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The Best Way to Make Jerky: Use A Commercial Grade Dehydrator

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August 15, 2011

The Best Way to Make Jerky: Use A Commercial Grade Dehydrator

By David Draper

by David Draper

This time of year, my Commercial Grade Dehydrator gets a major workout. From making jerky with the last of the scraps from the previous hunting season to drying vegetables from my typically (though not this year) abundant garden, hardly a week in August and September goes by when the dehydrator isn’t humming away in the basement.

There are a number of counter-top dehydrators available for less money than a commercial model, but most have their flaws—mainly a lack of capacity and the need to constantly rotate trays to get an even dry. Not so with my 80-quart model. It can easily accommodate up to 10 pounds of meat at a time and the powerful motor circulates air evenly throughout the interior. To borrow a phrase from the late Ron Popeil: Just set it and forget it. Six hours later, I’ve got enough jerky to last me from now until goose season.

Now, it’s not small and it sucks the electricity. (I can’t run it and my dishwasher without blowing a fuse.) But that’s a small price to pay for the convenience and cost savings from drying my own food.

I picked up mine in the Bargain Cave of Cabela’s Mitchell, S.D., store when I was passing through one summer. You should be so lucky. Though I got mine for steal, it’s worth paying full price.

 

Comments (13)

Top Rated
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from rock rat wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

We've got one we set out in the sun. Solar powered. Five pounds of fish going in it today. Cost $15.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I do all my jerky in the oven, a dehydrator is just that, it takes too much of the moistness from the jerky for me, 160 degrees in the oven for 5 hours works just fine and my jerky is still nice and moist!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kenc7971 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I too find myself making lots of jerky this time of year! I love it and it is easy to make. I would be interested in some recipes on marinades for the jerky in future posts. I have my own but welcome any suggestions. Now I don't do it on a large commercial scale, so Ive been using the Open Country dehydrator I got from Bass Pro. Works just fine and affortable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I have done it both ways, and you're right the dehydrator does a superior job. Nice find in the Bargain Cave. This year i'll be experimenting with jerky in the smoker. can't wait!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cmhlop72 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

ron popeil isnt dead. nice try tho.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from square_peg wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I'm pleased with my Excalibur dehydrator. Set the thermostat and timer and it takes care of the rest. I do jerky plus veggies from the garden and fruit, too. I'd hate to be without it. But if I were then I'd resort to that excellent dehydrator that we all own - the automobile. Just set your trays in the rear window and park it in the sun!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I have this dehydrator:

http://www.amazon.com/LEquip-306200-500-Watt-6-Tray-Dehydrator/dp/B00004...

and I don't have to rotate when drying jerky.

yrs-
Evan!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from duane boyd 52 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I have a home made dehydrater,made from a 5 gallon bucket,a rotisserie motor and some round racks that lock together,and a infared heat lamp.i put vent holes in for moisture to escape,and a small fan from an old oven,it does the job and is easy to make.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I use my oven. I stick 6-8 pieces of venison strips on a shish-kabob skewer, about one inch apart, then dangle them through the oven racks. I prop the door to the oven open about an inch with a metal pasta spoon. Put a sheet of foil in the bottom to catch drips, set the temp low and let it go. Turns out excellent every time. I've never had better jerky, so I can't justify buying a dehydrator.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

jbird-- we do it the same way! try some marinated in LaChoy terraki sauce then sprinkle some Mrs. Dash hot and spicy seasoning before you hang it, you'll love it! Use only La Choy brand because Kikkoman brand just plain sucks!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dennis Rahn wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I use an Excalibur dehydrator too and it is trouble free. I can brush on BBQ Sauce any time and as many times as I like.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hornd wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I'm on my 2nd Nesco Garden Harvester Dehydrator (round model). It works well, but I do have to rotate the trays (shouldn't you be checking anyhow?). I bought both for about $30 on Ebay used. I've also used my Little Chief Smoker, but it takes longer and holds less. Wish we had a slicer instead of spending 30 mins. slicing, but I'm frugal and the last thing we need is another kitchen appliance laying around.

I'm interested to see what recipe DD uses?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from AncelinDR wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I made a smoker/Dehydrator from an old refrigerator. It worked great with a hot plate for heat and a gallon can for the chips. Cheap.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from square_peg wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I'm pleased with my Excalibur dehydrator. Set the thermostat and timer and it takes care of the rest. I do jerky plus veggies from the garden and fruit, too. I'd hate to be without it. But if I were then I'd resort to that excellent dehydrator that we all own - the automobile. Just set your trays in the rear window and park it in the sun!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

We've got one we set out in the sun. Solar powered. Five pounds of fish going in it today. Cost $15.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I do all my jerky in the oven, a dehydrator is just that, it takes too much of the moistness from the jerky for me, 160 degrees in the oven for 5 hours works just fine and my jerky is still nice and moist!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kenc7971 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I too find myself making lots of jerky this time of year! I love it and it is easy to make. I would be interested in some recipes on marinades for the jerky in future posts. I have my own but welcome any suggestions. Now I don't do it on a large commercial scale, so Ive been using the Open Country dehydrator I got from Bass Pro. Works just fine and affortable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I have done it both ways, and you're right the dehydrator does a superior job. Nice find in the Bargain Cave. This year i'll be experimenting with jerky in the smoker. can't wait!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cmhlop72 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

ron popeil isnt dead. nice try tho.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I have this dehydrator:

http://www.amazon.com/LEquip-306200-500-Watt-6-Tray-Dehydrator/dp/B00004...

and I don't have to rotate when drying jerky.

yrs-
Evan!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from duane boyd 52 wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I have a home made dehydrater,made from a 5 gallon bucket,a rotisserie motor and some round racks that lock together,and a infared heat lamp.i put vent holes in for moisture to escape,and a small fan from an old oven,it does the job and is easy to make.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I use my oven. I stick 6-8 pieces of venison strips on a shish-kabob skewer, about one inch apart, then dangle them through the oven racks. I prop the door to the oven open about an inch with a metal pasta spoon. Put a sheet of foil in the bottom to catch drips, set the temp low and let it go. Turns out excellent every time. I've never had better jerky, so I can't justify buying a dehydrator.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

jbird-- we do it the same way! try some marinated in LaChoy terraki sauce then sprinkle some Mrs. Dash hot and spicy seasoning before you hang it, you'll love it! Use only La Choy brand because Kikkoman brand just plain sucks!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dennis Rahn wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I use an Excalibur dehydrator too and it is trouble free. I can brush on BBQ Sauce any time and as many times as I like.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hornd wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I'm on my 2nd Nesco Garden Harvester Dehydrator (round model). It works well, but I do have to rotate the trays (shouldn't you be checking anyhow?). I bought both for about $30 on Ebay used. I've also used my Little Chief Smoker, but it takes longer and holds less. Wish we had a slicer instead of spending 30 mins. slicing, but I'm frugal and the last thing we need is another kitchen appliance laying around.

I'm interested to see what recipe DD uses?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from AncelinDR wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

I made a smoker/Dehydrator from an old refrigerator. It worked great with a hot plate for heat and a gallon can for the chips. Cheap.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment