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Protector
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I just picked up a Nesco fd-27 food dehydrator at a 2nd hand shop for $8. It has 5 trays and one of the first things I want to play with is making beef jerky. I have a few questions before I get started.

My dehydrator doesn' t have a temp selector but the fan is on top of the unit. I also have taken my kid's drink pouches and prepared them to be MRE storage bags (if you haven't tried this it's great), and have about 5lbs of silica gels that I bought a few years ago to preserve the flowers after my mother's funeral.

Here are my questions:
1) How long should I dry the jerky?
2) How long will it store in no-light, mylar, heat sealed bags (juice pouches)
3) If I use the silica gel to keep the moisture out of the bags, how should I package the beads? I thought about just cutting up a bandanna and puting the beads in it - but???

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Adventurer
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19,333 Posts
I just picked up a Nesco fd-27 food dehydrator at a 2nd hand shop for $8. It has 5 trays and one of the first things I want to play with is making beef jerky. I have a few questions before I get started.

My dehydrator doesn' t have a temp selector but the fan is on top of the unit. I also have taken my kid's drink pouches and prepared them to be MRE storage bags (if you haven't tried this it's great), and have about 5lbs of silica gels that I bought a few years ago to preserve the flowers after my mother's funeral.

Here are my questions:
1) How long should I dry the jerky?
2) How long will it store in no-light, mylar, heat sealed bags (juice pouches)
3) If I use the silica gel to keep the moisture out of the bags, how should I package the beads? I thought about just cutting up a bandanna and puting the beads in it - but???

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
until its dry

dont waste ur time with bags
use a mason jar stick in oven at like 300-400 deg

take ur jerky put it in jars and put on lid while hot itl vacume seal em up pretty good and theyl last a good while
a moisture absorber might be a good thing to throw in i dunno
 

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Learning
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As far as how long it really depends on how thick the cut of meat you use is. Remember to use lean meat with little fat as the fat can get rancid even dry. I've dried mine from 7 hours for thin strip steak to 12 hours for heavily marinated thicker cuts.

I'm interested in any advice on long term storage as well. I got this book a bit ago so I'm gonna go through it this week and see it has any advice for long term storage. I'll post back if I learn something before you.
Amazon.com: Food Drying Techniques: Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletin A-197 (Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin) (9781580172189): Carol W. Costenbader: Books
 

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Banned
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until its dry

dont waste ur time with bags
use a mason jar stick in oven at like 300-400 deg

take ur jerky put it in jars and put on lid while hot itl vacume seal em up pretty good and theyl last a good while
a moisture absorber might be a good thing to throw in i dunno
Why hot? Wouldnt that create moisture in the jar?
 

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Adventurer
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Why hot? Wouldnt that create moisture in the jar?
hot air expands so when you put the lid on and it cools it wants to condence thus creating a vacume and bacteria dont live so well in the heat rice is a good moisture absorber to throw in the jar just in case too
 

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You may want to consider salting and smoking for short term preservation. For longer periods, I would be careful with drying as it can represent risks. Canning meat in a pressure canner is a safe technique if done properly and IMHO will yield a better product in the end as well.
 

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Resident misanthrope
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While building a dehydrator is on my "to do" list I suggest that you try salting then drying lamb(not sheep)meat.

If it was realistic to live of one staple food for the rest of my life, this would be the one I would pick...................
 

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Eyes wide open
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Your jerky will last until it spoils. If you dry it enough (< 0.8 aW), use the right amount of preserving additive(cure, salt, smoke), and package with VERY clean packaging(new bags, latex gloves, vacuum packaged) your jerky will last years.

Oxygen scavengers like silica work by using up any air that might still be in the bag. Make sure they are food grade, but if your vacuum packaging they won't help much.

333
 

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i soak the meat in red pepper and garlic and dry it till it is crisp and hard , after 2 years it was still good ? im still alive ! stored in jars just like you would put peaches in
 

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Mod Certified PITA!
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Alton Brown, from the Food Network program Good Eats, did a show on beef jerky once. He got into its history, how it works, how to make really GOOD jerky, and a variety of tricks you can use. Like freezing the meat you intend to cut into jerky, then letting it thaw to the point it was still firm but easy to cut so you could slice off really thin strips without too much difficulty. Here's a link to a transcript of the show

http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season9/jerky/jerky_trans.htm
 

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Adventurer
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Alton Brown, from the Food Network program Good Eats, did a show on beef jerky once. He got into its history, how it works, how to make really GOOD jerky, and a variety of tricks you can use. Like freezing the meat you intend to cut into jerky, then letting it thaw to the point it was still firm but easy to cut so you could slice off really thin strips without too much difficulty. Here's a link to a transcript of the show

http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season9/jerky/jerky_trans.htm
i just use a meat slicer like they have in the seli just smaller makes short work of that type of theing and the cuts are uniform thickness so i dont have to worry about one area drying more/less than another
 

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I have been making jerky for awhile now and usually 12 hours for the nesco is what is recommended. Myself I do a ground meat jerky, and it takes about 10 hours to dehydrate it. I would suggest going to wal-mart,k-mart or target and get you a foodsaver machine there brtween 40.00 to 60.00 bucks. Dont buy premade bags they are always to big for what you need, buy the roll and cut your own. the sausage maker is a great place to get the bags in bulk cheap. You can also get bulk seasonings through them.

If you use sillica gell beads a bandana is not enough those beads are poisonous, and they may not kill you but you will have such a bad case of diarhea you will wish you were dead. If you sufficiantly dry your meat and pack them in a vac bag you do not need the silica gel.

There jars are a great idea if you are staying in your current location if that shtf sit happens. The jars are to cumbersome.
 

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traveler
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i usually marinate 24 hours and put them in at 130 degrees for about 8 hours. Thickness would determine how long it takes to dry, and I don't dehydrate them until they snap, just firm and dry. I also use vacuum seal bags, on the roll. I like the idea of the mason jar in the oven as posted above, it might keep a lot longer that way but I've never tried it so I don't know.
 

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Looks like rain to me.
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If yopu freeze it, about a year. If you toss it in a mason jar and store it in a cool dry, dark place 4 months. That's the University Extension guideline.

Like Farmer John suggested, heat the mason jar and put a lid and ring on ity when you take it out (You don't want the rubber compound to melt away in the oven) and let the vacuum form as the jar cools, then store it in a cool dry place.

Biggest threat to spoilage is fat. Fat in the meat can go rancid and spoil the jerky.


Suggestion,
When you buy the meat from the grocery store, have the meat department slice it for you. Saves time ansd one less thing to clean up at home.
 

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Defender of Liberty
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181 Posts
It is impossible to long-term store home-made jerky. It is so delicious you will not let it go past 1-2 weeks. :D
yes, ive discoverd this myself recently. ive watched an entire pound's worth of jerky disappear before my very eyes.....but it is YUMMY!

i vacuum seal mine, and was smart enough to put a few packages in the freezer. i dont let the family touch those, so i purposefully put out a bag for us to eat. it doesnt last very long....:D:
 

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Dink3085
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11 Posts
Just out of curiosity, I saw something once that said you can get better results making beef jerky using a box fan and some air filters (happy to share more is some are interested) than with a dehydrator....something about 'dehydrating' (fan) vs. 'cooking' (dehy.) due to the heat present in commercial dehydrators. Has anyone heard anything about this?

Dink
 
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