I need to figure out if anyone knows for sure how to use Morton's Tender Quick in ground meat jerky. I've spent a couple days trying to find a definitive answer. I don't want to risk getting sick from bacteria, and I don't want to overdo it on salt and nitrites and nitrates.
Morton's Tender Quick is salt, sugar, and nitrite and nitrate. It's a relatively weak, diluted cure. The company's web site is no help on how to use it to cure ground meat.
In theory, in order to kill e-coli and other nasties, you use nitrite and nitrate and it works its way through the ground meat by osmosis or some other magic. The butcher shops use prague #1 or prague #2 which are nitrite/nitrates in higher concentrations than Mortons to make dry cured sausages.
I've been making ground deer jerky for a year. I started using prepackaged spices that have the spice packet and the "cure" packet. I moved on to using recipes for jerky, most of which did not include a cure, only salt. I am sure lots of people make jerky without a cure other than salt, but I am worried about my butcher having some e-coli issues when he grinds my deer. Just seems inevitable.
Some recipes called for a teaspoon of cure and two teaspoons of salt per pound. Using my typically foggy logic, I figured that if I used three teaspoons of Morton's TQ per pound I'd end up in about the same spot.... that's what I've been doing, I haven't gotten sick, but I am thinking that I might be over nitriting myself or under treating the meat....
So, does anyone know how to properly use the Tender Quick for ground meat jerky recipes?
Using a dehydrator or other heat source that quickly reaches 160 would make this discussion irrelevant, but my dehydrator gets to only 150 and it takes about 6 hours to get to that temperature.