How Long To Smoke Jerky At 160?

Making jerky the right way is an art, but with the necessary tips and tools, anyone can take their beef or other protein of choice from a plain cut to mouthwatering marinade and cook it for optimal flavor. If you are beginner who has recently been introduced to smoking jerky at a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or 71 degrees Celsius and have no idea where nor how long to begin – this blog post will give you all the information that you need!

Here we get into detail on why it’s important to watch your temperate while making juicy, flavorful jerky as well as discussing helpful guidelines when figuring out exactly how long per pound your particular smoking project should last.

What Is Jerky?

Jerky is a popular type of food that has been around for centuries. It is a form of dried meat that has been seasoned and cured to create a flavorful and long-lasting snack. The process of making jerky involves marinating thin slices of meat in a mixture of spices, salt, and other flavorings. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and enhances the taste.

After marinating, the meat is then dried either by air drying or using a dehydrator. The drying process removes the moisture from the meat, which helps to preserve it and extend its shelf life. Once dried, jerky becomes a convenient and portable snack that is perfect for on-the-go consumption.

The origin of jerky can be traced back to ancient civilizations who needed to find ways to preserve meat for longer periods. By drying the meat, they were able to prevent spoilage and have access to protein-rich food even during times of scarcity. Today, jerky is enjoyed all over the world and is available in various flavors and types of meat.

While beef is the most common type of meat used to make jerky, other meats such as turkey, chicken, pork, and even fish can also be used. The rich flavor and long shelf life of jerky make it a convenient and delicious option for hikers, campers, and anyone on the go. While jerky is widely enjoyed as a snack, it also serves as a valuable source of sustenance and nutrition in many cultures.

What Are The Benefits Of Smoking Jerky At 160

Smoking jerky at a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit offers a range of benefits that enhance the overall flavor and texture of the meat. 

One of the key advantages of smoking jerky at this specific temperature is the preservation of moisture. By allowing the meat to slowly cook at a lower temperature, it prevents excessive drying out, resulting in a tender and juicy finished product. This is especially important when making jerky, as the meat is typically lean and can easily become dry and tough if not properly smoked.

Another benefit of smoking jerky at 160 degrees is the development of a rich and smoky flavor. The low temperature allows for a longer smoking time, allowing the wood chips or pellets to impart their unique flavors into the meat. This results in a more pronounced smoky taste, which is highly desired when it comes to jerky.

Additionally, smoking jerky at 160 degrees helps to kill any potential bacteria or pathogens that may be present in the meat. The prolonged exposure to heat ensures that the jerky is safe to consume, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. It is important to note that proper food safety practices should always be followed when preparing and smoking jerky.

Furthermore, smoking jerky at a lower temperature allows for better control over the cooking process. The longer smoking time at 160 degrees allows for more even heat distribution, ensuring that each piece of jerky is cooked consistently. This results in a uniform texture and flavor throughout the batch.

Choosing Best Types Of Meat For Jerky

When it comes to making jerky, choosing the best types of meat is crucial in order to achieve a delicious and high-quality end product. There are several factors to consider when selecting the meat for jerky. 

First and foremost, it is important to choose lean cuts of meat with minimal fat content. Fat can spoil and shorten the shelf life of jerky, so opting for lean cuts will ensure a longer-lasting product. Additionally, lean cuts of meat are easier to slice thinly, which is essential for the drying process. 

Another important factor to consider when choosing meat for jerky is the flavor and texture. While beef is the most commonly used meat for jerky, there are other options available that can provide unique and delicious flavors. For example, venison can add a gamey and savory taste to jerky, while turkey can provide a lighter and milder flavor. It is important to consider personal preferences and experiment with different types of meat to find the best flavor for your jerky.

Furthermore, it is crucial to choose meats that are free from any additives or preservatives. Opting for organic or grass-fed meats ensures that the jerky is made from high-quality and natural ingredients. This not only enhances the taste of the jerky but also provides a healthier option for consumers.

Factors Influencing The Cooking Time Of Jerky

When smoking jerky, it is essential to keep a close eye on the temperature and cook time in order to achieve the desired texture and flavor. Depending on the type of meat used, as well as the thickness of the slices, cooking times may vary significantly. 

The first factor that should be considered when determining cook time for jerky is the type of meat used. Meats with higher fat content, such as beef, generally take longer to cook than leaner cuts of meat, such as chicken or turkey. 

Additionally, the thickness of the slices also affects the cooking time. Thinner slices will require a shorter cook time and vice versa for thicker slices. It is important to ensure that each piece is cut evenly for even cooking.

Lastly, the type of smoker used also impacts the cook time. Some smokers are designed to retain heat better than others, resulting in a faster or slower cook time. It is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions and adjust cook times accordingly.

What Type Of Smoker Should You Use?

When it comes to smoking meat, choosing the right type of smoker is crucial. There are several options available on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. So, what type of smoker should you use? The answer depends on your personal preferences, budget, and level of experience.

One popular option is the charcoal smoker. This type of smoker uses charcoal as its fuel source, providing a distinct smoky flavor to the meat. Charcoal smokers are known for their versatility and ability to maintain a consistent temperature. They are also relatively affordable and easy to use, making them a great choice for beginners. However, they require frequent monitoring and adjustment of the charcoal to maintain the desired temperature.

Another option is the electric smoker. These smokers are convenient and easy to use, as they only require an electrical outlet for operation. They provide a consistent and controlled temperature, eliminating the need for constant monitoring. Electric smokers are also known for their efficiency and ability to maintain a steady temperature over long periods of time. However, they may not provide the same level of smoky flavor as charcoal smokers.

For those looking for a more traditional smoking experience, a wood smoker may be the best choice. Wood smokers use hardwood chips or chunks as their fuel source, resulting in a rich and authentic smoky flavor. They require more skill and attention to maintain the temperature and smoke levels, but the end result is often worth it. Wood smokers are popular among experienced smokers and barbecue enthusiasts who appreciate the art of smoking meat.

How Long To Smoke Jerky At 160

The ideal smoking time for jerky at 160 degrees is between 4 and 8 hours. For a chewy texture, smoke the jerky for 4-6 hours and for a crispy texture, 8 hours should do the trick. This ensures that the jerky is thoroughly cooked, killing any potential bacteria or pathogens while imparting a rich smoky flavor. It is important to check the internal temperature of the jerky regularly with a food thermometer to ensure it has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Additionally, it is important to ensure that the smoker remains at a steady temperature throughout the smoking process, as fluctuations in heat can cause the jerky to cook unevenly. Once cooked, the jerky should be removed from the smoker and allowed to cool in room temperature before serving or storing.

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How To Tell If Smoked Jerky Is Done?

When it comes to making smoked jerky, it’s important to know how to determine if it is done or not. Smoked jerky is a popular snack that requires a careful balance of flavors and textures. It can be quite challenging to achieve the perfect level of doneness, as you don’t want it to be undercooked and unsafe to eat, but you also don’t want it to be overcooked and tough. 

The best way to determine if smoked jerky is done is by using a food thermometer. The internal temperature of the jerky should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit in order for it to be cooked through and safe to consume. 

One of the next signs to look for when determining if smoked jerky is done is the appearance. The color of the jerky should be a deep, rich brown. If it appears too dark or blackened, it may be overcooked. On the other hand, if it appears pale or pinkish, it may not be cooked enough. The ideal color for smoked jerky is a consistent brown throughout.

Another important aspect to consider when checking if smoked jerky is done is the texture. You want the jerky to be firm and dry, but still somewhat pliable. It should not feel overly soft or chewy, as this may indicate that it is undercooked. To test the texture, you can try bending a piece of jerky. If it snaps easily and breaks apart, it is likely done. If it bends without breaking or feels too rubbery, it may need more time in the smoker.

Lastly, the taste of the smoked jerky can also help determine if it is done. It should have a strong, smoky flavor that is balanced with the seasoning and spices used in the marinade. The meat should be flavorful and not bland or overly salty. If the taste is off or lacks depth, it may need more time in the smoker to develop its flavors.v

Tips For Smoking Jerky 

Making smoked jerky at home is a great way to enjoy the flavor and texture of real, homemade jerky. To ensure that your jerky comes out perfectly cooked and flavorful, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Use high-quality meat – Start with fresh, high-quality meat for the best results. This will ensure that your jerky is tender and flavorful.
  2. Slice the meat evenly – Make sure to slice the meat into even strips, as this will ensure even cooking throughout.
  3. Marinate overnight – Allow the jerky to marinate overnight for optimal flavor and texture.
  4. Watch the temperature – Monitor the temperature of your smoker closely to make sure it stays within the desired range.
  5. Check for doneness – Use a food thermometer to checked for doneness and ensure that the jerky has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before removing it from the smoker.
  6. Allow to cool – Once cooked, allow your smoked jerky to cool in room temperature before serving or storing.

Can You Smoke Jerky Too Long?

Yes, you can smoke jerky too long. Smoking jerky at too high of a temperature or for too long can result in an overly dry and bitter, burnt flavor. Additionally, smoking jerky for too long can also cause it to become unsafe to consume due to the presence of harmful toxins that are released when meat is cooked at extremely high temperatures.

To avoid this, it is important to make sure that the temperature of the smoker remains consistent and within the recommended rangeor else you risk ruining your batch of jerky. As with any cooking technique, moderation and patience are vital to achieve excellent results.

Common Mistakes And Troubleshooting Problems When Smoking Jerky

When it comes to smoking jerky, there are a few common mistakes that can easily be made. 

One of the most common mistakes is not properly marinating the meat before smoking. Marinating is essential for adding flavor and tenderizing the meat. It is important to choose a marinade that complements the flavors of the meat and allows it to soak for an adequate amount of time. Marinating overnight will ensure that your jerky is flavorful and succulent.

Another common mistake is not properly drying the meat before smoking. Excess moisture can prevent the jerky from developing a nice smoky flavor and can also lead to spoilage. It is important to pat the meat dry with paper towels before placing it in the smoker.

One common problem is uneven cooking. This can occur if the jerky slices are not of uniform thickness or if they are not arranged evenly on the smoker racks. To fix this issue, it is important to ensure that the slices are all of similar thickness and to distribute them evenly on the racks. 

Another troubleshooting problem is a lack of smoky flavor. This can happen if the smoker temperature is too low or if the wood chips are not producing enough smoke. To fix this issue, it is important to maintain a consistent smoker temperature and to add more wood chips as needed to ensure a steady supply of smoke.

Finally is not allowing the jerky to cool before storing. It is important to allow the jerky to cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes after removing it from the smoker. This will help preserve its flavor and texture. 

What To Serve With Smoked Jerky?

When it comes to serving smoked jerky, there are several delicious options that pair well with this savory snack. Whether you’re enjoying it as a quick and easy snack or incorporating it into a meal, choosing the right accompaniments can enhance the flavors and create a satisfying eating experience. 

One classic choice is to serve smoked jerky with a variety of cheeses. The rich and creamy flavors of cheeses such as cheddar, gouda, or pepper jack can complement the smoky and salty taste of the jerky. Another option is to pair smoked jerky with a selection of nuts. The crunchiness and natural flavors of almonds, pistachios, or cashews provide a great contrast to the chewy texture of the jerky.

Additionally, you can serve smoked jerky with a side of pickles or olives. These tangy and briny flavors can help cut through the richness of the jerky and add a refreshing element to each bite.

Lastly, if you’re looking to make a meal out of smoked jerky, consider serving it with some hearty carbohydrates such as bread or crackers. This can help balance out the protein-rich jerky and make it more filling. Overall, there are numerous options for serving smoked jerky, so feel free to get creative and experiment with different combinations to find your favorite pairing.

Storing And Preserving Smoked Jerky

Smoked jerky is an ideal snack to enjoy right away or store for later. If you plan on preserving your jerky for future eating, it is important to follow these storage guidelines:

  1. Cool the jerky – Allow the smoked jerky to cool in room temperature before storing. This will ensure that the flavor and texture of the meat are preserved.
  2. Store in an airtight container – Place the jerky in an airtight container or plastic bag in order to keep out any oxidation and moisture.
  3. Refrigerate – It is best to store smoked jerky in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. For longer storage, it can be placed in the freezer for up to six months.
  4. Reheat – If desired, smoked jerky can be reheated in the oven at a low temperature to enhance the flavor and texture before serving.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your smoked jerky stays fresh and delicious for longer. Enjoy!

FAQ About Smoking Jerky

How much smoke does jerky need?

The amount of smoke needed for jerky varies depending on the type of wood being used, the level of smokiness desired, and the size and thickness of the meat. Generally speaking, lighter flavored woods such as apple or cherry are best for jerky. These woods produce a milder flavor that won’t overpower the taste of the meat. When smoking thicker cuts, it is important to use more wood in order to ensure that the jerky is properly flavored.

Can I smoke jerky without a smoker?

Yes, you can smoke jerky without a smoker. You can achieve this by using an oven and some wood chips or pellets. To do this, preheat your oven to 200-225°F, line a baking sheet with foil, and lay the jerky slices on top. Place a few handfuls of wood chips or pellets in an oven-safe dish on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 3-4 hours until the jerky is dried out and lightly browned.

How do you know if jerky is still good?

The best way to tell if jerky is still good is by its smell and texture. If the jerky has a strong, rancid odor or feels slimy to the touch, it has gone bad and should be thrown away. Additionally, you can look for signs of mold or discoloration on the surface of the jerky as an indication that it is no longer fit to eat. If the jerky smells and looks fine, it is still safe to consume.

What happens if you smoke jerky too hot?

Smoking jerky at too high of a temperature can cause the meat to dry out and become tough. Additionally, it can cause the fat in the meat to render out resulting in an unpleasant flavor. To avoid this issue, it is important to maintain a consistent smoker temperature throughout the entire smoking process. 

Do you need salt for jerky?

Yes, salt is essential for making jerky. Salt helps to draw out moisture from the meat and inhibits bacterial growth, resulting in a longer shelf life. Additionally, it adds flavor to the jerky and can help to enhance its texture. When using salt, it is important to use an appropriate amount as too much or too little will affect the taste and texture of the jerky.

Is smoked Jerky bad for you?

No, smoked jerky is not bad for you. In fact, it can be a healthy snack option as long as it does not contain added sugar or other unhealthy ingredients. Jerky made from lean meat and natural spices contains protein and other essential vitamins and minerals. Additionally, the smoking process helps to preserve the meats’ nutrients and keep them fresh for longer. As with any food, it is important to be mindful of the amount you are consuming.

How much moisture does jerky lose?

The amount of moisture that is lost during the drying process varies depending on the type and thickness of meat being used. Generally speaking, jerky can lose anywhere from 30-50% of its original weight during the smoking process. This is why it is important to monitor the temperature and humidity levels in your smoker when making jerky to ensure that it does not dry out too much.

Is beef jerky good for hunger?

Yes, beef jerky is a good option for fighting hunger. It is high in protein, which helps to provide lasting energy and can keep you feeling full for longer. Additionally, the textures and flavors of the jerky can help to satisfy cravings without adding too many calories or unhealthy ingredients into your diet. Be sure to check labels and choose versions that are low in sugar and sodium.

Does jerky lose protein?

No, jerky does not lose protein during the smoking process. In fact, jerky is a great source of protein and can provide essential amino acids for muscle growth and development. When selecting jerky, look for versions that are made with lean cuts of meat in order to maximize its nutritional benefits. Additionally, be mindful of added sweeteners or other unhealthy ingredients that could have a negative impact on the nutritional value.


After reading this blog post, you should have a good understanding of how jerky can be smoked at 160°F and the outcomes it can yield. Whether you prefer to dry, wet, or cold smoke your jerky, the key is understanding the temperature necessary for different smoking times. With great care and slight variations in time, using 160°F to smoke your jerky will result in the desired outcome with delicious flavor.

It is extremely important to keep an eye on the meat as it smokes and use internal temperature readings with a thermometer to ensure that all of the food safety guidelines are met when consuming. With patience and adherence to proper cooking times and temperatures, you’re bound to produce some of the tastiest beef jerky that will please any crowd – just remember that practice makes perfect!

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