How Long to Dehydrate Jerky Nesco: Tips and Tricks
Creating delicious homemade beef jerky is a satisfying and tasty process, but it can also be a little tricky. There are several steps involved in producing premium-quality jerky, and one of the most important factors is dehydrating. The drying time for jerky can vary depending on several factors such as thickness, temperature, humidity, and the type of dehydrator used. In this article, we’ll discuss how long to dehydrate jerky Nesco, one of the leading brands in the food dehydrator industry.
Dehydrating Jerky: The Basics
Before we dive into the specifics of Nesco dehydrating, let’s talk about the general process of dehydrating beef jerky. Dehydrating is the process of removing moisture from meat, which inhibits the growth of bacteria and prolongs its shelf life. Here are the steps for dehydrating beef jerky:
1. Choose the right type of beef – Jerky is typically made from lean cuts of beef such as flank steak, sirloin, or round roast. Make sure to trim off any fat or connective tissue before slicing.
2. Slice the meat – Slice the beef into thin strips approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. If you prefer a chewier jerky, slice against the grain. If you prefer a more tender jerky, slice with the grain.
3. Marinate – Marinate the beef strips in your desired seasonings and spices for at least 8 hours, or even up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. This will ensure that the beef is well seasoned and tenderized.
4. Arrange the meat – Space the beef strips out on your Nesco dehydrator trays, making sure they don’t overlap. Leave some space around the edges to allow for even air circulation and faster drying time.
5. Set the temperature – Set the Nesco dehydrator to 160℉, which is the recommended temperature for beef jerky.
6. Dry the meat – Depending on thickness and humidity, the drying time can vary from 4 to 12 hours.
How Long to Dehydrate Jerky Nesco?
Now that you have a general idea of the jerky-making process, let’s talk about the specifics of dehydrating beef jerky using Nesco.
Nesco dehydrators are known for their high-quality performance and user-friendly design. They come with a temperature control system that allows you to set the temperature precisely in 5-degree increments. This is crucial for dehydrating jerky because a consistent temperature is necessary for even drying.
The dehydrating time for Nesco jerky can vary from 4 to 12 hours depending on several factors. The most significant factor is the thickness of your beef jerky. Thin beef jerky will dry faster than thicker strips.
Another factor is the internal temperature of the dehydrator. Nesco recommends dehydrating jerky at 160℉, but if your dehydrator has hot spots, it may take longer to dry.
Lastly, the humidity in your region also affects the drying time. If you live in a humid area, you may need to extend the drying time by a few hours to get the desired texture.
As a general guideline, here’s a table showing how long to dehydrate jerky Nesco based on the thickness of the meat:
|Thickness | Dehydrating Time|
|1/8 inch | 4 to 5 hours |
|1/4 inch | 5 to 6 hours |
|3/8 inch | 6 to 8 hours |
|1/2 inch | 8 to 12 hours |
It’s always best to start with a shorter drying time and check the texture frequently. The desired texture of beef jerky can vary from chewy to crispy, depending on your preference.
Tips and Tricks for Dehydrating Jerky with Nesco
To get the best results when dehydrating beef jerky with Nesco, here are some tips and tricks to follow:
1. Slice the meat evenly – To ensure even drying, slice the meat into uniform thicknesses. Use a mandoline slicer or kitchen knife to achieve consistent cuts.
2. Use a meat tenderizer –Using a meat tenderizer will ensure the strips are evenly thin and tender.
3. Preheat the dehydrator – Preheat your Nesco dehydrator for 10 minutes before placing your meat inside. This will help to prevent bacteria growth.
4. Space the meat strips evenly – Don’t overcrowd the trays when arranging the beef strips. Overcrowding will hinder airflow, leading to uneven drying.
5. Check the texture constantly – Different cuts of beef and thicknesses can result in varying drying times. Check the jerky frequently, and remove the strips when they reach the desired texture.
Q. Can I dehydrate jerky with Nesco in the oven?
Yes, you can make jerky with Nesco in the oven, but the process will take longer. An average oven takes longer to dry jerky, and it may not give you the desired texture. If you want homemade jerky, it’s best to invest in a proper Nesco dehydrator.
Q. Can I store the Nesco beef jerky in the fridge?
Yes, you can store Nesco beef jerky in the fridge. Store the jerky in a plastic bag, remove as much air as possible to avoid moisture.
Q. How long can Nesco beef jerky last?
Nesco beef jerky can last up to 2 months if stored properly. Sealed in an airtight container, in a pantry or fridge. If dehydrated beef jerky is exposed to excess moisture, it might spoil earlier.
Q. Can I use a Nesco dehydrator to make other snacks?
Yes, you can use a Nesco dehydrator to make other nutrient-dense snacks such as apple chips, banana chips, and more. A Nesco dehydrator is versatile, and it’s essential for making healthy snacks.
Q. Can I make jerky from other meats with Nesco?
Yes, you can make jerky from other meats such as chicken, fish, and turkey with Nesco. However, the drying time and temperature settings may be different. Follow the specific instructions for each type of meat, and adjust the temperature and time accordingly.
In summary, dehydrating beef jerky with Nesco is a fun and rewarding process that requires careful preparation and patience. The key to achieving the perfect jerky texture is to slice the meat evenly, marinate it thoroughly, and dehydrate it properly. Always check the jerky’s texture frequently to avoid over-drying or under-drying. With these tips and tricks, you can create delicious and healthy homemade beef jerky that everyone will love.