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

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.