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Best Beef Jerky Food Dehydrators 2017

Updated on February 9, 2017
Making your own homemade beef jerky isn't that difficult if you've got a decent food dehydrator. Here are a few I'd recommend.
Making your own homemade beef jerky isn't that difficult if you've got a decent food dehydrator. Here are a few I'd recommend.

Make your Own Inexpensive, Fresh, and Flavorful Beef Jerky

Beef jerky bought in a store is expensive and not all that well done. Using a dehydrator to make your own beef jerky allows you to have complete control not only over the process, but the ingredients you use as well.

I like to make a variety of homemade beef jerky from black pepper, teriyaki, and other general recipes you can easily found online.

What cut of meat should you use for beef jerky?

I typically use brisket if I have it or if not loin, sirloin, top round, flank or basically any other very lean cut of meat that I can round up.

I use other types of meat as well. All of this can be done in a good dehydrator. So, if you're ready to take the next step in making homemade beef jerky, here are a few dehydrators I'd recommend.

The 15 square feet of drying space on the Excalibur leaves you plenty of room to make it in bulk.
The 15 square feet of drying space on the Excalibur leaves you plenty of room to make it in bulk.

5 Good Dehydrators for Beef Jerky

Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator

if you've got a budget of around $200, start with the Excalibur 2900 ECB 9-tray dehydrator. It has a jerky setting and timer that makes it super easy so that you don't have to constantly check on it.

This is a popular model of dehydrator because of the reputation that Excaliber has in making these kinds of products. You can dry any kind of fruit, vegetable or meat that you can imagine. Something that many users like is that you can dehydrate bigger items instead of just little pieces.

This machine incorporates a trademarked horizontal airflow drying system which is located in the back of the unit, which dries your food evenly. Because of this feature, you don't need to rotate any of your trays, which save you time and make it very convenient. It measures 19" wide, 17" high and has 9 trays for your drying projects which give you up to 15 square feet of drying space.

For your bigger items, the trays can be removed to make more room; every tray is on its own shelf for easier moving. Some users don't like to use plastic dehydrators but this is made with FDA approved polycarbonate plastic.

Many users claim that this is a loud machine and that might be a deal breaker for you, but aside from that, most reviews show that this is a well-used and well liked product.

Nesco/American Harvest FD-80 Dehydrator

Many people who have used this dehydrator have raved over how easy it is to use. There is no need to rotate the trays because of the air circulation system it was made with, though some users say that the drying is a little uneven.

It is quite easy to clean by simply putting your trays in your dishwasher. Buyers should be aware that they need to turn off the heat dry setting on their dishwashers before doing so however. The thermostat is adjustable and there are printed guidelines on the machine itself.

The Harvest FD-80 measures 14.5 x 14.5 by 9 5/8". Another thing that people seem to like is the fact that this machine is square shaped so there is more room to dry compared to round shaped competitors. It runs on 700 watts of power and will give you drying time in hours instead of days.

The fan is mounted on the top so your liquids won't drip into the heating chamber. This device comes with 4 trays but you can use up to 4 more for a total of 8 trays. Uses have reported that this machine is also a bit noisy, but they are happy that it dries food very quickly.

New Beef Jerky Dehydrator

STX Dehydra DEH-004 Dehydrator

This next machine comes with a full 10 trays for your drying pleasure. It is also dishwasher safe to make cleaning a snap and it only takes up about 190 square feet of drying space. You also get 4 drawers of extra big space for larger objects.

It incorporates a horizontal air flow with the elements in the back of the unit. It uses 600 watts of power and goes from 85 degrees to 155 degrees of heat temperature.

For the price, this machine has been found to be of decent quality. Users love that it comes with sheets for making fruit rollup type foods. Some users have also reviewed that this machine seems to take a bit longer for drying food than some others on the market. In my opinion, this machine seems to run quieter than others as well.

Best Food Dehydrator

Cabela's Commercial Food Dehydrator

This dehydrator is a perfect choice for someone who has a business making dried foods, or a family who likes to use it for food storage. This is a great machine for someone who does not want to take the time to swap out their food several times a day and it will dry large quantities quite easily. The 80 liter model has 12 nonstick drying racks for a total of 28 square feet. It uses up to 1,600 watts of power to run and has a fully insulated housing unit that maintains drying temperatures of 160 degrees with a max dry time of 12 hours.

There is a drain reservoir that catches any drippings and makes clean up a lot easier. The doors in front are made of glass so you can see the progress of your food without letting the heat out by opening the unit. All the controls are digital and user friendly. The machine has an automatic shut off feature so you don't have to worry about over drying your food, and this is a feature that is very popular among users. This dehydrator will dry any kind of food you would like but most users have found that it is exceptional for jerky. This makes a good machine for someone who hunts and makes their own jerky from their kills - very fresh and very tasty.

A Good Value Dehydrator for the Money 2014

Aroma AFD-615 Dehydrator

Another inexpensive option is this dehydrator by Aroma. It has automatic and reversible revolving trays for faster and more even drying. The lid is vented for moisture control and it has a drip protection feature that makes cleaning up a bit easier. This device is good for drying anything you might want but seems to do better with fruits and vegetables and herbs. It has five very spacious trays that can be adjusted for different heights. The electric fan keeps air moving and the rotating trays eliminate over drying of your food.

It also comes with a fruit leather sheet, drying screen and an instructional cookbook to help you learn how to dehydrate food correctly. Users love how easy this device is to use and many are surprised at how quickly it dries. Others have said that it takes a long time but all instructions must be followed for proper drying. However, if you are used to more top end models, this might not deliver all that you expect. But for an affordable option, this machine seems to be highly rated by users. The rotating trays and fan do make this the quietest of dehydrators but most machines are noisy to a degree.

© 2012 Brandon Hart

What's your Experience with Dehydrating Food?

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      8 years ago

      Would be nice to make my own jerky - then I get to control the sodium intake for myself! And I bet it's cheaper than buying the store-bought stuff.


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