Effective Tips to Make Dehydrated Jerky at Home

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Welcome to BoatBasinCafe, where we guide you through the art of food preparation! Today, we’ll delve into how to craft the perfect dehydrated jerky at home.

Article HighlightsDescription
Dehydration Time for JerkyDehydrating jerky can take anywhere between 5-15 hours, depending on the meat cut, method, and environment.
Choice of Meat Cut for JerkyOptimal results are achieved with meat slices less than ¼ or 6mm but more than ⅛” or 3mm.
The Role of Marinade in Dehydrating JerkyMarinade contributes to taste and assists in the dehydration process. The surface needs to dry before starting internal dehydration, and salt levels also influence drying time.
Dehydration MethodThe method and temperature significantly affect dehydrating time. Ideal temperatures range from 160°F / 71°C to 165°F / 74°C.
Tried-and-Tested Dehydrated Jerky RecipeA step-by-step recipe for making dehydrated jerky at home is shared, using either a dehydrator or an oven.
Knowing When Jerky is ReadyThe perfect jerky is dry, with a leathery texture and no oiliness.
Common Questions on Jerky DehydrationThe article addresses a range of questions like the ideal thickness of jerky, flipping jerky during dehydration, meat choice for beef jerky, and whether chuck steak can be used.
Making Dehydrated Jerky at HomeThe article encourages readers to try making dehydrated jerky at home, emphasizing the right temperature and techniques. It also invites readers to explore information about jerky shelf life in another related article.

Why Dehydrate Jerky at Home?

Making your dehydrated jerky at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. The process lets you customize flavors and ensure that you’re consuming a product free of excessive preservatives. For those uncertain about the duration of the dehydration process, don’t fret. This guide will reveal not only the time it takes but also the techniques and tricks that professionals like Alex from Bayevs Kitchen employ.

Factors Influencing Dehydration Time

Dehydrated Jerky
Curtesy of Alex from Bayevs Kitchen

How Long Does It Take to Dehydrate Jerky?

Dehydrating is a meticulous task, and when it comes to jerky, the time can vary based on multiple factors. Typically, it can take anywhere between 5-15 hours. The time hinges on aspects like the method employed, meat cut, and even the environment.

Choosing the Best Cut Meat

The choice of meat and its thickness largely determines the dehydration time. For optimal results, aim for slices less than ¼ or 6mm but more than ⅛” or 3mm. This range ensures a jerky that’s neither too chewy nor too brittle.

The Role of Marinade

Marinade can be approached in three ways – using a dedicated food dehydrator, an oven, or the natural heat of the sun. Each has its unique drying time, with beef jerky dehydrators offering the quickest results. When using a wet marinade, it’s crucial to blot it before the dehydration begins. This is because the surface needs to dry first before the internal dehydration commences. Additionally, salt levels play a vital role in the drying process, drawing out the meat’s moisture, which affects the overall drying time.

Dehydrating Time: Method Matters

Did you know? The dehydration method you pick can dramatically affect the time. The temperature is pivotal in this. For beef, temperatures between 160°F / 71°C and 165°F / 74°C are ideal. Once the meat achieves the right internal temperature, reduce the heat to 130°F – 140°F to maintain the perfect texture and taste.

A Tried-and-Tested Dehydrated Jerky Recipe

Let’s delve into a step-by-step guide to achieving that perfect jerky. Whether you’re using a dehydrator or an oven, these instructions will guarantee success.


  • 1 pound round steak
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • Liquid Smoke flavoring (optional)


  1. Choose a lean meat piece. Options include round roast, top and bottom round roasts, and more.
  2. Trim off fat to prolong the jerky’s shelf life.
  3. Partially freeze the meat to facilitate uniform slicing.
  4. Slice the meat as per the recommended dimensions.
  5. Prepare the marinade using the listed ingredients.
  6. Marinade the meat overnight for optimal flavor.
  7. Drain and pat dry the meat to speed up dehydration.
  8. Lay the meat strips on the dehydrator or oven racks without overlap.
  9. Beef jerky typically takes 4-5 hours at 165°F. Adjust based on meat thickness.

How Do You Know It’s Ready?

Achieving the perfect texture is both an art and a science. The jerky should feel dry, devoid of oiliness, and possess a leathery touch.


How long do you put jerky in a dehydrator?

It varies based on meat thickness and dehydrator efficiency. A general rule is to dry at 165°F, ensuring the meat reaches 160°F, then adjust to 145°F.

Do you need to flip jerky in a dehydrator?

While it’s beneficial, especially with specific models, it isn’t always mandatory.

How thick is too thick for jerky?

Balance is key. Too thick results in a chewy texture, while too thin may compromise taste.

What meat is best for beef jerky?

Popular choices include Top Round, Bottom round, and Lifter.

Can chuck steak be used for jerky?

While possible, the high fat content necessitates extensive trimming and might reduce shelf life.


Making dehydrated jerky at home is an endeavor that pays off with delicious results. Remember, the right temperature and techniques are key. Looking to explore more about jerky’s shelf life? Check out our guide on how long beef jerky lasts. Happy dehydrating!

About the Author:
John Bird – A connoisseur of coffee, BBQ, and grilling, John once graced the Boat Basin Cafe in Downtown New York. He now shares his culinary wisdom on BoatBasinCafe, turning backyards into gourmet escapades.

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Effective Tips to Make Dehydrated Jerky at Home
Tips to Make Dehydrated Jerky at Home

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