Author Topic: Dehydrating meat?  (Read 2280 times)

Offline CulturedFool

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Dehydrating meat?
« on: December 27, 2012, 09:29:20 PM »
So Santa brought me a dehydrator for Christmas and so far I love it, I've been dehydrating everything.  I have not yet done any meat.  My understanding was to basically cut strips of meat, salt, and dehydrate.  After talking to several people about my plans they have assured me that there is much more to it and unless I use nitrites, etc on the meat than I will die.  While I don't believe that I will die, are there any health risks of just using plain salt as the cure?  Thanks.

Offline nelson96

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2012, 10:02:49 PM »
I'm not dead yet.

Search here on TSP for threads on making biltong and/or check out Jack's video's on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2WTrNQAw0M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxMvpTmuyco

Or, if you want to lean toward jerky, here is mine

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=39312.msg442020#msg442020
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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 08:59:49 AM »
....unless I use nitrites, etc on the meat than I will die.

uh, haven't I heard that nitrates are a carcinogen?  seems like they have it backwards :P
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Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 09:10:19 AM »
I've never used anything more than various combinations of salt, sugar, vinegar, spices and/or sauces for curing meat with dehydration by air drying or in a dehydrator as a follow up.

I don't blast the meat with high heat either (cook).

I've eaten some of my home cured meats more than a year and a half after processing with no ill effects.


Offline CulturedFool

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 10:13:21 AM »
Thanks, I thought as much but you know how it is, after talking to people I started to question myself.

Offline bdhutier

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 01:08:12 PM »
Ooops!  Another one here who's not dead.  Guess I'm doing something wrong!!  ;D
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Offline Terroir

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 01:26:51 PM »
I agree with the not needing to salt, nitrate or nitrite the meat direction. We normally partially freeze the meat to make it easier to slice, then run it through a slicer to get thin, uniform thickness slices and dehydrate it. I like to dehydrate to the crunchy stage, as it makes it easier to make a pemmican-type of preparation and just for eating. I've kept it this way for over 2 years with no ill effects. Still tasty, too!

If you want the leather stage type of preparation, you might need some marinade and salt, but not too much and definitely not nitrates or nitrites.
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Offline archer

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 04:31:50 PM »
I've eaten some of my home cured meats more than a year and a half after processing with no ill effects.
that could be open for arguement... ;)


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Offline archer

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 04:34:11 PM »
dumb question, is it safe to dehydrate pork/poultry on your own? I assume not.. but i dont know for sure.


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Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2012, 04:42:38 PM »
that could be open for arguement... ;)

Ha!  :rofl:


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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2012, 06:09:54 PM »
are there any health risks of just using plain salt as the cure?  Thanks.

What do you mean by "plain salt"? Iodized table salt is a no-no. You should be using Morton's pickling and canning salt, no iodine. As for dried pork, smoking and curing is a more common and appetizing method of preservation. Here is a pamphlet from 1941 that I scanned and uploaded on meat butchering and preservation: http://archive.org/details/HomeMeatCuring1941

Offline nelson96

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2012, 10:16:00 PM »
What do you mean by "plain salt"? Iodized table salt is a no-no. You should be using Morton's pickling and canning salt, no iodine.

Just to clarify for those that don't know, the reason you shouldn't use iodized salt is because it contains iodide and other anti-caking agents that can contribute metallic and other off flavors to the finished jerky.  That's it, just a flavor thing.

I've used it, it's not that big a deal.  It still got eaten faster than people could taste it, just like the meat that was made when I used non-iodized salt.
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Offline SteveandTracyinKY

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2012, 01:49:55 AM »
It can be complicated with rubs and recipes, but that is all for flavor. Hell when I am in a hurry and need beef for hiking or something I jut cut it into strips, soak them in Dales brand marinade, then throw them on the dehydrator until they snap. Really its as complicated as you want to make it.
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Offline Theswerd

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2013, 08:15:27 AM »
A question...

Mom and Dad were just up here this weekend, and from what I saw as they dehydrated some store bought fajita meat, they just cut it into strips and dried it... no prep or anything. Now... it was already flavored for fajitas... so there may have been prep before it was packaged, BUT... lets presume there wasn't. Why is this a badness?
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Offline nelson96

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2013, 10:22:34 AM »
A question...

Mom and Dad were just up here this weekend, and from what I saw as they dehydrated some store bought fajita meat, they just cut it into strips and dried it... no prep or anything. Now... it was already flavored for fajitas... so there may have been prep before it was packaged, BUT... lets presume there wasn't. Why is this a badness?

There is nothing at all wrong with what they did.  Doing no prep (I assume you mean brining) will only affect flavor and length of storage.  In fact, the fajita seasoning may have been enough to take care of both.
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Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2013, 10:58:43 AM »
As nelson mentioned, it may be that the seasoning had salt or something else that helped cure the meat, but in truth we probably worry about raw meats more than necessary these days. Of course I'm not saying that you should take a hunk of supermarket beef, leave it out on the counter until it grows mold and then eat it, just that things are a little different than when folks used to hunt on the savannahs of Africa. That's just an opinion of course. Take it with a grain of salt and follow the practices that you think are safe.

A long time ago drying meat as a method of preservation may have been learned from an event as simple as a distant relative discovering the remains of a leopard kill, a hunk of dried meat, hanging in a tree. The only preservation method used in such a scenario would most likely be natural dehydration in arid moving air.

Smoking and curing methods probably came along much later.


Offline idelphic

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2013, 11:09:39 AM »
dumb question, is it safe to dehydrate pork/poultry on your own? I assume not.. but i dont know for sure.
I think the generally idea is that no poultry or pork is doable.  Fish and 'beef' is acceptable though.
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Offline HavanaHooligan

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2013, 08:14:37 PM »
I haven't tried it yet, however I just took a class on meat preservation through the Valley Permaculture Alliance, and we learned that any lean cut of meat can be dehydrated.  Fats apparently will go rancid.

Also, curing typically requires salts with nitrites.  "Pink Salt"

When I get to trying these methods, I'll report back.

Offline 4bull

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2013, 08:15:57 PM »
I tryed trout , LOL nasty, i bet it will make good trap bait.

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2013, 09:47:04 PM »
I think the generally idea is that no poultry or pork is doable.  Fish and 'beef' is acceptable though.
They have to be thoroughly cooked before dehydrating. That is why it is never done, or rarely. Pork is cured, poultry is generally safe to eat long after it is cooked.

Offline Mountain State Prepper

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2013, 10:52:04 PM »
I tryed trout , LOL nasty, i bet it will make good trap bait.

Yea, me and my buddy are big into trout fishing, he is talking about making "fish jerky" as he calls it.   Not sure of the procedure here, but I'll let him take the first bite.


Don't get me wrong, I like sushi, but that is a whole different thing.   Trout jerky on the other hand....well I just dunno.
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Thox Spuddy

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2013, 07:01:45 PM »
Perhaps what he is doing is smoking it.

Offline nelson96

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2013, 08:56:16 PM »
Perhaps what he is doing is smoking it.

Even "smoked", they only way I can palate trout is to make hash with it.
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Offline 4bull

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2013, 11:26:29 PM »
I think they look like shad, the meats soft. and they dont taste that good .
but the white river is 7 miles and they are easy to catch .the browns are feeding when the river is down and they can grow to 40 lbs. there just not catfish or ribeye.

Offline nelson96

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2013, 11:38:09 PM »
I think they look like shad, the meats soft. and they dont taste that good .

 :o  Our trout look nothing like shad.  No wonder.  We don't eat shad, but it makes great crab bait.
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Offline lakestral

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2013, 11:31:01 PM »
Love jerky, my son constantly asks for it while shopping. Since it is so expensive I made him a deal one time, we bought some fajita beef strips, pineapple juice and soy sauce and I had him help me make jerky out of it. Of course we had to cut it thinner, marinate it in the fridge overnight, but when it was done, he rarely asks for jerky from the store unless he wants it right then.
He loved it, whenever I make anything in the dehydrator, it rarely lasts the week. I can't make enough to store as they treat it like candy. Same when I make banana bread.

Offline Mountain State Prepper

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2013, 01:10:35 PM »
............I can't make enough to store as they treat it like candy................


I can't make enough to store as I treat it like candy!    I can't get enough.   I have made jerky every week since I got my dehydrator for Christmas, nothing to show in the way of storing it :).    I'll have to double down.....Oh, and the dog can't get enough either!
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Offline The mad Vaper

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Re: Dehydrating meat?
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2013, 01:10:32 AM »
I think one of the important factors in dehydrating meat that may have been overlooked here is fat content. Prior to dehydrating you should really make sure you are using very lean cuts of meat or trimming the fat. The meat if properly brined, spiced etc. will keep for quite a long time, particularly if kept in vacuum bags, freezer, and other "friendly" environments . The fat however will generally get tainted and spoil, possibly making the whole batch go bad.