Are you a fan of beef jerky? Do you want to learn how to make your own delicious and healthy snack at home?
Dehydrating beef jerky is a simple process that requires only a few ingredients and some patience. But how long should you dehydrate your beef jerky at 145°F?
In this article, we will explore the ideal time needed to make perfect beef jerky and provide you with some tips and tricks to ensure your jerky turns out chewy and flavorful.
So, grab a paper towel and let’s get started!
How Long To Dehydrate Beef Jerky At 145?
When dehydrating beef jerky at 145°F, the ideal time needed for the process is between 9 and 10 hours. However, the exact time can vary depending on the thickness of the slices and your personal taste preferences.
It’s important to note that dehydrating beef jerky is all about removing the water content from the meat, which concentrates the flavor and allows it to be stored for a longer period. To achieve this, you need to slice the meat into thin strips and season it with your preferred spices.
Once you have seasoned the beef, place it on a dehydrator rack, making sure that the pieces do not overlap each other. Set the temperature to 145°F and leave it in the dehydrator for around 9-10 hours.
After this time, check the color of the beef jerky to see if it has turned black or brown. If it has, then it’s ready to be removed from the dehydrator. However, if it’s still too moist, you may need to leave it in for a little longer.
The Importance Of Temperature And Time In Dehydrating Beef Jerky
The temperature and time are crucial factors when it comes to dehydrating beef jerky. The ideal temperature for dehydrating beef jerky is between 145°F and 155°F. This temperature range is important because it ensures that any harmful bacteria or pathogens are eliminated from the meat during the drying process.
It’s also important to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the entire drying process. Fluctuations in temperature can affect the quality of the beef jerky and may even lead to spoilage. Therefore, it’s essential to use a dehydrator with a thermostat control that goes up to at least 150°F to ensure that the meat maintains a safe temperature.
The time needed for dehydrating beef jerky can vary depending on the thickness of the slices and your personal taste preferences. However, it’s important to ensure that the internal temperature of the meat reaches at least 160°F before reducing the temperature to 145°F. This ensures that any harmful bacteria or pathogens are eliminated from the meat.
Over-drying beef jerky can result in a tough and chewy texture, while under-drying can lead to spoilage. Therefore, it’s crucial to check the meat regularly throughout the drying process to ensure that it’s drying evenly and not over or under-drying.
Factors That Affect Dehydration Time
Several factors can affect the dehydration time of beef jerky when dehydrating at 145°F. These include:
1. Thickness of the Slices: The thickness of the beef jerky slices plays a significant role in determining the dehydration time. The thicker the slices, the longer it takes to dehydrate. If you are using pre-sliced beef jerky, it will take between 9-10 hours to dehydrate completely. However, if you slice your beef jerky, aim for slices that are 1/4 inch thick. These thicker slices will take longer to dehydrate, and you may need to leave them in the dehydrator for up to 12 hours.
2. Humidity Level: The humidity level in your dehydrator can also affect dehydration time. If you live in a dry climate, your beef jerky will dehydrate faster than if you live in a more humid climate. In general, you can expect beef jerky to take 1-2 hours longer to dehydrate in a humid environment.
3. Type of Meat: The type of meat used can also impact dehydration time. Beef that has a higher fat content will take longer to dehydrate than leaner cuts of beef. For this reason, it is best to use lean cuts of beef when making beef jerky. These leaner cuts will usually take between 9-10 hours to dehydrate completely.
4. Equipment Configuration: The configuration of your dehydrator equipment can also impact dehydration time. Make sure that the meat strips are arranged on the racks close to each other but not touching. This allows for proper air circulation and even dehydration.
How To Prepare Your Beef Jerky For Dehydration
Before you can begin dehydrating your beef jerky at 145°F, you need to properly prepare the meat. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Choose the right cut of beef: The best cuts of beef for making jerky are lean cuts like top round, bottom round, or flank steak. Trim any visible fat from the meat before slicing.
2. Slice the beef: Use a sharp knife to slice the beef against the grain into thin strips, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. For easier slicing, you can freeze the meat for about 30 minutes before cutting.
3. Marinate the meat: Place the sliced beef in a bowl or resealable plastic bag and add your preferred marinade. You can use a store-bought marinade or make your own using ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and spices. Make sure to coat all the meat evenly and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
4. Drain the meat: After marinating, remove the meat from the marinade and drain off any excess liquid. You can use a colander or paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
5. Arrange on dehydrator trays: Place the meat strips on dehydrator trays in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch each other. Leave some space between each piece to allow for air circulation.
6. Dehydrate at 145°F: Set your dehydrator to 145°F and let it run for about 9-10 hours or until the jerky is dry and slightly bendable without breaking.
By following these steps, you can prepare your beef jerky for dehydration and achieve delicious, homemade jerky that is perfect for snacking on-the-go or sharing with friends and family.
Tips For Achieving Perfectly Chewy And Flavorful Beef Jerky
To achieve perfectly chewy and flavorful beef jerky, there are a few tips you can follow:
1. Use lean cuts of meat: Beef cuts such as round, flank, or sirloin work best for jerky as they have less fat content. This will help the jerky to dry out evenly and prevent spoilage.
2. Cut the meat against the grain: This will make the jerky easier to chew and give it a better texture.
3. Marinate the meat: A good marinade can add flavor and tenderize the meat. You can use a store-bought marinade or create your own with ingredients such as soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar.
4. Preheat the dehydrator or oven: Preheating your dehydrator or oven to 145°F will ensure that any bacteria on the meat are killed before drying.
5. Use a food thermometer: A food thermometer is essential in checking the temperature of the meat. Make sure that the internal temperature of the jerky reaches 160°F to ensure that it is safe to eat.
6. Dry the jerky evenly: Make sure that the beef strips are evenly spaced on the dehydrator rack to allow for proper air circulation. This will ensure that the jerky dries out evenly and prevents spoilage.
By following these tips, you can achieve perfectly chewy and flavorful beef jerky every time. Remember to always follow safe meat handling procedures and use clean utensils to prevent cross-contamination.
Storing And Enjoying Your Homemade Beef Jerky.
Once your homemade beef jerky is ready, it’s time to store it properly so that it stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible. The best way to store beef jerky is in an airtight container or ziplock bag in a cool, dry place. You can also use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air from the package, which will help it last even longer.
If stored properly, your homemade beef jerky can last for up to 2 months. However, if you want to extend its shelf life even further, you can freeze it. To do this, simply place the beef jerky in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 6 months.
When it comes to enjoying your homemade beef jerky, there are endless possibilities. You can eat it as a snack on its own, or use it to add flavor and protein to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes. It’s also great for taking on hikes or road trips as a convenient and satisfying snack.