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how to make chicken jerky in a food dehydrator

2024/07/07

How to Make Chicken Jerky in a Food Dehydrator


Introduction


If you're a fan of jerky, then you know how addictive this delicious snack can be. While beef jerky is the most popular choice, chicken jerky offers a lean and flavorful alternative. In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of making chicken jerky using a food dehydrator. Whether you're a health-conscious individual or simply looking for a tasty protein-packed snack, this guide will help you make your own chicken jerky right at home.


Ingredients:


- 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

- ¼ cup of soy sauce

- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

- 2 tablespoons of honey

- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

- 1 teaspoon of onion powder

- ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper


Equipment:


- Food dehydrator

- Sharp knife

- Cutting board

- Ziplock bag or plastic wrap


Step 1: Prepare the Chicken


Start by trimming any excess fat from the chicken breasts. This is important as fat can prevent the meat from drying properly. Once trimmed, slice the chicken breasts into thin strips of about ¼ inch thickness. If you prefer a short chew, slice against the grain of the meat. For a longer-lasting chew, slice with the grain.


Step 2: Create the Marinade


In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground black pepper. Whisk the ingredients together until they are well combined and the honey has dissolved completely. This marinade will provide the chicken with a balance of flavors while helping to tenderize the meat.


Step 3: Marinate the Chicken


Place the chicken strips into a ziplock bag or a shallow dish and pour the marinade on top, ensuring that all the chicken pieces are fully submerged. If using a ziplock bag, gently press out the air and seal it tightly. Massage the bag to distribute the marinade evenly. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 2 hours but no more than 24 hours. The longer the marination time, the more intense the flavors will be.


Step 4: Preheat the Dehydrator


Before placing the chicken strips in the food dehydrator, it's crucial to preheat it. Preheating ensures that the dehydrator is at the optimal temperature for drying the meat. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to preheat your specific dehydrator model.


Step 5: Arrange the Chicken Strips


Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and drain off any excess marinade. Place the chicken strips on the dehydrator trays, making sure they are not touching each other. This will allow proper airflow for even drying. Avoid overcrowding the trays as it may hinder the drying process.


Step 6: Dehydrate the Chicken


Once the chicken is evenly arranged on the dehydrator trays, stack them into the food dehydrator. Set the dehydrator to a temperature of 165°F (74°C), which is the recommended temperature for drying poultry thoroughly. Depending on the thickness of the chicken strips and the moisture content, the drying process can take anywhere between 4 to 8 hours.


Step 7: Check for Doneness


After the first 4 hours, check a few pieces of chicken for doneness. The texture should be tough and chewy but not overly dry or brittle. The strips should not feel rubbery or spongy either, as that indicates under-drying. Keep checking every hour until the desired consistency is achieved.


Step 8: Cool and Store


Once the chicken jerky is fully dehydrated, remove the trays from the dehydrator and allow the strips to cool completely. This step is vital to reduce moisture evenly and improve shelf life. Once cooled, store the chicken jerky in an airtight container or individual ziplock bags. Properly stored, chicken jerky can last for up to 2 weeks at room temperature or even longer if refrigerated.


Conclusion


By following this guide, you can easily make your own delicious chicken jerky at home using a food dehydrator. With just a handful of ingredients and a bit of patience, you can create a healthy and protein-packed snack that will keep you satisfied on the go. So go ahead, give it a try, and enjoy the savory delight of homemade chicken jerky - the perfect balance of flavor and tenderness!

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