Too Much Cure in Jerky – Why Is My Beef Jerky So Salty?

When you think about the way beef jerky tastes, the first thing that’ll pop up in your mind is probably its easily recognizable saltiness. That part of jerky’s taste resembles a lot, for example, chips, and it is probably what makes jerky so popular. 

But as it usually goes with salt, that then pleasant and satisfying taste may quickly turn into pure hell when it is too intense. And this may just have happened to you while making your jerky too.

So why is your beef jerky so salty? Your beef jerky is too salt because you either used way too much salt in your cure/marinade or let the jerky marinade for far too long while making it.

Is there anything you can do about it? And what should you do so that this won’t happen again? Keep reading, and you’ll understand everything needed to know about jerky and salt!

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Why does beef jerky have so much sodium?

Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room, and that’s the extremely high sodium content jerky has in general. So what is the reason for that?

Well, beef jerky has so much sodium because the meat used to make it is always cured or marinated. That not only furthermore boosts the natural ability of jerky not to turn rancid but also gives it the signature salty taste.

What happens if you use too much curing salt?

But this is where one serious problem comes – when you use too much curing salt, the jerky you will get will taste hideous. Too much salt simply makes it too salty, and that’s not a thing you would like.

How much cure do you put in jerky?

This obviously depends on how you like the jerky, so it is essential to try different things every time and see what suits you the best. That way, you will make just the right jerky for you!

But if you’re completely lost and need a point to start from, we obviously won’t leave you in trouble! Generally, it is thought that the right amount of cure to put in jerky is ¼ tsp. for 1lb of raw beef. 

How much salt do you put in jerky?

This once again depends, but it is widely agreed that jerky that doesn’t use more than one teaspoon of salt (and any additional flavor) can still be considered unsalted. 

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste salty; no, that just means the jerky will be salty as usual. Therefore, that is about the amount you should be aiming for if you want your jerky to taste like you’re used to.

Is jerky cure salty?

The beef used for jerky is usually cured in curing salt, so yeah, the jerky cure is salty. Many manufacturers and people who make jerky at their homes like to marinate the meat as well, though, to add lots of different flavors besides salt.

How do you fix beef jerky that is too salty?

Sadly, there’s not really anything you can do to fix your beef jerky that is too salty; once the salt gets into the meat, you can’t possibly take it out of it. Therefore, just be careful next time to make sure you won’t make it too salty again.

You don’t need to throw the jerky away, though, since it is possible to use it in a way that mixes its taste up with some others. That way, the saltiness should get somehow lost.

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Can you marinate beef jerky too long?

Of course, you can marinate beef jerky for too long, and it will most likely absolutely ruin that jerky’s taste! The recommended time to marinate your jerky is somewhere around 8 hours, so try to stick to that number.

Can you make jerky without curing salt?

Yes, you can make jerky without curing salt. As long as you dehydrate it the right way, there’s no need for curing your meat before you start making the jerky.

That being said, the curing still expands the lifespan of the jerky, and additionally, the curing also gives it the characteristic salty taste. Hence, we recommend you to do it even though it’s not necessary.

What kind of salt do you use for beef jerky?

The salt you use for beef jerky should be curing salt. Besides that, there aren’t any actual conditions, so just pick the one you like the most.

How much salt does it take to cure a pound of jerky?

As we’ve already mentioned a bit above, the recommended amount of salt to cure a pound of raw beef then used to make jerky is simply one teaspoon. This will vary a lot by your tastebuds, though.

Therefore, don’t be lazy and try a little different amount every time to see what is the right one for you.

What happens if I use too much curing salt?

When you use too much curing salt, the jerky (or any other meat product you want to make, for that matter) simply gets too salty. And a far too much salt jerky, well, doesn’t taste good anymore.

Can you use too much Prague powder?

Yes, you can use too much Prague powder, just like with the curing salt. Hence, be cautious with it, since otherwise, you can ruin your jerky pretty quickly.

Is Prague powder the same as curing salt?

That’s because Prague powder actually isn’t anything but a very common type of curing salt. So yes, Prague powder is the same as curing salt.

Is curing salt poisonous?

No, curing salt isn’t poisonous when it is used correctly. However, it is necessary to mention that since there is a toxic substance called sodium nitrite in the curing salt, it isn’t safe at all to eat it by itself.

The nitrites in the curing salt are converted into nitric oxide throughout the curing process, though, and that compound is not harmful to humans.


Curing your beef before making jerky from it is a common practice that makes the jerky last even longer than it normally does. It also gives the final product that well-known, salty taste which many have tightly linked to eating jerky.

Therefore, it is recommended to cure the beef you’re about to make your jerky from, even though it is unnecessary. Just don’t let it cure for too long, and don’t use too much of the curing salt. Otherwise, your jerky will be too salty, and you most likely won’t like it anymore.



Image credits – Canva

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