Best Dehydrator for Jerky in 2023 – [Buying Guide]

Jerky is a versatile meal. It consists of stripped lean meat, which undergoes dehydration for preservation purposes. You can have it for breakfast, a simple lunch, or dessert at dinner. You may also carry some pieces on your lunch box as a snack.

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Most of the time, we get our jerky from the store, but did you know you can make jerky at home? It is possible if you have the right kitchen items. One of the ways to go about it is to use a dehydrator. The dehydrator, as its name hints, works by drawing water from the meat pieces. The low moisture improves the life of the meat, making it healthy for longer.

Are you planning on getting a dehydrator? If the answer is affirmative, then you are in the right place. We are reviewing the best dehydrator for jerky in the market.

Before looking at the review, we will look at how it works.

How Does the Dehydrator Work?

how-does-the-Dehydrator-Work
Photo credit: slicepizzeria  

To understand how the dehydrator works, you should know that most foods have high water content. For instance, fruits and vegetables have a water content of around 95-95%. For meats, it is approximately 50-60%.

Food moisture is a medium for microorganism growth, which can cause spoilage. Here is where the dehydrator comes through.

This cooking implement reduces the amount of water in your food due to convection. In effect, many people consider the dehydrator to be a form of a convection oven.

It has a heating element and a fan. The element produces heat, while the fan helps circulate the heat. The heat circulation warms up the food and hastens water loss via evaporation.

Dehydration kills any pathogens in the food and reduces their volume and weight. As such, storage is stress-free. The target is for the result to have less than 20% moisture.

Back to the main subject, let us look at the finest dehydrator models for jerky preparation.

COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator


(Overall Best Pick)

COSORI premium food dehydrator brings to the book several desirable characteristics. They include user-friendliness, versatility, durability, and spaciousness. Below are other features of this cooking appliance that you need to know.

Easy to Use

A thing to love about the COSORI premium food dehydrator is its beginner-friendliness. The cooker is easy to use, and even if you are new to it, you can quickly learn its controls. The digital control panel is simple to grasp and has clear-set temperature and time dials.

Additionally, the COSORI appliance’s maintenance is hassle-free. If you want to clean it, remove its racks and place them in the dishwasher. Its stainless steel exterior won’t be an issue when cleaning. A quick wipe with a wet cloth will leave it glistening.

Quiet Use

A problem that you may encounter with some cooking appliances is noise. At times, the sounds are so high that they become a nuisance. With the COSORI model, you bid goodbye to such problems, courtesy of its low noise emission.

Durability

Durability guarantees you a long service. This dehydrator is a stainless steel build, which is robust and less prone to wear. You do not have to worry about replacements and repairs, as long as you maintain it correctly.

Spaciousness

The COSORI model is pretty spacious, enough to accommodate six trays. Here, you can put several strips of jerky to serve you for several days.

Safety

When using this cooker, you have the assurance of safety. The tray liners are BPA-free. Moreover, it has functionalities like auto shut off and overheat protection. Ensure you follow kitchen safety protocols when using this cooker.

Thumbs Up

  • Easy to use and clean.
  • Noiseless operation.
  • A durable utility.
  • The dehydrator is spacious and economical in space.
  • Dishwasher-friendly parts.
  • It comes with a user manual and a recipe.

Thumbs Down

  • The fan works intermittently and may stop working sometimes. You may encounter this issue after prolonged use.

Magic Mill Food Dehydrating Machine


(Second Runner-Up)

Magic Mill food dehydrating machine is the second runner-up in this review. It has several appealing features, some of which we see below.

Versatility

Magic Mill food dehydrator is an excellent appliance for jerky preparation. You may use it to prepare other meals. Besides jerky preparation, you can use it to dry out herbs, fruits, bread crumbs, and fruit leathers.

Convenience

Magic Mill’s dehydrator is a convenient appliance. A contributing feature is a rear-mounted fan that promotes even heat distribution. The appliance’s transparent glass door allows you to check on your foods’ drying process.

This cooking utility is beginner-friendly, as using it is a seamless process. When preparing your food, you may refer to its user manual for guidance in case of any issues.

Spaciousness

The dehydrator is very spacious, accommodating seven trays. Its volume allows you to prepare several jerky pieces at one time. Additionally, it is economical on space, as it has a compact shape.

Noiseless

Does noise interfere with your peace in the kitchen? If yes, then you will love the Magic Mill appliance courtesy of its noiseless operation. The appliance hardly produces any noise when working. This is an assurance of a smooth cooking session.

Safety

This cooker is safe to use. It is BPA-free, meaning you aren’t at risk of poisoning from the synthetic compound. Furthermore, it has an Overheat protection feature. This feature prevents food from overheating and improves its overall life.

Durability

Magic Mill’s products do not disappoint when it comes to longevity, and this cooker is no exception. It has a robust structure that is less prone to wear. This translates to a lengthy service.

Thumbs Up

  • Beginner-friendly.
  • Effortless maintenance.
  • Amazing safety features.
  • The dehydrator is durable.
  • It is spacious, holding seven trays.
  • Noiseless operation.
  • Economical on space.

Thumbs Down

  • The door window occasionally comes off. You can fix it with high-temperature epoxy glue.

Nesco JerkyXpress Dehydrator


(Budget Dehydrator)

When looking for an ideal dehydrator for preparing jerky, price is a factor to consider. We present to you the finest budget cooker in Nesco JerkyXpress dehydrator. Below are more of its friendly features that you will come across.

Ease of Use

The JerkyXpress is easy to use, a hint you get when you see its simple design. It comes with a manual that you use for orientation purposes. Once you learn its ropes, you can focus on being a jerky pro.

Space

This food-drying utility has ample space to hold seven trays. Each tray has an area of 0.75 square feet, big enough to accommodate many jerky strips. It comes with four trays; however, you can get more to prepare more jerky.

Still, on space, we cannot overlook its economy. It does not take much of your kitchen room, and can adequately rest atop your table or counter. This feature is due to its compact shape that contributes to effortless maintenance.

Longevity

The Nesco JerkyXpress has a robust build, making it durable. You will prepare jerky for a long time without the fear of a breakdown.

Included Accessories

The Nesco JerkrXpress dehydrator is a full jerky preparation package. Besides the dehydrator, you have a jerky gun with three tip attachments. There are also cure samples and jerky seasonings, an instruction book, and a 52-page recipe.
If you are new to jerky preparation, this is the right package to have for orientation purposes.

Safety

This food dryer is safe to use, an attribute upheld by its plastic construction. Unlike steel or metal-built appliances, you have fewer risks of accidental burns and electric shock. On the plastic, it is BPA-free. BPA is a synthetic organic compound that can seep into your food. Exposure to this can bring about serious health conditions, mostly affecting the brain.

Thumbs Up

  • Use and maintenance are straightforward engagements.
  • It is safe to use.
  • The dehydrator is spacious, accommodating up to seven trays.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • It comes with accessories like a jerky gun, jerky seasoning, a recipe book, and cure samples.
  • Economical on space.
  • Light in weight.

Thumbs Down

  • This implement may emit some noises when running that can be a nuisance.

Elechomes 6-Tray Food Dehydrator


(Amazing Looks)

If you wish to uphold the aesthetic essence of your kitchen, Elechomes 6-tray food dehydrator is a perfect choice. It has plenty of standout aspects, some of which we can see below.

Aesthetic Factor

The Elechomes cooker has a simple yet futuristic look. Its drying chamber is transparent, set on a shiny black base with silver punctuations. If you have a minimalist-inspired kitchen, this appliance will be an excellent addition.

Space

An attribute that you will appreciate with this Elechomes model is its space economy. It does not need much room in the cooking area. When not in use, you can store it on your countertop, tabletop, or even atop your refrigerator.

Despite having a compact space, it has a roomy interior, holding up to six trays. You can prepare a lot of jerkies or diversify and have other foods on the other trays.

Versatility

The Elechomes 6-tray food dehydrator is perfect for making other foods besides jerky. You can dry fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and herbs.

User-Friendliness

User-friendliness is a top attribute to look at when getting a cooking implement. The Elechomes model is very friendly, even to beginners. Contributing elements include the digital thermostat and timer. They are easy to read and set.

Cleaning this kitchen utility stress-free. A damp cloth is the main requirement for cleaning the base. The removable trays are dishwasher-friendly.

Provided Accessories

This food preparation equipment comes with several accessories for easy use. The add-ons are a fruit roll sheet, a mesh screen, and a user manual.

Thumbs Up

  • Amazing looks.
  • Effortless maintenance and use.
  • Ample interior space that holds up to six trays.
  • You can use it to dry other foods like veggies and fruits.
  • It does not occupy much space.
  • The food dryer comes with several accessories.

Thumbs Down

  • It may produce some fumes and noise when running.

How to Make Jerky with A Dehydrator

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Photo credit: leaf  

When you get the ideal dehydrator, you now focus on the main thing, making jerky. It is a simple process, starting with selecting a perfect cut of meat. Trim fat off the cut, as it can make the meat go bad. Also, remove the silvery skin.

You now have to slice the meat into thin strips. If you are pro at handling a knife, cut the meat against the grain. Freeze the meat for around an hour for easy slicing.

A more convenient way to go is by using a jerky slicer. Weston’s single-support jerky slicer is a considerable pick.

Marinate the slices using Jim Melton’s jerky marinade for the best results. In contrast, you can use a homemade marinade. Use ingredients like vinegar, brown sugar, and pepper. Let the meat marinate for 4-24-hours in the fridge.

After marination, dab the slices with a paper towel, then put them in the dehydrator. Place them gently, ensuring that they do not overlap. Have sufficient space between them for proper aeration.

Set the time and temperature and wait for the outcome. Jerky takes 4-5 hours to be ready, at a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

In conclusion, making jerky at home is a straightforward process if you have a dehydrator. Check the review and pick the best dehydrator for jerky to have a fulfilling outcome.

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