Training a dog requires a reward of some sorts, whether it be lavish praise or an edible reinforcer. And even if your pet follows commands well, it's nice to reward their good behavior with a treat. Pet owners can visit any retail store and purchase dog snacks, but these products can be full of preservatives. Make your own dehydrated beef snacks to provide your pet with a healthier alternative. Use a commercial dehydrator or your oven to cook the meat slowly and then store in an air-tight container.
Things You'll Need
- 3 pounds of lean beef (eye round roast, top round steak, bottom round roast, top sirloin, etc.)
- Cooking spray
- Cookie sheet
- Multi-tiered dehydrator or conventional oven
- Air-tight containers
Using a Dehydrator
Cut the meat to 1/4-inch thick, 1-inch wide and 2-3 inches long. You can purchase beef that's already cubed to reduce your preparation time. Even if you've found the leanest cuts of beef, take care to trim off any fat, so that each piece is as lean as possible.
Spray each tier of the dehydrator with cooking spray.
Lay the meat on each tier in a single layer. Allow enough space between each piece so they don't overlap.
Cover or close the machine's door. Set the dehydrator to medium or 120 degrees.
Check the meat throughout the eight hours required for proper dehydrating. When cooked thoroughly, the meat will appear dry and have a dark brown color while still remaining pliable. Throughout the cooking time, rearrange and rotate the trays, so that bottom tiers are nearer to the top and vice versa. This allows for all the pieces of meat to cook evenly.
Remove any pieces of meat that are done cooking and place them on a flat surface to cool. Continue to check the meat, remove cooked pieces and rearrange and rotate trays every two hours until the pieces are ready.
Using a Conventional Oven
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Cut the meat to 1/4-inch thick, 1-inch wide and 2-3 inches long. You can purchase beef that's already cubed to reduce your preparation time. Even if you have found the leanest cuts of beef, take care to trim off any fat, so that each piece is as lean as possible.
Place the pieces of meat on the cookie sheet in a single layer. Allow enough space between each piece so they don't overlap.
Place the cookie sheet on the middle shelf of the oven. Prop the door open 2-3 inches so that air can circulate and remove any excess moisture.
Check the meat in six hours. When cooked thoroughly, the meat will appear dry and have a dark brown color while still remaining pliable. Remove any pieces of meat that are done cooking and place them on a flat surface to cool. Continue to check the remaining meat every hour until they are finished cooking.
Tips & Warnings
- Treats should be stored in an air-tight container in a relatively cool and dry place. Make sure that treats have cooled before putting them in the container to avoid condensation. Refrigeration is not necessary. Treats will stay fresh for up to two months.
- Do a second or third batch of dehydrated beef treats if you have any remaining cuts of raw meat.
- Some herbs can be sprinkled on the meat before dehydrating to add additional flavor and make them even healthier. Try a little basil, parsley, oregano, sage, tarragon or dill.
- It's very important to remove any and all fat from the beef as fat can become rancid when stored.
- Photo Credit assis image by Maurice METZGER from Fotolia.com
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