How Long To Dehydrate Beef Jerky At 160? A Simple Guide

Are you a fan of beef jerky? Do you want to know how long it takes to dehydrate beef jerky at 160 degrees?

Look no further! In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of dehydrating beef jerky, including tips and tricks for making the perfect batch.

Whether you’re using a dehydrator or an oven, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn everything you need to know about dehydrating beef jerky at 160 degrees.

How Long To Dehydrate Beef Jerky At 160?

When it comes to dehydrating beef jerky at 160 degrees, the length of time can vary depending on a few factors. Generally, it should take around 4-5 hours for jerky strips that are less than 1/4 inch thick. However, if your jerky strips are thicker than 1/4 inch, it may require up to 8 hours.

It’s important to conduct a bend test to ensure that you don’t overdo the jerky. This means taking a piece of jerky and bending it to see if it snaps or breaks. If it does, then it’s overdone. If it bends without breaking, then it’s just right.

When placing your beef cuts in the dehydrator or oven, remember to leave as much room between the slices as possible. This allows the air to circulate freely, allowing the meat to dry more uniformly.

Most types of food dehydrators can be used to make beef jerky, so any brand will do. However, Nesco dehydrators are particularly popular among beef jerky fanatics.

If you’re using an oven instead of a dehydrator, you can still make delicious beef jerky. Simply slice the meat into thin strips and marinate it overnight in a mixture of salt, onion salt, garlic powder, pepper, ketchup, liquid smoke flavoring, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. Then, arrange the meat strips evenly on a rack in the oven and dehydrate at 160 degrees for 4-8 hours.

It’s important to note that dehydrating anything, not just jerky, is a process that needs your attention. While we can give you a rough estimate of how long it will take to dehydrate your jerky at 160 degrees, there needs to be some checking towards the end of the process to get it just right.

In most cases, dehydrating jerky could take anywhere between 5-15 hours depending on different variables. An example recipe that uses a simple marinade takes roughly 6-10 hours to dry.

Why Dehydrate Beef Jerky At 160 Degrees?

Dehydrating beef jerky at 160 degrees is important for two reasons: food safety and flavor. Any meat, fish, or poultry used for jerky should be treated with a method known to kill harmful microorganisms that may be present. Traditional drying methods use temperatures that are not high enough to kill the pathogens, so some other step is needed to assure food safety.

Research has shown that post-drying heating in the oven, pre-cooking methods, and soaking the meat in a vinegar solution are three methods that produce safe jerky. However, cooking the meat before or after may be an extra safety step that is not really necessary for beef.

Dehydrating at 160 degrees also helps to preserve the flavor of the beef. At this temperature, the meat will dry out evenly without becoming too tough or overcooked. It also helps to develop a rich, smoky flavor that is characteristic of good beef jerky.

It’s important to remember that dehydrating beef jerky at 160 degrees is just one step in the process. To ensure that your jerky is safe and delicious, it’s important to follow all of the steps carefully, including marinating the meat and conducting a bend test to check for doneness. With a little patience and attention to detail, you can make delicious beef jerky at home that is both safe and satisfying.

How To Prepare Beef Jerky For Dehydration

Before you can start dehydrating your beef jerky, you need to prepare the meat. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare beef jerky for dehydration:

1. Choose the right cut of meat: The best cuts of meat for beef jerky are lean and low in fat. Eye of round, flank steak, and sirloin are all great options. You can also use venison or other game meat if you prefer.

2. Remove any visible fat: Fat doesn’t dehydrate well and can cause your jerky to spoil faster. Use a sharp knife to remove any visible fat from your meat before slicing it.

3. Slice the meat: Use a sharp knife to slice your meat into thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick. You can slice it with or against the grain, depending on the texture you prefer.

4. Marinate the meat: To add flavor to your jerky, marinate it in a mixture of your favorite seasonings and spices. You can use a store-bought marinade or make your own using ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.

5. Refrigerate the meat: Once you’ve marinated your meat, cover it and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat.

6. Drain the marinade: Before dehydrating your jerky, remove it from the marinade and drain off any excess liquid. You don’t need to rinse the meat before drying it.

7. Arrange the meat on dehydrator trays: Lay out your jerky strips in a single layer on dehydrator trays, making sure they don’t overlap. Leave some space between each strip to allow for airflow.

8. Dehydrate the jerky: Set your dehydrator to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and let it run for 4-8 hours, depending on the thickness of your jerky strips. Check on your jerky periodically and rotate the trays if necessary to ensure even drying.

9. Conduct a bend test: When your jerky is done, remove it from the dehydrator and let it cool completely. Then, conduct a bend test by bending a piece of jerky in half. If it bends without breaking, it’s ready to eat! If it snaps or breaks, it needs more time in the dehydrator.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to prepare your beef jerky for dehydration and get perfectly dried, flavorful jerky every time!

Dehydrating Beef Jerky In A Dehydrator

Dehydrating beef jerky in a dehydrator is a popular and effective way to make this delicious snack. Here are some tips to help you get started:

– Before slicing your beef, consider placing it in the freezer for two hours. This will make it easier to slice thinly, which is important for even drying.

– Slice your beef against the grain, approximately 1/8″ thick. This will result in tender jerky that breaks easily.

– Mix together a marinade of your choice and pour it over the sliced beef in a ziplock plastic bag. Make sure the marinade is evenly coating the meat and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

– Remove the beef from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. This will speed up the cooking time.

– Lay the jerky strips in a single layer on dehydrator trays and set your food dehydrator at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Dehydrate, rotating racks each hour, for 4-8 hours, or until the beef jerky is dry and cracks when you bend it.

– Be sure to leave enough space between each strip of beef to allow for proper air circulation during drying. This will help ensure that the jerky dries evenly.

– Check on your jerky periodically towards the end of the drying process to avoid over-drying. Use the bend test mentioned earlier to determine when your jerky is done.

Dehydrating Beef Jerky In An Oven

Dehydrating beef jerky in an oven is a great alternative to using a food dehydrator. To start, preheat your oven to 160°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. This will allow for air circulation around the beef strips.

After marinating your beef strips overnight, place them on the wire rack in a single layer, leaving some space in between each strip. If you have multiple baking sheets, make sure to rotate them every hour or so to ensure even drying.

Depending on the thickness of your beef strips, it can take anywhere from 4-8 hours to fully dehydrate in the oven. It’s important to keep an eye on the jerky towards the end of the drying process and conduct a bend test to ensure it’s not overdone.

Once the jerky is fully dehydrated, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container. If you’ve trimmed all the fat from your beef strips, they should last up to two weeks at room temperature. However, if there’s still fat present, it’s best to store the jerky in the fridge.

Tips For Making The Perfect Batch Of Beef Jerky

If you want to make the perfect batch of beef jerky, there are a few tips you should keep in mind. Here are some of the most important ones:

1. Choose the right cut of meat: For the best results, choose lean cuts of beef like flank steak or sirloin. Fattier cuts can result in greasy, chewy jerky.

2. Slice the meat thinly: The thinner the slices, the faster and more evenly they will dry. Aim for slices that are no more than 1/4 inch thick.

3. Use a marinade: Marinades not only add flavor to your jerky, but they also help tenderize the meat. You can use a pre-made marinade or create your own using ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.

4. Let it marinate overnight: For the best flavor and texture, let your meat marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

5. Don’t overcrowd the dehydrator or oven: Leave plenty of space between the meat slices to allow for proper air circulation.

6. Check on it frequently: While there are general guidelines for how long it takes to dehydrate beef jerky at 160 degrees, every batch is different. Check on your jerky frequently towards the end of the drying process to make sure it doesn’t overcook.

7. Store it properly: Once your jerky is fully dried, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It should last for several weeks to a few months depending on how well it’s stored.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making delicious, perfectly dried beef jerky every time!

Storing And Enjoying Your Homemade Beef Jerky

Once your homemade beef jerky is dehydrated and ready to be stored, it’s important to keep it fresh and tasty for as long as possible. The ideal way to store beef jerky is in an airtight container in a cool, dry place such as a pantry or kitchen cabinet. This will help maintain the peak flavor and freshness of your homemade jerky.

It’s important to note that oxygen can affect the shelf life of your beef jerky. Commercial beef jerky manufacturers use nitrogen to flush out the oxygen from their packaging before sealing it. While this isn’t practical for home use, there are a few things you can do to keep your homemade beef jerky fresh for longer.

One option is to add food-grade oxygen absorbers to your plastic bag or canning jar. This will help eliminate the oxygen in the package and prevent bacteria growth, extending the shelf life of your jerky. Another option is to use vacuum packaging to extract oxygen, which works great for storing homemade jerky. If you’re a hunter, you may already have a vacuum sealer in your pantry that you can use for storing game meat and fish.

It’s also important to store your beef jerky in dark, cool places like a pantry or kitchen cabinet. Direct sunlight can cause condensation within the bag, which could result in mold. If you notice water droplets inside your jerky bag, it means the jerky wasn’t dried long enough. Remove the jerky and dehydrate it longer.

If you want to keep your jerky for longer than 1-2 months, you can freeze it for up to 6 months. However, freezing can alter the taste of jerky, so it’s best to make smaller batches and eat within a month or two rather than making a big batch all at once.

When enjoying your homemade beef jerky, make sure to label each bag or jar with the date that you made it on and keep an eye on it from time to time. If it’s going bad, it will generally become much drier and turn a darker color. The smell of it may also slightly change.