Take a look at each piece of beef you intend to dry out and use your knife to carve away as much fat as you can, even the leanest piece of beef is bound to have a bit of fat connected to it and that blubber needs to blast off.
Once you have sliced away every trace of jiggly fat from all the cuts you intend to use, measure each of the cuts.
Use your marker to note the weight of each cut individually, writing that number somewhere on that cut's plate.
Weighing the meat out in the previous step makes every future step possible, leaving no real room for error.
Set aside a separate plate near each plate that indicates the beef's weight.
Use this second set of plates to keep the measured amounts of Tender Quick and brown sugar, checking the number you've marked on the plate to keep your measurements correct.
Once you have measured out each cut's necessary level of rub, start taking one cut at a time, making sure to rub every side and crevice with the Tender Quick and the brown sugar.
After you have thoroughly rubbed the beef, place it in a suitably-sized Zip-lock bag.
Make sure you include any of the cure that fell off as you bagged the meat.
Once all of your cuts have been seasoned and bagged, it is time for them to go into the refrigerator.
Make sure that you have the temperature set somewhere between the range of 35˚F to 40˚F; personally, I set mine between 37˚-38˚.
To figure out how long you need to keep the meat refrigerated, you should wait a minimum of one day per half inch of thickness on the thickest piece you are drying plus two days after that.
Never let this process for less than a week and a day.
Ideally, you want to add two or three days beyond this window, as a means of giving you peace of mind and granting you time to have the best day for smoking.
Once the last day has come and gone, its time to remove the bags from the fridge and rinse their contents free of the salty, sugary rub using only water.
If you are curious about saturation, you can slice a piece down the middle.
If the sliced piece has a dark red-pink core and has a a slightly salty flavor, it is a perfect sample.
Dry the cuts off and then lay them out across a single smoker shelf if you can manage it.
Sprinkle the cuts with black pepper and the garlic and onion powers, making sure that both sides get the treatment.
Finish this step by returning everything to the fridge for the following day's smoke session.
Start the day by preheating the smoker to 140˚F. 30 minutes later, place the meat on second position in MES.
Sterilize and insert your probes into the cuts.
Fill AMNS with hickory dust and light one end.
Half an hour later, put AMNS on bars to the left of your smoker's chip drawer.
Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of around 116˚, raise heat to 160˚.
When your hickory dust drops to two inches, add at least one row of hickory pellets, using burning dust for ignition.
Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 137˚, raise the heat to 200˚.
Your goal internal temperature is 158˚ to 162˚; if your smoker runs out of fuel, coasting on the ambient heat should suffice.
After the meat is done, rinse it, pat it dry, let it cool to 100˚, store in a bowl and refrigerate several days.
After two days, transfer the cuts to the freezer.
Let the meat firm up in the cold for roughly four hours, then break out your knife and slice up the cuts to whatever thicknesses you favor, maintaining them as whole slices.
Store whatever cuts you plan to have in the next few days within fresh Zip-lock bags and in your fridge.
For the remainder of the meat, bag the slices up and store them in the freezer.