Home » How to Make Beef Jerky with a Dehydrator

Looking to learn how to make beef jerky with a dehydrator? Look no further! Here you will learn everything you need to about making amazing tasting beef jerky for you, your friends, and family using a home dehydrator. Trust me, your friends and family will find out that you are making jerky…

Learn how to make Beef Jerky in a dehydrator. It's easy, fast, and delicious! | Jerkyholic.com

There are plenty of dehydrators on the market. I use either my Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A or Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator.

I like the Nesco model because it dries evenly and does not require me to rotate the trays throughout the dehydration process. The Excalibur works good too, but does require moving the trays half way through.

I have reviewed 4 of the top dehydrators currently on the market to see which ones REALLY work the best. So if you are looking for a dehydrator, take advantage of these Dehydrator Reviews!

The recipe I am using to show how to use a dehydrator is Cajun Beef Jerky, but you can find Dozens of recipes on my Beef Jerky Recipes page.

I have added a VIDEO showing how to make jerky to the end of this post!

1 – Start with a lean piece of meat. You can use Flank Steak, Bottom Round, Top Round, Eye of Round, Sirlion Tip, etc…. The goal is to find a piece of meat that has as little fat as possible. Fat will spoil and limit the shelf life of your jerky. You can even use ground meat and a jerky gun. I used a 2lb Beef Eye of Round for this recipe.

Eye of Round Before Trimmed

2 – Trim off the fat cap and other visible fat from the meat.

Eye of Round Trimmed

3 – Place the beef in the freezer for 1-2 hours to partially freeze for easier uniform slices. Your meat should be hard to the touch but not fully frozen. Slice the meat against the grain of the meat around 1/8″-1/4″ thick for an easier chew or with the grain for a more chewier jerky.

Slicing with the Grain

You can also skip the freezing stage and slice your jerky using a jerky slicer. I use a Weston Jerky Slicer. It makes sure all your strips are the same width which allows them to dry evenly. Having a slicer is great when making a lot of jerky.

Dale's Steak Marinade Beef Jerky Slicing

 

4 – Finish slicing all of your meat and set aside. Now it’s time to get the marinade ready. As I mentioned earlier, the recipe used here is Cajun Beef Jerky. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl or ziplock bag.

Cajun Beef Jerky Mixing Seasoning

Cajun Beef Jerky Mixing Seasoning in a bowl

5 – Add the beef strips and shake the container so all the meat is evenly covered with the marinade. I marinated my beef in the fridge for 18 hours. Anywhere between 6 to 24 hours is a long enough time to have great tasting jerky. The longer the better.

Cajun Beef Jerky Marinating in Ziplock

6 – After marinating, drain and pat dry the jerky strips to remove any excess marinade before dehydrating. This helps in speeding up the dehydration process.

Cajun Beef Jerky Drained and Drying

7- It’s time for the easy part! As I mentioned above, I used my Nesco Dehydrator for this batch. Place the beef strips on the racks making sure that they are not touching or overlapping.

Leaving space in between the slices allows the air to better circulate and dry the meat.

Cajun Beef Jerky on Trays

8 – Turn the dehydrator to 160° and let it run for about 4 hours. You want the internal temperature of your jerky to reach 160°. This jerky took 5 hours to dry. Depending on how thick your slices are will determine how long it will take to finish dehydrating.

Nesco Dehydrator Controls

9 – Make sure you check your jerky throughout the drying process to avoid over drying. The jerky will be done when it bends and cracks but does not break in half. If it’s done, let it sit on the rack and cool for a couple hours.

Cajun Beef Jerky with all the heat and spice of New Orleans! | Jerkyholic.com

10 – Now it’s time to either store it in ziplock bags, vacuum sealed bags, glass jars, or my favorite;  your stomach! The jerky will stay good for 7-10 days if kept in ziplock bags. For longer storage, using vacuum sealed bags will allow the jerky to last 1-2 months. Please visit my page on storing jerky for further information.

A Cajun Spiced Beef Jerky that will excite your taste buds! Easy to make jerky that's packed with protein. | Jerkyholic.com

As I mentioned above, here is a video I put together of How to Make Jerky. It’s not the best video quality, but it is great as a teaching tool.

 


Check out my Best Dehydrator for Making Beef Jerky page for dehydrator reviews and a breakdown of the top selling dehydrators currently on the market.

The Best Dehydrator For Making Beef Jerky

Dozens of Jerky Recipes!!!

Beef Jerky Recipes

106 comments

  1. Aaron Miller says:

    Quick question. My dehydrator has no temperature controls. So instead I ran it for ten minutes and put in a thermometer to see how hot it gets. The thermometer put it at 190. How long do you think it would take to dehydrate at that temp? First time making jerky.

    • Aaron Miller says:

      Its actually the FD-37 Food Dehydrator. I know its not the best. My in-laws lent it to me. I wanted to try out dehydrating stuff before going in and buying my own unit. But for the time being, what do you think?

      • Will
        Will says:

        That’s great! That unit will get you started! Dehydrating time heavily depends on how thick you slice your jerky. I would slice it about 1/4″ thick and dehydrate for 3 1/2 hours. Take a piece out and let it cool for about 2-3 minutes. Bend the piece of jerky; when done it should bend and crack but not break in half. If you slice the meat WITH the grain it will not crack as much as if you sliced the meat AGAINST the grain. I like to tear the jerky in half lengthwise when its sliced with the grain. If the meat tears and has white strands, it is done. If it’s not done, keep dehydrating for another hour and check again. Most jerky I dehydrate is done within 4-5 hours. Let me know how it turns out.

          • Will
            Will says:

            I do not use the smoker box add on with my Masterbuilt (I’m guessing you are talking about the cold smoke box?). I just turn up the heat when I add chips to get the smoke I want and then turn it back down afterwards. I have been wanting to try the cold smoke box, but haven’t ordered it yet. If you use it, let me know how it works!

  2. Dan Davis says:

    Good article. I’m running my dehydrator right now with another 2lbs of eye of round using Alton Brown’s marinade off the Food Network site.

    If you’re looking for an inexpensive and decent dehydrator, check Amazon for the Presto 06301.It comes with a bunch of trays, but you can buy more to stack on top. The trays fit together really well. It’s round, so the drying air is well circulated. It’s got a great digital interface, with timer (both count-down and elapsed use) and temp scales easy to adjust. I used my ThermoPen to check a container of water in the unit for temp changes at all settings (also a great way to get that plastic smell out of the unit before actually using it to dry food), and the temps were only off by about 2-3 degrees at each setting across the board. Although you can’t recalibrate the thermostat, it’s easy enough to just add this to the stated temp. At least it’s consistent!

    This unit does 160F at the high end, and that’s where you want to do your jerky. I’ve seen sites say 135F for longer, but you need to get the meat to that higher heat point if you’re going to skip the oven “curing” step (actually, putting the wet meat in the oven FIRST and bringing it to 160F is recommended by the USDA, and THEN putting the meat in the dehydrator at 135+F until it’s cracking but not breaking). If you’re using a meat ‘cure’ which has nitrites (not nitrATEs) in your marinade, you can safely skip the oven step, but I don’t like the taste of it. I’d rather take the risk. 🙂

  3. Mark Walker says:

    I’ve got the Presto 06301 and I love it. I purchased several more screens and a few leather trays that were being sold at Walmart. Got at half price. I’ve made four batches… two London Broil and two 93% leave ground beef. Staring at my jar of goodies in front of me. My dog is looking at it too!

  4. Kara Richardson says:

    I’ve been making deer jerky all my life and just recently started substituting beef eye of round, as i crave it all year long and hunting season only supplies so much venison lol. I can’t believe I never thought to freeze beforehand with beef! Thank you for the reminder =) I had the misfortune this last time of getting a roast that was terribly marbled for jerky. The end result was that I had uneven slices from cutting out excess fat (varying between 1/8th inch ans 1/4th). I came here to see if there was any extra precaution for my thicker slices, which are obviously taking longer. I’ve had the dehydrator running for 4 hours now, and the thin slices are definitely done, but the thick ones make me nervous. I have a presto dehydro that has no temp settings, and I’ve had it for at least 3 years. Do you have any advice? Should I cook it in the oven for a bit to be safe?

    • Will
      Will says:

      If you are not using any type of cure, putting it in the oven to make sure it gets over 160F is a good idea. Better safe than sorry!

  5. George says:

    Thank you, Will, for everything you’ve put into this site. It has been really informative for me. It seems Nesco is the brand to go with. But what do you feel about investing just a tad more (based on Amazon prices) for the 77? Seems the same as the 75, minus a tray, but is digital. Or the 1040 for the bigger motor? Though some reviews say jerky time is still ~4 hrs or so with it. Thanks!

    • Will
      Will says:

      Glad you like the site George. I have not used the Nesco77 so I can not 100% recommend it. I would assume it is well made like the 75 just with the digital face like you mentioned. I DO like the timer. Since jerky takes hours to make, most of the time you are out of the house doing other things while it is going. So if you are a busy person and don’t mind spending a little more money, try the Nesco77. I do not see much benefit of going with the Nesco1040 unless you are making A LOT of jerky and need to expand to 15 trays or so (which is a lot of jerky to make at once). If you do stick with the 75, here is a little gadget that I use for my dehydrators that do NOT have a timer. It’s not fancy, but does the trick. Let me know which one you get and how you like it!

      • Ben Glover says:

        Will,
        I’ve been doing beef or deer jerky for the last 15 yrs. I use the Nesco and added trays I got it from Walmart. Normally I used to use London Broil til it got so high. But would slice 1/8-1/4 at most , marinate in Moores Original Marinate any grocer for 3 days, then lay out on 12 trays. I would start with 3 lbs of meet and rotate. First in the freezer to stiffen it while slicing, then marinate 3 days, Sprinkle with a mixture of Season salt, Black Pepper, Accent (no MSG). Actually used to taake and use 2 forks to juge the meat which is not really necessary but punched in the meat, then place on tray (much touched) then cooked 9-12 hrs over night take off and glad bag it. We have actually used it up to month, month and a half, sent it to Missionaries in Russia. Guys son showed me how one day and I got hooked. I’d buy up to 3 rotations at a time, then start again each day I could put a new batch on each night 2 times a week ending up with 6 batches a week. Love this stuff, just need a decent price on the meat. Hate the commercial rubbery and winey taste most produce.

        • Will
          Will says:

          That’s a lot of jerky making! I agree that making your own jerky is way better than store bought… you just can’t beat homemade beef jerky!

  6. tkc says:

    When using ground beef in a Nesco dryer I should go for 160F. The strips I have in there are a quarter inch thick. Roughly how much time should I expect for this to dry?

  7. Bill says:

    Will,
    Quick question: Just made our first batch of jerky using your guidance. ..love the jerky! But, when the jerky seems finished by way of time, temp, and the bend/crack test…some of the pieces seem to have a little moisture on them. We then placed them in the oven for 10 minutes for the final step which seemed to bring a little more moisture to the surface of a few pieces. They taste great. …just wondering if the moisture is a sign of something we didn’t do correctly.
    Thanks!

    • Will
      Will says:

      It is normal for some moisture to come to the surface during the drying process. This is also more common if using a more fatty cut of beef. If I see moisture while drying, I pat the strips down with paper towels every couple hours. You guys didn’t do anything wrong, as long as it passes the bend/crack test and the jerky is dried, you are good to go!

  8. saifuzzal says:

    A very nice recipe for jerky lovers. I never try that before. But I’m sure it will be so delicious.
    Thanks Will for sharing.

  9. Pia says:

    Thank you so much Will for your meat jerky dehydration instructions. I just finished a batch of moose meat, perfect for dehydrating as it’s very lean….turned out Delicious !

  10. Benn mandel says:

    Hey Will
    Well just put my first batch of jerky in I made slices about 1/2 inch thick ( I like the thicker pc’s) I used a teriyaki recipe I found on line and use a cabelas 10 tray dehydrater with temp dial and a on off switch
    At half inch thick what amount of time u think about 7 -8 hrs

    Thanks Benn new to Austin

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Benn! I am not familiar with that dehydrator, but I would check it at 5hrs and then every hour after that if it needs more time. Welcome to Austin!

  11. blackflageoff says:

    I was pondering the pre-dehydrator oven process “curing” process that someone mentioned here… and I came across this https://foodsafety.wisc.edu/assets/pdf_Files/Making_Safe%20Jerky_in_a%20Home_Dehydrator3.pdf

    For a safety precaution, it suggests to throw it in an oven preheated to 275º for 10 min after it’s been done dehydrated.
    The USDA recommends the previously stated “curing” method or boiling it in water or marinade supposedly leaves it a bit dryer and crumblier.

    I’m new to this. I use an Excalibur and I’d prefer not to use curing salt, so maybe none of this is needed. Yet, my thinking is that the post-dehydrator quick heat-up-for-safety may come out better, but I am trying tweaks to see what works best for me. But I’m just wondering if there was any thoughts on if it may be better to do it up before or afterwards.

    Regardless, love the site and the recipes are awesome and good for inspiration as well. Thanks so much.

    • Will
      Will says:

      I would have to search for the article, but there is evidence that bacteria is more heat tolerable after the meat has been dehydrated. Because of this, it is better to heat the meat at the beginning of the drying process, not after. If you are not using curing salt, I would recommend heating it in the oven before drying. However; I am not sure what Excalibur you have, but the excalibur I have (Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator) heats the meat pretty quickly when it is set at 165F, therefor I do not do the oven pre-heat that often. Glad you are enjoying the site! Thanks for coming by and checking it out!

      • KevinW says:

        Hi Will,
        love the sight !!
        Here is the pertinent part of that article:
        “The danger in dehydrating meat and poultry without cooking it to a safe temperature first. After drying, bacteria become much more heat resistant. Within a dehydrator or low-temperature oven, evaporating moisture absorbs most of the heat. Thus, the meat itself does not begin to rise in temperature until most of the moisture has evaporated. Therefore, when the dried meat temperature finally begins to rise, the bacteria have become more heat resistant and are more likely to survive.”

        Here is a link to the full article:
        http://www.meatsandsausages.com/drying-preservation/jerky

  12. Tressa says:

    I recently bought Bison Jerky (amazing!) and the store I bought it from had it frozen. It defrosted very quick. I am curious to know how long I can safely store Jerky in a ziplock bag before it’s consumed?

  13. Beth says:

    Hi Will,

    Thanks for putting all of this together, I’m glad I found your site! My husband bought me a dehydrator for Christmas so I can make fruit leather and dehydrated fruits, and I’d also like to try making jerky. One problem though, I have some hand/finger issues, there’s no way I can slice all that by hand. Do you think I could do this with a mandolin if it’s partially frozen?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Congrats on the new dehydrator! I have never tried using a mandolin to slice meat, but I do not think that it would work that well even if the meat is partially frozen. I think your best bet would be to have your butcher slice the meat for you when you purchase it. They have heavy duty slicers that can easily take care of it. They normally do not charge for this and you can tell them how thick you want it as well. I wouldn’t even bother slicing it yourself if you have some hand/finger issues, it’s not worth it. Hope that helps!

    • Bill McCune says:

      You can find packaged sliced beef in the WalMart meat section. It is a couple dollars more per pound than a roast, but it is already sliced to a perfect thickness for jerky. May be labeled as beef for stir fry. My wife and I have used it twice and I sliced a roast the last night. I’ll spend the few extra bucks to not have to slice. Just more ass pain than I need.

      • Will
        Will says:

        Ha. I hear ya Bill, slicing can be a pain. I know that the meat market by me has some already sliced eye of round which they call Milanesa. It is labeled, ‘eye of round milanesa’. As you mentioned, thinly sliced and perfect for jerky. I have definitely taken advantage of this on days where I couldn’t be bothered to slice it up myself!

    • Tiare says:

      I didnt think that I’d be able to get uniform slices so I had in mind to go to a butcher to have them slice it for me. Another friend recommended a Mexican grocery store. They have lean cuts pre-sliced in exactly the thickness I wanted. The prices per pound were comparable or lower than my regular grocery store for full cuts of meat (not sliced).

      • Will
        Will says:

        Butchers are a great resource for having the meat sliced for you. I believe the pre-sliced meat is for a dish called Milanesa and is normally labeled as such. My local grocery stores often have it available and it is great for making jerky.

  14. Justin Anderson says:

    I’m going to turn a wine fridge into a dehydrator. The fans work to circulate air but it no longer cools. Along with dual fans, it has thermostats so I think it’s perfect. I’m going to cut and fit a heat lamp into it. My question is, do you need the air to move substantially or will two small built in air circulating fans suffice in about 2-2.5 cubic ft?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Nice! I would think that two small fans would work just fine. You do not need a lot of air movement, a little will suffice. Just make sure to test whether that heating lamp heats your jerky to 160F. This is an important safety step. If it does not, make sure to pre-heat the meat before putting it in the dehydrator. It sounds awesome!

  15. Dan says:

    Hi my dehydrator broke down half way through the process i quickly ran down to the shops and purchased a new one and got it back on after about an hour. Is the batch ruined or will it be ok ?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Dan. I am not sure what dehydrator you have, but mine heat the jerky to 160F in about an hour. If this is the case with your dehydrator as well, it should have reached the 160F and be safe to eat even though there was an hour “break” in the drying process.

  16. Bill says:

    My wife and kids love jerky. I use flank steak from Costco and put it in a Nesco dehydrator. However, I never heat it up to 160. I use it on its lowest temperature setting (90 degrees) outside in winter here in pretty dry Colorado. If it’s 30 degrees outside, I guess it gets to about 50 degrees (I would expect that they assume that the dehydrator is used indoors at 70 degrees, and it doesn’t have a real thermostat). We have never gotten sick eating meat this way. I subscribe to the Alton Brown philosophy that jerky is dried meat, not cooked meat. However I think he is crazy with his weird prescription for a huge box fan and lots of disposable furnace filters. Just do it the way I described above and you’ll be fine. I use curing salt #1 for other kinds of prepared meat, but not for jerky.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Well I am glad to hear that you or your family has not gotten sick from the jerky, but I would not go as far as to say that because of that everyone is okay to use your method. I have seen Alton Brown’s drying method and do not agree with it. E Coli outbreaks have happened from non heated jerky and that is why the USDA highly recommends heating jerky to 160F. It only takes one time for bacteria to grow and possibly make a loved one sick. It is not worth the risk in my opinion…

      • RealityCheck says:

        Compare the risks to eating raw oysters or sushi. If you marinate this in an acidic environment the risk is very minimal. Even if you just put the raw meat straight on the dehydrator with no seasoning, salt, ect it would be approaching zero. I eat raw fish 2-3 times a week. I accept there is some risk in both but it is very minimal.

        We made jerky growing up a lot in those cheap round dehydrators. I had my stomach stapled in July and I’ve been living off beef jerky and raw fish since, so I figured I’d start making my own jerky and wanted to take note of other processes to do it. I can’t imagine cooking the meat before I dry it, kind of defeats the purpose.

        • Will
          Will says:

          It just depends on how comfortable you are with risking you or your families health. There have been cases of numerous people getting sick from homemade beef jerky that contained E. Coli. I don’t want any part of that and recommend heating the jerky at the beginning of the drying process to kill potential bacteria. But it’s ultimately up to you.

  17. Tim says:

    Hey will. I have the 9 tray Excalibur digital thermostat. My jerky is about 1/4 inch thick and I usually set it for 72c because it doesn’t read in f for some reason and cook for 6 hours. Is this to long? I’m trying to eventually get in the business to sell my own jerky. Any tips you can throw my way? I would appreciate it. Website is awesome. Thanks for everything.
    Tim

    • Tim says:

      Oh and by the way I have the meat department at my local grocery store (souther California) cut the meat for me. So the pieces look more like steaks but 1/4 thick, maybe less. Thanks again.

      Tim

    • Will
      Will says:

      It really depends on the meat and your individual dehydrator on how long it will take. 72C is 160F, which is what I begin drying my jerky at. My Excalibur takes normally around 4-5 hours to dry the jerky to my liking. I don’t often have to dry it for 6 hours, but every machine is a little different. All the tips I have are on this site, so search away and I hope it really helps. Good luck on the jerky business!

  18. Jimmy says:

    How do you know when the meat reaches 160* . Will a regular digital meat thermometer work? Just stick it in the meat or the inside temp or just check the temperature in the oven. I have a newco 06300. Can’t wait to get started!

  19. Mike says:

    First off, I love your page. All the discussions and recipes are awesome for a jerky noob like me. I started looking at making jerky to give me something healthy to snack on and every search I do online leads me back here. So I went out and bought a Nesco dehydrator and have my first trial batch marinating now. I’m confused by a couple things I see online and you seem to be just the guy to ask

    1. Is there a difference in prep between a rub and a marinade? I’m assuming the drying process is shorter, but beyond that what are the differences in prep and in the end product? Are you aware of anything I can use as a marinade base to add to a rub without changing the flavor (to help the rub penetrate the meat)?

    2. I’m confused by all this talk of “cure”. You mention cure salt repeatedly, is this different than regular salt? I use sea salt as much as possible. I’ve seen references that adding a “cure” isn’t necessary, but you seem to have all of your stuff together and you also seem to use it. What is “cure” made out of? My Nesco came with several packets of it, but one of the things I’m trying to get away from is additives and preservatives…

    Keep up the awesome site, it’s easily one of the most informative pages on the subject ANYWHERE.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Thanks! I use mostly marinades and not rubs. I just feel like the meat is better coated and is better flavored with the wet marinade. I add water to dry rubs to help it stick to the meat better. The water will not change the flavor. I use about 1/4 cup per 1lb of meat. When it comes to cure, curing salt is VERY different from table salt. Prague powder #1 (the curing salt I use) contains 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% sodium chloride as per FDA and USDA regulations. It will be pink in color to distinguish it from regular table salt. When using the correct amount of cure, it is very safe. It will help prevent bacteria growth in your jerky. If you decide not to use curing salt, make sure that you heat your jerky to 160F at the beginning of the drying process to kill any potential bacteria. Hope that helps!

  20. Phillip says:

    Good page! Years ago I learned a thing or two. The best jerky that I have made requires finding an honest BUTCHER shop. I buy round tip roast, cap off. I tell the butcher that I am making jerky and ask for the best “trim” that he can give me and then to slice the roast a bit less than 1/4 inch thick. He does all the hard work! Marinate. Dehydrate. Yum!

  21. Kat says:

    Folks always ask about how long they can store jerky. A friend bought those little desiccant packets to store with his, and said it adds months to the shelf life. They are super cheap on Amazon. My first batch of teriyaki II is curing in the oven!

  22. Goody says:

    Hey there you bunch of jerkys,
    I’m new to this site and really liked reading all your postings. Just purchased a dehydrator and made my first batch of venison jerky last night. I was somewhat happy with the results. My one concern was the amount of taste of salt from the curing ingredient. Would like to try to cut that ingredient in half the next batch I make. Also maby pre heat meat in the oven prior to avoid bacteria. Would that be ok to do? Also looking to score some good recipes on this site soon? Thanks

    • Will
      Will says:

      Normally the curing salt doesn’t have that much of a salty taste since you are only using about a 1/4 tsp per lb. Cutting the curing ingredient in half would limit its effectiveness. If you are going to cut the curing salt in half, it would be a good idea to heat the jerky in the oven to 160F first. I have found that 10 minutes at 300F does the trick. I have a lot of recipes on the site, you can check them out on my Recipe Page. Hope you find some good ones that excite your taste buds!

  23. Pete Norris says:

    Will;

    I bought a dehydrator off from eBay. It has got digital controls. The lowest temperature is 104 degrees. It then can be increased in 9 degree increments.

    104 (starting)
    113
    122
    131
    140
    149
    158 (highest)

    It just arrived yesterday. I have not used it yet. Will the temperature setting of 158 degrees work for beef jerky?

    Thanks.

    • Will
      Will says:

      You want to heat jerky to an internal temperature of 160F. If the dehydrator only goes to 158F, it won’t get the jerky to where it needs to be. It’s best to pre-heat it in the oven for 10 minutes at 300F and then put in the dehydrator. That will ensure the jerky is safe.

  24. Mike Draper says:

    Will I have made jerky for some years now and recently made some and the flavor is not as strong as i like. i usually soak in marinade for 3 days and this time added some meat to the top of what had been in it for 2 days, So it did not get to soak but one day and it’s flavor is lacking so was wondering if i could rehydrate for a day or so and then dehydrate again to ensure better flavor?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Mike! I wish I could help more, but have never tried to rehydrate jerky. I am surprised that it is lacking flavor. I normally only marinate my jerky for about 24hrs and it has a lot of flavor. Maybe it’s the recipe you have that requires longer marinating time. Sorry I couldn’t help; but if you do decide to rehydrate and marinate longer, let me know how it turns out!

  25. OldPhart OutIn TheDesert says:

    I’ve gotten huge success with my “OldPhart’s Sriracha Jerky”.

    Use about three ounces of Sriracha per pound, mix pieces throughout, and let stand overnight in the ‘fridge. (What ever you do, do NOT mix bare handed…your skin will ‘burn’ for three hours!)

    I use London Broil, butcher cut into strips 1/4″ thick. I then cross cut into pieces about an inch prior to putting into the Sriracha.

    If you like a spicy jerky, this is awesome.

  26. Russell says:

    Thank you!! NEEDED this write up mainly for storage tips! I’ve been doing some slightly “unusual jerkies” (venison and salmon) in my “Raw Rutes dehydrator”and have been trying to figure out how long jerky can be stored!

      • Kelsey says:

        How can I find out how hot my dehydrator is getting? It’s old no controls and round! Bought from a yard sale

        • Will
          Will says:

          Hey Kelsey! You want to make sure that your dehydrator is heating your jerky to 160F. One way to do this is slice a very thin piece of meat (1/8″ or so), put a thermometer in the middle, and fold the meat over so the thermometer in the middle of the folded piece. Then put it in the dehydrator on high and see if it gets the meat to 160F and keep track of how long it takes. This way you know how long you have to heat it at 160F when making future jerky. Another way is a shallow dish full of water with a thermometer in it. Hope that helps!

  27. Curt says:

    Just made my first batch using the Nesco dehydrator. It was small batch, using only three trays. Started at 160 degrees and checked it about 3hours later. The jerky looked done (checking with the bend method) and tasted great. After storing in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator, after about 3 days I noticed there was some moisture. Should I have dried it longer, and is it still safe to eat?

    • Will
      Will says:

      Sometimes your jerky will not be completely moisture free. I would make sure that before you store your jerky in a ziplock bag, you make sure it cools outside the bag for several hours. If you are keeping in a fridge, you might use a paper bag instead of a ziplock bag. This is what most local jerky makers package their jerky in when sold at rodeos or farm stands. The paper bag allows for the jerky to dry out a little more; you can then store in a ziplock bag after a couple days in the paper bag. If you don’t want to use the paper bag method, pop it back in the dehydrator and really dry that jerky. As long as you don’t see any mold on the jerky, it is still safe to eat.

  28. Duncan Silvert-Noftle says:

    Yo, I live in Austin too. Which butcher shops do you like? I just got a 5 tray excalibur and want to start doing a lot of jerky experimenting. Would love to chat with you sometime. Thanks buddy

    • Will
      Will says:

      Nice man. I actually just moved about a week ago to Denver! I guess I need to change that on my Bio. Ha. I used to get my meat at my local HEB. They had great quality and really good prices. I hope you find a lot of good info on the site. Let me know how your jerky turns out!!!

  29. Mary says:

    Does soy sauce in the marinade and vinegar act as curing agents? Just wondering, since I skipped the part of curing in the oven first. Can you just use a digital meat thermometer to assess the 160 temp?
    Thanks,
    Mary K.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Hey Mary! The salt in the soy sauce will help to preserve, but it doesn’t cure the meat. I use this digital meat thermometer to check to see if the jerky reaches 160F. If you are going to skip the oven pre-heating method, make sure your dehydrator gets the meat to 160F.

  30. Curt says:

    I’m going to order some jerky seasoning from Nesco. They come with a packet of white curing salt, but I bought some pink curing salt earlier and was wondering if there is a difference, and if so, which would you recommend?

    • Will
      Will says:

      I am not 100% positive that the Nesco curing salt is prague powder #1, but it is probably the same. Curing salt is white, but if it’s sold online and in the USA it is required to be dyed pink so it is not mistaken for table salt.

  31. Aaron meyer says:

    Will is great I have just started my first jerky ever and I have learned so much from just reading I am really glad someone has taken the time and compassion to help us all out thanks man

  32. Chris Gagne says:

    Found this site while researching how to make Jerky. It is now bookmarked for future reference! I picked up two Dehydrators recently to start with. One is the 10 Tray Deluxe model from Cabelas and the other is a 9 tray Nesco. I think the Nesco is the same as yours but with 4 extra trays added to it. Using the Cabelas unit for the first batch to see how this goes. More then likely will leave the meat in it for closer to 5 hours this first time to play it safe. I am using a seasoning with nitrates in it which from what i am reading is a curing type seasoning correct? Which may allow me to skip the oven step if i am right on that?

    • Will
      Will says:

      That is a curing mix, but surprised it has nitrates and not nitrites. Normally prague powder #1 (nitrites) is used for jerky while prague powder #2 (nitrates) is used for a longer curing time such as sausage making. If it came in a store bought mix, i’m sure its good to go. It is always a good idea to heat the meat to 160F, even with curing salt. I have tested my Nesco to make sure it heats my jerky to 160F. Since it does I skip the pre heat step when I use curing salt. It’s always a good idea to check your dehydrator though….

  33. Igor says:

    Hi Will.
    In your video How to make a jerky using Nesco dehydrator you mentioned that you ran 2.5 hours for 160 and then about 2.5 hours for 140. But everywhere else it mentioned to run for 4-5 hours with 160. I am just a little bit confused which is one is correct?
    Thank You,
    Igor.

    • Will
      Will says:

      It’s up to you. I run the dehydrator at 160F for at least 2.5 hours to get the meat to an internal temperature of 160F. You can either keep it at 160F or lower to as low as 145F. Just keep the temperature above 145F when finishing the jerky off. So sometimes if I am leaving my house, I will set it at 160F and leave it going for 4 hours. If I am home, I might turn it down to 145F. The 15 degrees doesn’t seem to make too much of a difference when finishing the jerky. Hope that helps!

  34. Anthony Zelina says:

    great tips here on your site, i just picked up a excaliber 3900 for 5 bucks at the goowill pound store, in excelent condition with 9 non stick mats!! so i am moving up from my ronco or whatever it was… you have a new follower!

  35. Anthony says:

    Great video! Thanks. I’m on my 6th batch in last few months with my nesco dehydrator but always had a difficult time telling if my jerky was finished. My 2 year old enjoys the jerky too so it was always important to me that the jerky was all the way done. Up until this last batch I kinda just over dried the meat just to make sure. Not anymore. I did have one question. Do you know if curing salt necessary or will regular ol’ Morton salt do the job? Thanks again!

    • Will
      Will says:

      Thanks! I’m glad your 2 year old is enjoying some jerky! You can use Morton tender quick, but it requires more than the Prague powder, so be careful with the saltiness. It will add a lot of salt flavor.

  36. Víctor Hugo Solís Valladares says:

    Hola Will. Te escribo desde Sonora, México. Aquí la carne seca se llama machaca. Tengo un desecador nesco. Voy a intentar hacer tu receta. Gracias por compartir tu receta. Saludos.

  37. Robert heaton says:

    Hi there!
    Quick question about tempa and curing salts/powder. Ive read the importance of temp of the meat reaching 160, and that if you reach that temp it is not necessary for curing salts. My dehydrator is a. Digital cabelas unit that does get to 160 but not any higher it does display that internal temp but it seems to vary alot. I can watch it get up to 160 161 than the heater kicks off and the temp rapidly drops to 155 150 than kicks back on. Is there a certain length of time the meat has to be at 160? I have also read that you don’t want the 160 temp to late in the process also. Is there a time for that? So say to be on the safe side of things i use a curing salt which brand do you think is best. I bought a cabelas jerky season/cure pack to try out making my first few batches and it says to use the whole packet regardless even tho it’s for 5 pounds of meat. Not that the jerky is overly salty i wonder if it it’s because i used the whole packet on 2 pounds of meat that it does have a Saltier taste.
    I want to make my own marinades and try not to use cure salts but i dont know if it’s worth not due to the potential health issues. Curious on your thoughts.

    • Will
      Will says:

      Raising the internal temperature of the jerky to 160F at the beginning of drying is important and is more effective in killing bacteria than heating it at the end of the drying process. I have not used the Cabelas dehydrator, but the Nesco and Excalibur I have heat 1/4″ jerky to 160F in about 2.5hrs. At 2.5hrs the jerky is not dry (You want to heat it to 160F before it is dry). There really isn’t an exact time to heat it by, just before it has dried. When using an oven or smoker, I turn the temperature up at the very beginning since I have more control over the temperature unlike a dehydrator. Once it reaches the 160F you can lower the temperature, it doesn’t need to remain at that temperature for any amount of time. When it comes to curing salt, I use Hoosier Hill Prague Powder #1 which I buy from amazon. It is hard to find curing salt in local stores. I am surprised that the Cabelas packet said to use the whole packet even if you are NOT using 5lbs of meat. Curing salt is very safe when the correct amount is used. I would have only used 1/2 of the curing salt package and not the whole amount. Using too much will make your jerky more salty but could also be unsafe. For the Hoosier Hill Prague Powder, use 1tsp per 5lbs of meat. If you don’t want to use cure it is perfectly healthy as long as you heat the jerky to an internal temperature of 160F. Hope that isn’t too much info! ha. Cruise through the blog, I have a lot of good information throughout. Thanks for stopping by Robert!

  38. Peter says:

    In respect of the using of dehydrator, is the jerky safe to eat as the tempeture is 70 celsius degree, can it kill the pathogens (I do not use salt to cure the meat)?

  39. Patrick Mullen Jr. says:

    Hello,
    Love the site ! excited to try that horseradish recipe. What advice to you have for poultry? I just got a nesco dehydrator today for my birthday the temp goes to 160.
    Thanks,
    patrick

  40. Tim Kenney says:

    I have an Excalibur dehydrator and have made a couple batches which have turned out good.
    I’ve been using the extra non stick sheets you can buy to put on your dehydrator trays but I noticed that I have to turn the meet because it doesn’t dry completely during the process. Am I doing something wrong or should I ditch those sheets and just use the lattice trays that come with the dehydrator? The non stick sheets make it a little beater to process but I seem to be sacrificing drying efficiency. Thoughts?

    • Will
      Will says:

      I have not used the non-stick sheets you are talking about. If it is affecting the drying of the jerky, I would stick with the ones provided with the unit. I have never had a problem with them. You can always spray them with PAM spray before adding the jerky strips to make clean up a little easier….

  41. patrick says:

    in order to check the jerky as it processes you have to turn off the unit unstack the trays and then restack and turn back on for a nesco round dehydrator ? maybe I should have shopped for slide out tray model ?

    • Will
      Will says:

      That is correct Patrick. The top of the dehydrator is the fan and heating unit. I have used this dehydrator for years and never found it annoying or inconvenient to check my jerky. If this is something that would bother you, then the Excalibur would be your best bet. You can leave the unit on and pull one tray out at a time when checking the jerky.

  42. Thomas says:

    Hi Will, I just found an older model American Harvest Snackmaster dehydrator in my garage, but the dial only turns to 145. I did use the Prague Powder #1. Should I put the jerky (I’m doing kikkomam Teriyaki recipe and the Montana Mountain) in the oven first or is the cute enough? Thank you

  43. Mike Meyer says:

    Hi!,
    My name is Mike and I by accident ran on this website which I found interesting. I use to be an Engineer at American Harvest, so I think I know something about them and also the Jet-stream ovens. I also have done consulting work for Metalware (Nesco) but not much happened there because of too much competition from China. Anyway, in the 90’s we compared all the competition in dehydrators, and hands down American Harvest was the best. We put them all through a lot of tests, but the idea of converging the air across each try was superior to any others. Not perfect! But a lot better. When I use my American Harvest Dehydrator I usually stop at the 1/2 way point in drying and swap the top half stack of trays with the bottom and everything seams to turn out equal between what drying. When I do jerky, i just roll everything in paper towels mid way and at the end to eliminate as much grease. Its the grease that prevents the jerky from lasting very long the most. Well, hopefully there may be some useful info from me.
    Mike

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