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Choosing the Best Jerky Dehydrator

An artisan is only as good as the tools he uses.  And making jerky is no different. You obviously always want the leanest, best cuts of meat and the freshest ingredients. However, if you don’t have a good dehydrator, the jerky will be less than perfect in spite of all your efforts.

A jerky dehydrator can be defined as any good dehydrator that air-dries well. However, a larger dehydrator with a stronger motor is best – if it fits your budget – as it dries faster.  

Also, when making jerky, you’ll want to have plenty of open-air space room around the dehydrator to allow for air circulation while the unit is operating.

Using a Dehydrator

As with any appliance, all manufacturer’s directions should be read first and  followed. Placement  of the meat to be dehydrated onto the trays should be in a single layer with a small air space between each piece.

It is never acceptable to layer the meat. It is better to run the dehydrator twice rather than overfill or have the pieces  touching or too close together. Over-filling or over-lapping the meat may result in a jerky product that is not completely dried and unsafe to eat.

Which Dehydrator to Choose?

There are several brands of dehydrators on the market. Selecting the one that is best can be intimidating. When shopping for a dehydrator, you should keep in mind not only the amount of jerky you will be making but also your budget.

Will you be making only one batch once a month? Or, will you be making two batches twice a week – or maybe more?

Answering these questions will help you decide whether you purchase a dehydrator designed for minimal home use or one designed for maximum or commercial use.  

As with any purchase, your budget is a factor. It has always been my policy to buy the best you can afford and this would hold true for buying a dehydrator as well.


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