Making Beef Jerky Using A Food Dehydrator!

Written by Robert

I have been making beef jerky for years. Friends who have tried my preparation say it is the best they have ever had. Surprisingly, it boils them down to only one question, “How to make beef jerky with a dehydrator like I do?”

The curiosity of my friends and relatives has made me write this post. If you also have the inquisitiveness to know about how to make beef jerky, then read it till the last and get aware of the processes in an appropriate manner.

Hope this helps you in getting a hold on preparing the best possible beef jerky at home!

Let’s Have A Look At How To Make Beef Jerky With A Dehydrator

The first and foremost thing that comes to mind is, “Will I be able to enjoy the taste and flavor of beef jerky with my family and friends?” Nothing to be bothered about, I have explained everything in a step-by-step procedure of how to make beef jerky at home so that it can be replicated easily.

Step 1: Selecting The Right Cut Of Meat

It is always better to start with a lean piece (flank steak, sirloin, top round and like that). It not only saves your time but also tastes better.

Step 2: Remove The Visible Fat

When you slice the meat into thin strips, you can observe noticeable fat. These can easily be removed or trimmed out. Otherwise, it may ruin the process of making the tastiest beef jerky.

Moreover, fat does not dry and leads to spoil the meat at a faster rate. You can’t even make it chewy for eating and enjoying your moment.


You can cut slices in two ways; either cut along the grain or against it. However, cutting against the grain is preferred because it becomes much easier to chew.

Step 3: Use Solution (Not Mandatory)

For a different taste of beef jerky, you can marinate a few slices with the solution of olive oil and vinegar sea salt (sometimes I use it).

You can even recipe your preferences using brown sugar and place it in the refrigerator. A minimum of 10 hours to maximum 24 hours is sufficient enough for absorbing the flavor.

Some of the other combinations which I have tried includes-

  • Honey, mustard seeds, lime, garlic, soy sauce and dark Belgian ale
  • Brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Tabasco and liquid smoke

I have heard that people also use jalapeno, Habanero and Anaheim peppers in their beef jerky recipes. However, you can do other experiments as well.

Step 4: Add Seasonings

Now, it is the time to try powdered cinnamon, pepper, salt, coriander, cumin, chili, paprika and clove for seasonings. You can also eliminate a few items depending on your requirement.

Step 5: Place In A Dehydrator

Finally, we have reached the stage of removing the moisture by dehydrating it in a standard way.

Place each slice of meat on the metal grill leaving sufficient space in between. It allows the air to flow and dehydrate all properly.

Step 6: Wait For 5 – 12 Hours (Depending On The Thickness Of The Slices)

In most of the cases, it becomes wonderful beef jerky within eight hours.

Well, you have to check the consistency on regular basis after every 2 hours initially and reduce the time thereafter. Certainly, this helps in identifying the jerky whether it has met your satisfaction level or not.


Remember, it should not remain raw inside. So, wait until it turns a deep brown color.

Now, take out the dehydrated meat and keep it for drying up to 5 hours.

I think you will feel glad to see the beef jerky has finally been prepared then. Above all, your efforts have done the things very skillfully.

Step 7: Store It Properly

For storage, you can utilize different packing objects such as vacuum sealed bags, zip lock bags, or air tight containers. This will be the end result-

  • A vacuum sealer allows the users to vacuum seal the beef jerky that lasts up to 1 – 2 months
  • Storing in a zip lock bags can keep it in an ideal condition for 7 – 10 days
  • An air tight container storage might last up to 2 – 3 days. It is most preferred when you are on the approach of tasting the freshly prepared, homemade beef jerky.

Make sure you haven’t forgotten to turn off the dehydrator. Or else, you have to pay additional charges. I know it will never happen.


For the most part, I have had several trial and error methods a few years ago about how to make homemade beef jerky before finalizing this one.

If you have the wish to prepare the tastiest and lip-snacking beef jerky at home, follow the procedure what I have discussed on the top. This will surely make you an expert from a novice on choosing the meat, how to cut and make your own beef jerky for your purpose.

Check Out Why You Should Prefer Dehydrated Meat For Preservation

Some of my friends asked me why you do prefer dehydrated meat when several new techniques have been evolved for making homemade beef jerky. I have a simple answer to their question, “It makes me feel real.”

Of course, there are modern methods of meat preservation (drying meat into jerky) such as freezing, chemicals and more. But I always prefer making beef jerky in a dehydrator over these methods because of its additional advantages.

The Benefits Of Making Beef Jerky In A Food Dehydrator Include-

  • Tastes Great

Without moisture or water content, the meat becomes rich in taste and delicious

  • All Natural

In processed meat, many additives and preservatives are used. But you can have a great control on these items with dehydrated meat.

  • Less Expensive

Processed meat cost higher than dehydrated products because of its multiple preserving methods that require a crucial sum investment.

  • Portable

It won’t be difficult to carry packed dehydrated meat in a plastic bag at work or other places.

  • Reduces Waste

By using a dehydrator, you can store food items and reduce waste considerably.


Food wastage is a big problem in the US. If we store food items, it can manage to reduce waste of $165 billion approx. every year.

Final Words

I put together all necessary steps to answer your question, “How to make beef jerky with a dehydrator?” It’s not the best one, but it can be treated as a great learning tool.

So, try this method at home and let me know how you enjoy the taste with your family and friends. Just leave a comment below and share your opinions!

About the author


Robert is a food enthusiast and a critique. He works as a head chef in a popular food joint at Cherry Hills, NJ. In his free times he likes to visit popular food forums and also contribute for Food Gear magazine. In his articles he shares his experiences with us.

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