Dehydrator Jerky Instructions

Jerky is a snack made from dried, seasoned meat. You can use just about any type of meat for jerky, from beef to pork to salmon. A food dehydrator is a handy tool for creating jerky. Dehydrators heat food gently and slowly at a low temperature to gradually draw the moisture out. As of April 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that meat be pre-cooked in an oven prior to dehydrating to ensure that dangerous bacteria are killed. Meat is marinated, seasoned, briefly oven-baked then dehydrated for a tasty, chewy snack.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 lbs. lean meat

  • Knife

  • Cutting board

  • Jerky marinade (see recipes in Resources)

  • Shallow glass dish

  • Plastic wrap

  • Paper towel

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Garlic powder

  • Baking sheet

  • Oven

  • Meat thermometer

  • Tongs

  • Food dehydrator

  • Storage containers

Preparation

Step 1

Slice the meat into thin slices about 1/4-inch thick and 6 inches long.

Step 2

Prepare your marinade according to the recipe. Jerky marinades tend to include an acid such as vinegar, a sweetener such as brown sugar and a salty element such as soy sauce. Experiment with recipes to find a flavor that fits your taste.

Step 3

Dip each thin slice of meat into the marinade then place the slices into your glass dish. Arrange the slices in a single layer in the dish then pour the remaining marinade over the meat.

Step 4

Cover the marinade dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 8 to 12 hours or overnight.

Step 5

Remove the meat from the marinade and pat each slice dry using a paper towel.

Step 6

Season the meat by sprinkling salt, pepper and garlic powder over both sides of each slice.

Pre-Baking

Step 1

Heat your oven to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Arrange your meat slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and place them into the hot oven.

Step 3

Heat the meat until a thermometer inserted into a slice reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit for beef and pork or 165 degrees Fahrenheit for chicken. This ensures that all of the potentially dangerous bacteria are killed.

Step 4

Remove the meat from the oven.

Dehydration

Step 1

Arrange the meat slices on the dehydrator trays using your tongs. Arrange them in a single layer.

Step 2

Heat the dehydrator to a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3

Dry the meat at a constant temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 to 12 hours. The drying time will vary based on the type of meat and size of your cuts.

Step 4

Check to see if the jerky is done by bending it. The jerky should crack and bend, but not break. Remove the jerky when it is done.

Step 5

Allow the jerky to cool before placing it into your storage containers.

Tip

Freeze your meat in order to cut thin slices more easily.

References & Resources

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