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Need advice on jerky making equipment: dehydrators & slicers

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  • Need advice on jerky making equipment: dehydrators & slicers

    So my husband has been asking me what I want for xmas. I've been thinking about making my own jerky and doing some dehydrating in general. I'm pretty sure I want a dehydrator. I've been looking at the Excalibur. I also saw some videos about a newer one called the Sedona but I don't see it available many places. The Sedona seems quieter, which is nice, but the Excalibur is tried and true. Plus it's made here in the US not far from where I live. Not sure if anyone has the Sedona, but I'm curious if folks have an opinion. I'm pretty sure I'll go with the Excalibur. Hard to resist Made in the USA.

    My other question was about meat slicers. Does anyone have one they love? Do they make much of a difference or is it really just a luxury?


  • #2
    We have both a dehydrator and meat slicer, probably both are used 90% for jerky making. I have occasionally dried some veggies and herbs, but jerky seems to be its main use.

    Here are a couple thoughts, things I have found, might help you decide on what you want or if you want one.

    I would say the Excalibur is definitely the most trusted dehydrator on the market.

    We have a less expensive model (I think its this one The only thing that I find the biggest pain with making jerky is trying to get the trays clean afterward, but its really not that big of a deal if I let them soak for a bit. Oh, and ours doesn't have a timer, so I use one of those simple plug in timers you can get at a hardware store for a few bucks.

    As for a slicer, we got one from bass pro half off on a black friday a few years back, similar to this model Open Country® Electric Food Slicer | Bass Pro Shops. Its not super high end either, but as infrequently as we use it, I couldn't justify spending more. Two big hassles, the feet don't stick to the counter so it slides unless I prop something behind it, and two, it doesn't have a high power motor so can bog down a bit. But we can use it on blocks of cheese from the warehouse store, making jerky (partially freeze the meat first), and I occasionally smoke some wild game that I slice for lunch roll ups.

    I do think the meat slicer is really nice for making jerky, but I wonder if the clean up time of the slicer is probably about the same as the time it would take to cut it by hand . On the flip side, homemade jerky is best when you can get the width consistent, which is sometimes hard to do by hand depending on your cut of meat.

    If I lived in a smaller space like an apartment, I don't think I could justify storing those two large accessories. I would probably just use the oven method and cut the jerky by hand.
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    • #3
      I just have my butcher slice the london broil for me when I buy it. Who needs another gadget you use once a onth taking up space in the kitchen?


      • #4
        I just made my first batch of jerky, went very well! Made about 1.5lbs of London Broil, took about 5 hours at 160 F. My only problem is getting the trays clean! I soaked them for an hour, but I still can't get the marinade/brown stuff off from between the slats. Any suggestions?
        Overweight athlete going PRIMAL

        SW: 228lb
        GW: 160lb by August 2012

        11/24/11- 222
        12/30/11- 229
        1/7/12- 225
        1/17/12 (2 weeks into Whole30)- 218
        5/15/12- 218 (Need motivation to eat a clean Primal diet!!)


        • #5
          How do you find the electricity consumption of the dehydrator(s)? That is holding me back really...


          • #6
            I've had a nesco 'pressAIRizer' for around 15 years. On any dehydrator you want an adjustable fan and adjustable temperature. I've never had a timer on mine so I don't really miss it or even feel the need for one. Mine has the fan and heat on the bottom, not a design I would recommend, it's not easy to clean drips out of. Excalibur has a very good reputation, although I haven't tried one. My dehydrator has mesh tray liners which help with getting stuff off the trays and clean up. My trays are too big to fit in the dishwasher so I soak them in soapy water in the sink and use a brush to scrub stuff off of them. When I've made jerky, I've sliced it partially frozen across the grain. Getting the store to slice it sounds easier. My first batch I sliced with the grain and it was very very chewy. Watch the salt levels on your marinade, I've had jerky come out with salt crystals on it. Use the leanest meat you can find, fat goes rancid. I also tend to store my jerky in the freezer until I am ready to use it to keep it fresher.