5

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Dehydrator recommendations

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 01, 2010 at 5:28 PM

I'm thinking of getting a dehydrator for making jerky and dried fruit, since I'm eating a fair bit of jerky these days and I`m not sure making it in the oven is that efficient. Does anybody have any recommendations?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 29, 2012
at 10:35 AM

What about rigging up something with cheesecloth or muslin and stretcher bars for canvases or embroidery hoops? Or even a couple layers of natural paper towels and paper clips?

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 29, 2012
at 05:02 AM

That one is great, get EXTRA trays if you can afford to, they are soo worth it.

5d6a58590ba76136e8dc50c561c8ada2

(450)

on July 28, 2011
at 06:46 AM

thanks! this looks awesome and not too difficult :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 26, 2011
at 06:32 PM

I love AB's answer when one of the gang asks if the jerky is fattening. AB "No, it's practically carb-free" He then proceeds to say that his jerky is only about 2% fat, so he gives the best of both Paleo and CW in his answers. Great!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 26, 2011
at 06:18 PM

I like this project. I wonder what folks making and using this item will do now that Incandescent bulbs are going the way of the Dodo? Stockpile? Find a new method? I immediately thought of turning my gas oven on to 115 degrees and building a smaller box for use in the oven. I think the reason I'd still build the box is to make it easy to remove for an hour or two if I needed to cook something while I was dehydrating the jerky. Also how about adding smoked salt for a smoke flavor?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on April 01, 2010
at 10:03 PM

I've made this, and it works beautifully. The end result is far superior to what I was getting from the oven, and it doesn't tie up the oven for days on end. It's noiseless, and takes little electricity. I will probably make another soon, as the family can't get enough.

8603cae947a9b803f704301e477102bd

(80)

on April 01, 2010
at 07:31 PM

Excellent Dexter. I hope everyone who wants to make jerky watches it. I haven't done it yet but when I do that's the way I'll do it.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 01, 2010
at 07:26 PM

http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/the-jerky/48723.html Here is a video for making Alton's jerky...recipes and how to make the air conditioner filter dryer at 6:05 minutes remaining on the video.

62482b6c46233690c88915dd43003546

(75)

on April 01, 2010
at 07:14 PM

We bought an Excalibur a couple years ago, primarily for producing dried raw foods. They're excellent (dry from the side for more even results) and come in a 9-tray model as well. You also get sheets for making fruit leather and such, which we use to make awesome mango-coconut wraps. http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/

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6 Answers

7
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 01, 2010
at 06:51 PM

If you want a really cheap and easy jerky maker, check out Lex Rooker's $10 cardboard box jerky maker with complete instruction.

http://www.willowglyn.com/heather/jerkydrierinstructions.pdf

I have not made it but I know there are many who have.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on April 01, 2010
at 10:03 PM

I've made this, and it works beautifully. The end result is far superior to what I was getting from the oven, and it doesn't tie up the oven for days on end. It's noiseless, and takes little electricity. I will probably make another soon, as the family can't get enough.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 26, 2011
at 06:18 PM

I like this project. I wonder what folks making and using this item will do now that Incandescent bulbs are going the way of the Dodo? Stockpile? Find a new method? I immediately thought of turning my gas oven on to 115 degrees and building a smaller box for use in the oven. I think the reason I'd still build the box is to make it easy to remove for an hour or two if I needed to cook something while I was dehydrating the jerky. Also how about adding smoked salt for a smoke flavor?

4
8603cae947a9b803f704301e477102bd

on April 01, 2010
at 06:58 PM

I wish there were a picture of this but Alton Brown uses air conditioning filters and lays the strips in the grooves and then straps them together onto a fan. He says cold air works best for making jerky.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/beef-jerky-recipe/index.html

8603cae947a9b803f704301e477102bd

(80)

on April 01, 2010
at 07:31 PM

Excellent Dexter. I hope everyone who wants to make jerky watches it. I haven't done it yet but when I do that's the way I'll do it.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 01, 2010
at 07:26 PM

http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/the-jerky/48723.html Here is a video for making Alton's jerky...recipes and how to make the air conditioner filter dryer at 6:05 minutes remaining on the video.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 26, 2011
at 06:32 PM

I love AB's answer when one of the gang asks if the jerky is fattening. AB "No, it's practically carb-free" He then proceeds to say that his jerky is only about 2% fat, so he gives the best of both Paleo and CW in his answers. Great!

5d6a58590ba76136e8dc50c561c8ada2

(450)

on July 28, 2011
at 06:46 AM

thanks! this looks awesome and not too difficult :)

4
C3188df3e6f8a68a2d0f28500ad2ea19

on April 01, 2010
at 06:50 PM

I picked up an Excalibur dehydrator three months ago and wouldn't trade it for anything! I dry 3-4 pounds of bison, lean beef and/or lamb every 1-2 weeks (wife & I are Paleo). I forgot the specific model number but it is around $200, has a timer, 5 rack and a dial that tells you what temp for what.

The way I prepare it is to get a roast, slice it in to 2 inch slabs (from the top down), partially freeze it (approx 45 min), slice the slabs in to 1/4 in slices, add pepper & cayanne and dehydrate! It's the best thing EVER! No salt, soy, sugar or random chemicals that you find in the store bought stuff.

62482b6c46233690c88915dd43003546

(75)

on April 01, 2010
at 07:14 PM

We bought an Excalibur a couple years ago, primarily for producing dried raw foods. They're excellent (dry from the side for more even results) and come in a 9-tray model as well. You also get sheets for making fruit leather and such, which we use to make awesome mango-coconut wraps. http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/

4
5cd18bfcafadc56292971e59f2f1faf6

on April 01, 2010
at 06:17 PM

I recently purchased the Nesco FD-75PR and love it. I did some research before buying and ended up on this model due to a combination of price, capacity, expandability, included tray accessories, and lots of positive reviews. I mainly use it for jerky but have also done strawberries and bananas with great success.

My thoughts on this model:

  • Capacity is pretty good. I've done 4 lbs of top round (minus trimmings) without a problem.
  • Capacity is easily expandable. Comes with 5 trays but can be expanded to 12 trays for $15 per 2 additional trays.
  • There is no timer or on/off switch. You plug it in and set the temperature and it goes. Some people are bothered by this but it hasn't been an issue for me. I figure it would be cheap and no problem to plug into an outlet timer if I ever decide I need a timer.
  • The fan is audible as it runs. This sound doesn't bother me as it's more like a gentle air cleaner sound than say a hair dryer but I imagine some people might be annoyed by this.
  • Cleaning the grates takes some effort. I usually end up soaking the trays in the sink and then spending some time scrubbing them to get them clean. The trays are supposedly dishwasher safe but I'm pretty sure my dishwasher would destroy them.
  • The jerky spice packs that come with it taste darned good but are junk (MSG, sugar, etc.).

Side note: There are some dehydrator models that have transparent exteriors so you can watch the dehydration without having to pull the thing apart. This seems pretty cool but my understanding is that exposing food to light throughout the dehydration process can result in diminished nutritional quality. I went with an opaque model to avoid worrying about that.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 29, 2012
at 05:02 AM

That one is great, get EXTRA trays if you can afford to, they are soo worth it.

2
6f97d1b544380ac1f2dbf95d11f25971

on September 11, 2011
at 05:31 PM

I love this! I was considering buying a dehydrator but it looks like you can get so much more surface area and spend a a fraction of what you would on a commercial unit. I swear alton is brilliant. Does anybody know of an organic or natural fiber air filter to use? I have looked all over the web with no luck. I know not to use the fiberglass ones and that he was most likely using a Filtre type of filter, but just wondering if there might be an alternative.

0
0e2a1d166c3e2df10feb339c126b477d

on January 29, 2012
at 04:49 AM

Jessica and others, any answer yet on type or source of filters?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 29, 2012
at 10:35 AM

What about rigging up something with cheesecloth or muslin and stretcher bars for canvases or embroidery hoops? Or even a couple layers of natural paper towels and paper clips?

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