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Happy Thanksgiving !

Tools of the Trade

When making jerky, like performing any other task around the house, there are always a variety of tools associated with doing it.  Some are a must have, others just make it easier . .  . if you have the budget for them.  Aside from the obvious, dehydrator, jerky gun, etc., there are some specialty tools you can get to make the task of homemade jerky easier.








From the makers of  one of the jerky guns is the LEM Products Stainless Steel Manual Mixer.  This item uses four paddles to mix the meat,  and can blend the seasoning into as much as 20 lbs. of meat for making jerky sticks.  Since it is stainless steel it is easy to clean and resists rusting.  Comes with a plastic lid.

Another mixer, little less expensive, is the Sportsman MHMIX 4-Gallon Stainless Steel Meat Mixer.  Many of the same features, i.e., stainless steel, no rust, plastic lid; the differences are that it has just one paddle and is limited to mixing 17 lbs. of meat.








If you are not buying your ground meat from the grocery store in pre-weighed packages, but are using meat ground at home or at the cabin  (venison, turkey, etc.),  then a scale may be order.  The most common ones are the 22 and 44 lb. models – but unless you’re in ‘business’ – can’t imagine using the 44 lb. one !  Some of the more practical, home-use scales we found are listed below.

Ozeri Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale  is a digital scale – kitchen friendly – and will weigh up to 11 lbs.

Etekcity Digital Multifunction Kitchen Food Scale comes with its own bowl (detachable), also weighs up to 11 lbs.

Sportsman Series Kitchen Baking Food Preparation 44 Lb Stainless Steel Dial Scale Measuring Tool will weight up to 44 lbs, has removable 10-inch bowl, dial scale.

Ultimate54 Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale 1g-22lbs LCD Display will weight up to 22 lbs, has auto shut-off, 6 inch platform to accommodate bowl.









Getting the right thickness is important so that the jerky dries evenly.  This can be accomplished with a good, sharp knife or by using the Hi Mountain Jerky Jerky Board & Knife Set.  This kit has edges (1/8 and 1/4)  making it easy to cut even slices of meat.

Another help in getting precise, even slices of meat is to use an electric slicer.  A popular one is made by Chef’s Choice.

In the more traditional sense, knives are the ultimate slicers.  And, for those hunters out in the field getting their own venison, wild turkey, elk, moose, etc. for making jerky, having a complete set of hunting knives available is always  good.  The Outdoor Edge Butcher-Lite BL-1 Lightweight 8-Piece Butcher Kit with Belt Scabbard is a popular choice, however, for a wider choice, visit this link for more hunting knife kits.


Hunting season is almost on us, so stay safe, enjoy!



Dehydrator Air Flow: Vertical vs. Horizontal



Using a food dehydrator for making jerky – or drying other foods, i.e., fruits, veggies, is great since you know your foods are organic,  free from additives and preservatives. But did you know that depending on the dehydrator you use, the flow of air may be either vertical or horizontal? and that this air flow may determine how the food being dehydrated processes?

While we’ve looked at dehydrators before, we’re going to take a quick look at what to consider with particular attention to air flow.

For dehydrators using a vertical flow of air (coming up from the bottom), the lower trays/racks will dehydrate more rapidly than food on upper trays/racks nearer the top. This may be an advantage if you limit your trays to 4 or under or if you are in a hurry. However, if you are using multiple trays/racks (more than 4), the food products placed on the upper trays may not be fully processed. Attention to processing should be maintained so that the foods on the bottom do not over-dehydrate to compensate for the items on the top finishing their cycle.

For dehydrators using horizontal air flow, you can expect items to process uniformly. The only disadvantage, if you can call it that, is that it may take longer for the dehydrating process.

There is a wide variety of dehydrators on the market in both categories, however, if you are on a budget, you may be willing to forgo some features, i.e., thermostat, timer, etc. to save a few dollars.

For reference, both the Waring Pro  and the Presto Dehydrator  have vertical air flow [1]. While the Nesco Dehydrator  and Excalibur Dehydrator  have horizontal flow.

In addition to air flow and cost, other considerations when purchasing a dehydrator might be:

  • Overall shape of the dehydrator – round or square
  • Temperature range
  • Maximum number of trays it can hold
  • Wattage

To see some of the most popular dehydrators available on Amazon in a budget-friendly price range, visit this link.