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Old 11-12-2010, 03:23 PM
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pat3332 pat3332 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default Re: Making Your Own Treats

Got my dehydrator and so far have fixed sweet potatoes, chicken breast jerky and beef jerky from a round roast. I've been practicing, so I'm going to add some pictures as I go.



New square deyhdrator from Nesco. Different than I thought. I thought the trays would fit inside the dehydrator, but there is a base that you place the first tray on, then as you stack the trays on each other the trays themselves form the exterior of the dehydrator. It comes with 4 trays, and you can add 4 extra trays if needed.



Top of the dehydrator that just fits on the top of the top tray.



My first attempt was sweet potato. I didn't think they had as much flavor as I'd hoped. I didn't blanch them first and I will try that next time. Bailey however was very impressed. Katie, our Schipperke is more picky and seemed to agree with me.



This is the finished chicken jerky. We eat a lot of chicken and I always get the 7 pound packages of breast with skin and rib bones. The chicken needs to be cooked before dehydrating and since I grill everything, I just got 2 packages, grilled all of the breasts and split them up for our salads and their jerky. After they cool enough not to burn me when I handle them, I always remove the skin and bones. Much easier to do after they've cooked and before they're refrigerated. These came out much better than the sweet potatoes. Got Katie's seal of approval. Bailey approves of everything that comes out of our hands.





A couple of pictures of the next project, the beef jerky. Thought I'd give you an idea of how the trays look loaded with meat. I didn't have to cook the beef, so it just goes in raw. I didn't realize I was getting the AlphaTrak in the first picture, but that's also where we do all of his testing.
Edit: Forgot to mention that this was the leanest roast I could find. Still a little marbling, but not bad. Other than that, I trimmed off every bit of fat on the roast.



Pretty much what the beef looks like after 11 1/2 hours in the dehydrator. I have been doing everything at 12 hours mainly to try to eliminate bacteria, but I took these out a little early because I needed some sleep. Some of the meat comes out a little dry, but the dog's don't care.



Just a little closer look at the final product. They really like the chicken jerky, but will just about mug me for the beef. We like it pretty well also. I haven't seasoned anything because I'm not sure how it will affect the dogs, but I'll probably try seasoning some for us using some salt free lemon pepper, or some Teriyaki sauce.

So far I'm slicing everything right at 1/4" and that's working pretty well. I highly recommend putting the meat in the freezer and getting it semi frozen before slicing. I did that with the chicken, but not the roast since I was in a hurry and the semi frozen slices much better. After slicing, the 7 pounds of skinned and boned chicken breast, or 5 1/2 pounds of beef fit in the 4 trays almost perfectly. Buying the meat and fixing my own treats is still a little expensive, but still about half of what I've been paying for the commercial treats and I figure they dehydrator will pay for itself pretty quick. I cut the jerky strips into large pieces just to make them last a little longer.

Pat

Last edited by pat3332; 11-12-2010 at 05:55 PM.
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