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I make my own beef jerky all the time. It's actually wayyyy easier than people think.
What you need:
Buy 2 pounds of some Tri-tip or another meat you enjoy.
Buy 1 gallon ziplock bags for marinating the meat overnight.
Decide on a marinade, I typically go teriyaki or bbq sauce with some spices. Be sure to use some brown sugar to thickin the sauce so it can stick to the meat.
Buy a dehydrator like this one: Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, White - MADE IN USA [link]
Cut super thin strips with a filet knife or buy a meat cutter for optimal pieces. It's easier if the meat is half frozen.
Put all the cut meat in a 1 gallon ziplock.
Create the marinade, you don't need a lot since it's going to go to go in the ziplock.
Put the marinade in the ziplock, seal it, and mix it all around. Make sure every piece gets some.
Put ziplock bag in the fridge overnight. It's a good idea to move the sauce around every few hours if you remember.
After a night of marinating, place each piece of meat on the dehydrator.
Dehydrate for ~4 hours at 160 degrees.
Enjoy your beef jerky!
Sorry for any misspellings or formatting errors, typed this out on a phone.
Is it weird to think my best hiking purchase of the past year was a $50 dehydrator? I understand many hikers take on a "food is fuel" mentality but I also can't state enough how amazing it is to be able to eat my favorite chili recipe from home after a long day of hiking.
Hey man, I just started as well like a week ago. I have this dehydrator and it's working really well for me just starting out. For meat, I've only been using Eye of Round, which seems to be the most recommended and it has been turning out great. I used www.jerkyholic.com to get some guidance on recipes, just to get an idea of proportions, temperatures, timing, etc., but I've found it most fun to make up my own as I go. Good luck!
Also, get a food dehydrator and vacuum sealer instead of freeze dried food. Way cheaper in the long run.
I have this Nesco. I'm on my 2nd one as the 1st one died after a few years of use. I almost bought me an Excalibur one, but did the math and saw I could buy 4 of the Nesco's for the price of the Excalibur. I figured it might have been my rough handling of the Nesco. If this one breaks with my baby-ing it then I'll probably break down and get the Excalibur.
Don't microwave it, too many risks. You absolutely must develop patience right now if you don't already have it.
I have had this happen to me before however not toilet water thank god. You need to separate them form each other best you can without screwing them up too much and set the aside somewhere kinda warm where there is no breeze at all and just wait and keep waiting if you want to salvage everything. Let it sit like 24 hours before you bather checking. If you can apply passive hear with no blower go for it, just keep it very low. Like a portable radiator based heater on low.
Only other option I can think of is if you happen to have or can borrow a home food dehydrator, that would work wonders. Something like this or similar would do awesome:
Just a suggestion, but get yourself a dehydrator. I have used this one for several years without any problems and you can add extra racks. Just make sure you use the minimum number of racks (as it says in instructions) and for peppers, don't set the heat over 105-110 otherwise peppers like habaneros tend to go to a brown, instead of staying nice and orange.
just by looking at the picture on the box... i'm going to bet my money on bottom.
that is good.
I use a dehydrator myself. Other people will use some sort of smoker, but I think a dehydrator is the most common. A good base model won't set you back too much, but I know budgets can be tight sometimes. This is a pretty good one to start with or at least find one with adjustable temperatures. Some of the really base ones are pretty much on/off with one setting so I'd avoid that if at all possible. My only complaint are the plastic trays on that one. It's hand wash only and they can be a pain in the ass to clean.
If you have money to spend I'd get one with metal trays so you can use a dishwasher. Timer option would also be good. Really all you need is one with adjustable temperatures, but the others are nice.
I have had this one for years with no issues. I bought 4 extra racks for it. I use it for a wide range of products for backpacking, jerky, full meals, banana chips, fruit rolls, dried herbs. It's cheap and works really well. I have convinced four of my friends to purchase this one as well, and I have heard nothing but good things from them too. As you will see in the reviews, the biggest complaint is that it lacks an on/off switch. You have to unplug it when your stuff is dry. Oh, well, it's only $70 and works perfectly otherwise.
I want to add on to your question: Has anyone used a dehydrator such as this?: [link]
I am considering it, but I have no experience with it.
Snider bros. is the only place I know. But I've recently gotten into making my own, and it's pretty awesome. I get 4 large sized bags of jerky for about 15 bucks, and it's more flavorful too. Plus it's fun to experiment between batches.
This is the one I use, and it'll dehydrate 3 lbs of meat per go.
It is actually incredibly easy! Although some people will tell you to season the meat, we haven't found any dog that doesn't like it as just chicken.
We slice chicken breast as thin as possible. My dad works at a meat counter so he's got super sharp knives, but if you pop them in the freezer for ~20 minutes you can slice them more easily. Place them on the dehydrator trays, turn it to 160 and let it be for 6-10 hours (or longer depending on how thin you got your slices). The jerky is done when it..you know..looks like jerky. We make ours really dried out because it lasts my dog longer when eating it. We also keep it in the fridge, because we don't salt it and don't use other preservatives it can mold on a counter top with any kind of humidity, it has never molded in the fridge.
We have given the chicken jerky as gifts to other people that frequent the dog park and haven't had a dog turn up their nose yet and they are good for dogs that have sensitivities to additives in other kinds of treats. The chicken we buy is hormone and antibiotic free.
This is the dehydrator I use.
If cost is a factor, definitely consider getting a dehydrator. I have this one.
It's easy. There are recipes all over the Internet, and many are slightly intimidating, but it basically comes down to "Get food without big chunks, spread it out on the tray, and turn the dehydrator on."
It's cheap. Check out the cost on dehydrated bulk items. Compare with the cost of fresh items (a little tricky because of water weight, but compare per calories). Grocery store food is inexpensive and your dinner leftovers are practically free. Dried bulk items cost a fortune.
You can make more calorically dense foods by including fat. Dehydrated meals tend not to have much fat, because it goes rancid over a period of weeks or months rather than the years that people expect backpacking food to last. If you dehydrate your own food, though, you can make your stuff a few days before your trip and have it be fattier and tastier. Yeah, you can also just add oil during rehydration, but that does mean you'll have to carry a dreaded extra container. (And it's not as tasty in many recipes.)
Better food, straight up. Food I've prepared at home and then dehydrated is delicious. It's way better than anything made from pre-dehydrated ingredients. You can get all the spices and sauces perfectly adjusted BEFORE dehydration instead of tossing raw ingredients together and hoping that they come together in beautiful symphonic unity when you rehydrate them. Meat that's been simmered or slowcooked with herbs is waaaay yummier than meat that's been rehydrated with herbs.
There's a lot to be said for dehydrating fruits and vegetables at the absolute peak of their ripeness. I'm currently obsessed with banana jerky (banana slices dried to a leathery texture). When I do our weekly grocery shopping, I buy several bunches for about $2, all in, and watch them patiently. On the day that they're first lightly speckled, I toss them into the dehydrator. I cannot describe accurately how good this shit is. I'm not kidding. It's fucking up my diet.
More options. This is somewhat addressed in point 1, but doing your own dehydrating frees you from the tyranny of foods that rehydrate easily. I can have normal spaghetti if I want it -- I'm not stuck with ramen because it'll rehydrate without simmering.
Healthier food on trail. This is a knock on from everything else, but after getting the dehydrator, I found my food choices drifting away from candy and toward healthy, real food. Well-made mango leather is way tastier than Skittles. I'm sure there's no meaningful health benefit over the course of a short trip, but it just feels pleasant and right to be eating real, natural foods on trail. It's a wrinkle I hadn't expected. I still like Snickers bars here and there, but it's become a treat rather than a staple.
this dehydrator: https://www.amazon.com/Nesco-FD-75A-Snackmaster-Dehydrator-White/dp/B0090WOCN0/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=dehydrator&qid=1561684331&s=gateway&sr=8-3
It gets the job done and is inexpensive. I have used it quite a bit and it still runs without complaint. Get the extra trays, you can cook 8-10 trays at once. It takes longer to dehydrate food than what is listed online. Often I let the food dehydrate for 12 hrs irregardless of how many trays are in use or what temperature it is set to. It is best used for simple fruit and veggies. I use no preservatives for dehydration and the food is good for 6 months. I have also tried dehydrating in my oven and find that this is a far better option.
I’m thinking it’s a Nesco FD-75A
This one is the best in my opinion. It doesn't look high-tech but it's easily expandable and does an incredible job.
edit: $8 over your budget but get over it :)
get one of these dehydrators
A lot of people prefer the tray style that the one you linked has. I bought this one a few years ago and it's been great.
I even make jerky out of chicken. It's way cheaper than beef and makes a great snack. Beef is still better, but the chicken jerky I make is awesome.
Another option to cut down on cost is to use ground beef. You need a jerky gun like this. It's worth it and comes out kind of like slim jims. You can also use ground turkey.
Sorry I wouldn't use a no heat method - too much of a chance of pathogenic contamination.
I just purchased a nice NESCO FD75-A Dehydrator off the recommendation of Jerkyholic.
I've used it a couple of times already and it works great. Top round has been finishing in about 5 hours at 160F.
130 F for 5 hours or so.
For what it's worth, I have no affiliation with Nesco and have no incentive to post this. Amazon links are non-affiliate.
In case you don't see the Imgur descriptions:
I've had a Nesco "FD-75A Snackmaster Pro" for about 18 months now and love it for making snacks/treats (dehydrated pineapple slices are amazing). It's just under $70 on Amazon and uses a stackable tray design. It can be set from 35 to 71C, and I've run it for days at a time. [link]
Extra trays come in two-packs for $11 (you can expand for larger jobs) [link]
When I started 3D printing and learned that filaments can absorb moisture and become problematic, I immediately figured this dehydrator might come in handy one day. Because the trays are meant for thinly sliced food, a filament spool isn't going to fit. The machine will stay "open" and won't work properly.
If you don't mind butchering some trays though, it's very simple to cut them out with scissors or pliers. This leaves you with spacers that keep the machine properly sealed while allowing room for a spool.
Depending on the thickness of your spool, you will need to cut out 2-3 trays. Then you can stack a filament spool in-between intact trays, using the cut ones as spacers. It's probably safest to have 1-2 trays above the spool for a little extra space from the heating element.
Then you can just set an appropriate temperature for your material and leave it alone for as long as you need. I haven't actually needed to use it so far (knock on wood), but I couldn't resist the temptation to set this up anyway.
Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, White [link]
As long as your dehydrator has a fan you should be fine. That one seems to have good reviews. Even if it doesn't work as good it's only going to take longer to dehydrate. It's not like it won't work.
Mine is here
Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A [link]
The grand daddy of home dehydrators is the Excalibur. I'm waiting for mine to break but it's still going.
Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black [link]
Another Nesco fan here. I have the SnackMaster Pro. [link]
I've been making jerky in it for over 9 years, and never had a problem.
EDIT: I thought I'd share this link to a really good keto friendly recipe, too. [link]
I have only had 1 dehydrator; the Nesco FD-75. I bought it just over a year ago and I absolutely love it. It comes with 5 trays but can be expanded to 12 trays. I bought an extra 2 because I need 7 trays to make a 5lb (beginning weight) jerky batch. I use is probably twice a month for jerky, dried fruits, or to dehydrate meals for backpacking. I think the biggest surprise was a backpacking Ratatouille. I made this for backpacking but I've used it more for pot lucks and dips for guests.
It has a temperature control but not a timer which, for me, isn't an issue. If I need a timer then I use one of these timers because I already have 3 of them for other uses. Clean up is easy since the heating and fan are on top. Everything below can be either hand washed or go through the dishwasher.
The best thing about this unit is the price; about $70. This made it a reasonable investment at the time so I could see if I would use the dehydrator like I planned. I didn't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars for something and end up not using it. So far I've used this dehydrator for about 15 months and it looks like it's going to last for a while longer. I haven't had the first issue.
Defiantly get a dehydrator. this is the one i have and i love it
vacuum machine is not quite a necessity, I have one and I use it, but I have also used just zip locks. depending on your food there will be sharp edges and both bags will get punctured with rough use.
also get some silica gel packets to extend your food in humidity or if you open and close the food bag.
If you're just dehydrating ground beef, it should be pretty quick - 10 hours or so. cook everything that needs to be cooked first. I ordered my dehydrator from amazon, and I'm not sure about all the places in the metro area that would carry them. I know for a fact that bass pro and cabelas have em.
Generally what I do is make my dish - lasagna or chili or whatever - fully cooked. Then I chop it up and spread it in the dehydrator. Leave it on high overnight. There's a little technique and trickery with the types of trays. Most dehydrators will have 3 different types - medium, small, solid. The medium is standard, and the others fit on top. I generally use the small trays, but for most things it doesn't matter. Really liquidy stuff needs the solid trays.
I've made decent jerky with this dehydrator before. I've used this thing before, but if I'm using ground meat I just shape it by hand now.
I use this Nescoe.
It is not a special dehydrator for meat, just a general purpose one. I use this one.
4 1/2 stars after over 2000 reviews on Amazon for the FD-75A.