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Hey all, do many of you dehydrate meats and veggies?  what machine do you use and do you like it.  Looking to get into one and would like to purchase a decent one 

pros and cons 

 

Thanks

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I decided to go big or go home, and I am incredibly pleased with my Excalibur. It fits a metric ton of food, it seems, no need to rotate racks due to the circulation fan, and square trays with no center insert to get in the way really make a difference in terms of ease of use. Easy to clean, easy to operate, and fairly quiet as far as I am concerned. I'll recommend this unit all day long. Pricey, yes, but worth every penny! It's actually gone done from $235 or so to $225 since I bought it on Amazon 2 years ago. May not hurt to look around and see if it's even cheaper elsewhere. (Excalibur 3926TB). And the "T" is for the timer which really is a feature I use a lot.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008OV4FD0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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I have the round ones that because popular a few decades ago. They work ok but you have to keep rotating the tests to get them even. I agree with the poster above about getting a higher quality unit. Especially the fan.

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Nesco American Harvest Gardenmaster

I have been using one like this for at least 20 years. Mine is a Snackmaster Pro. I like the heat coming from bottom and circulates dandy. I dont have to rotate. If I needed a new one I would get the Gardenmaster.  108 at the depot with 8 trays.  Just did another pork loin jerky for daughter last week.   :) 

1000 watt drying power. mine has 500. 

I make a lot of jerky, whole meat and ground.  The 8 trays works good for about 4 pounds ground and 6 pounds whole meat cut 1/4 in. 

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Will do!  do you guys that do jerky, just use the packages from the box stores for seasoning.  I suppose I need to get a grinder now.   The whole meat jerky, lets say venison, do you use the hind quarter meat, pretty new to this so any help is appreciated.  And do you use just straight ground venny or do you mix it with anything

 

 

Edited by bottomdweller
add more words

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1 hour ago, bottomdweller said:

Will do!  do you guys that do jerky, just use the packages from the box stores for seasoning.  I suppose I need to get a grinder now.   The whole meat jerky, lets say venison, do you use the hind quarter meat, pretty new to this so any help is appreciated.  And do you use just straight ground venny or do you mix it with anything

 

I've done both pre-mixed and home-made, and both are good. Part of the fun is experimenting! I prefer a homemade version that's equal parts soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, onion powder and garlic powder, InstaCure, and habanero powder. I'll have to dig my recipe out to find the exact portions, but cure is the most important part to get right. I'll post a chart below of how much to use. I absolutely won't condone a recipe that doesn't include cure--it's not just a suggestion, in my opinion. With the pre-mixed (in store) seasonings, you have the cure included and balanced spice blends, so that's not a bad place to start.

 

I've done both whole muscle and ground, and while both are good, I do prefer whole muscle. It's a personal preference "Ford-Chevy" debate... Try both and see what you like. If you want to do ground jerky, then a grinder is a must. You likely will want a jerky cannon or something similar, too. For whole muscle jerky, you can use strips from just about anywhere, but yes, the hind quarter has lots of good, lean meat.

For ground meat jerky, I use straight venny. No need to mix with anything.

 

Here's the cure chart. I will try to post my recipe later when I find it!


Meat Curing Chart.jpg

 

I go with the middle option, InstaCure #1. If you want to print this chart, it'll be more clear here as a .pdf file: Curing Meat Chart.pdf

Edited by pikestabber

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I am a fan of the hi mountain jerky cures and spices. lottsa stores have a few choices. 20 years or so been using it. hickory is still my favorite.  whole or ground work dandy. also a good thing for jerky is pork loin. great jerky ! !  Just cut the fat strip off and slice about 1/4 inch thick till you get to the skinny end where the fat in the meat starts. Lem jerky gun is nice for the ground venny. Straight venny for me also for ground jerky.  have fun !

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Some other info, if you're interested:

You may be wondering about how big to cut your strips. As far as overall size, the length and width don't matter as much as the thickness. 1/4" is a good place to start. If you have a meat slicer, it's pretty easy to make accurate slices, but you can free slice and get it close enough. Partially frozen meat slices the easiest, then into the jerky marinade overnight. Drain and blot dry with paper towels, then onto the racks (I use PAM to give the racks a light spray before going in--makes clean up a lot easier.

A common frustration with new jerky makers is that even when starting with perfectly even slices, some pieces get done faster than others, and some parts of the same strip get done faster then others. It's the nature of meat. Pull the ones that look done and keep dehydrating the rest until you have it all out. It's okay if there are some uneven textures amongst slices--just bag in Ziplocs and put it in the fridge over night. This will help equalize the texture of your jerky (the "hard" parts will soften a bit, and the "soft" parts will harden a bit, and what's left is a uniform texture.

That's what works for me, anyhow! Good luck!

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there is a chart in the box so if you try it one is for ground and one is for whole.  overnight is good on ground but give the whole meat 24-36 hours.

 

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I read you should freeze your venny for 60 days so you kill any organisms.  Looks like I will be waiting a little bit.  I will have to try something else.  Wheres your favorite place to purchase cures and seasonings?  thanks again.   

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In the olden days, pigs were fed garbage.  Trichinosis was a problem.  Then laws were passed so any garbage fed to pigs had to be cooked first.  Problem went away.   According to CDC there hasn't been a case of trichinosis except from eating wild game like bear meat for many years.  

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20 hours ago, delcecchi said:

   According to CDC there hasn't been a case of trichinosis except from eating wild game like bear meat for many years.  

well that explains a lot about boar!!!!!!!!:grin::lol:

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14 hours ago, eyeguy 54 said:

bear meat sounds like the main one for problems. had some from a roast last fall that was smoked to about medium rare. man it was good. 

Live dangerously...

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