more.

Since it properly cured you can vac pac and freeze for up to a year or keep tightly wrapped in the fridge for a month or so.

Slice paper thin and enjoy.

So this seems like an long arduous process but it really is isn't. Total time hands on might be 30 to 45 minutes. Its mostly waiting for the meat to be ready for the next step.


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Business Member
Interesting!  I'm not familiar with dried beef.  How's it different from beef jerky?
ps- very familiar with S.O.S  ;)
There are 2 variants of S.O.S in our household. Dad was retired Army. 
1. Ground beef condensed milk a few spices and served over toast for dinner. Military staple to feed lots of people cheap and easy . Also one of my favorite meales
2. Chipped dried beef sliced paper thin then chefanaud and fried in a few tbls of butter then add in a few tbls of flour and cook until light brown. Add in milk to make a thick creamy gravy to be served over homemade buscuits or toast as a breakfast dish. Also garnish with heaps of black pepper and hot sauce.
Good dried beef is $20+ per pound. No military would use it due to cost whereas ground meat is much more cost effective 
Chipped dried beef can also be used for horderves. 1 paper thin slice of dried beef smeared with cream cheese and wrapped around a dill pickle spear and skewer with a toothpick  for example. As great as a lunch meat.
Jerky is quick marinate 24 to 48 hour and the dehydrated unitl tough and chewy.
Dried beef is cured then soaked in water to leech out some extra salt. It is then air dried (under refrigeration) for a couple of days followed by slow smoking for 10/12 hours until it reaches 165 degrees then it is air dried for a few more days to let it bloom and the flavors meld and smoke flavor mellow. 
I like this. I want to try and I have a crappy vac sealer, so extra air in the bag... no problemo!

My navy dad made us S.O.S quite a bit too, was always canned beef or venison though. Monitoring this thread!
14 or so days later stage 2:

Remove pack from fridge cut packets open and rinse the meats off under cold running water to get off any remaining spices and cure.

Now onto soak (this step can be eliminated if you prefer things very salty). Fill a pot with clean cold water drop in the freshly rinses meats and let them dwell for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes if you like stuff salty move to drying and spicing if you prefer less salty dump the water and soak for another 30 minutes in clean cold water. I soak for and hour (and I like salty stuff)

Once soaked in water dry with clean paper towels the dust with onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Quantities are u to you. Use as little or a as much as you prefer. This is the benefit of making you own you make I to your taste not what someone else thinks you'll like.

Place on a wire rack with a catch pan underneath and put back in the fridge uncovered for 12 to 36 hours. To let the surface and meat dry in prep for smoking.