A must read for Jerky Lovers, a homemade dehydrator!

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posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 09:14 AM
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Originally posted by dex77
what do you mean by cross cut?


Most roasts and briskets are cut with the grain, meaning the muscle tissue of the animal is in rows. Think of a chicken leg: The meat on the end is actually the chicken's calf muscle, and when you look at the leg sideways, the grain of the meat runs left to right. Imagine cutting the chicken leg against the left right muscle structure, and that is cross cuttting. The same principle works in wood working, there are terms called "Ripping" wood, with the grain of the tree, and "Cross Cutting", against the grain of the wood.

Meat and wood are packaged for sale "with the grain" usually, as cross cutting reduces the integral strength of either the tissue or the fiber.

In the jerky making process it's desirable to use cross cut the meat, as it absorbs marinade faster with more grain exposure. This also makes the meat naturally tender, as you are chewing small sections of muscle tissue as opposed to long sections of it.

(Hope I didn't gross out any Vegans out there, but I am a healthy carnivore, and I love chewing seasoned flesh!)




posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 09:24 AM
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Hey druid, good stuff. I've been experimenting/teaching myself preservation techniques for a year and half now for the purpose of grid down scenario. And as you mentioned without power is a problem for conventional dehydrators. The solar variant is something I've read a bit about but havent tried yet. On the other hand I've been a competition smoker for about 15 years and what you mentioned about the wood burning has another benefit. Smoke not only adds flavor but the small particles of carbon from it plug the pores of the meat acting as another layer of preservation. Think, this is one of the main ways the indians have been preserving meat for thousands of years. They would actually hang strips of meat just over and off center (but downwind) from the fire. The only downfall to this is OPSEC, if you had a true SHTF scenario this would be an inviting smell for quite a distance which is why I really want to try the solar method. Also, it's a subject that probably wont be popular here but additives. Salt is the given, but nitrates and nitrites. This is what all your store bought jerkies contain to further prolong them from spoilage. They can be purchased in large quantities online for little money, and in a collapse would probably be worth more than gold. Anyways, kudos to all of you teaching yourselves these skills.

Forgot to add, the upright variant smokers can be found on craiglist for no more than twenty dollars. For jerky the ones that stand on legs are fine but if you want to use them for smoking ribs and other meats forget about it. They allow to much air flow from the bottom to control the exact temp of 210 you would want.
edit on 1-10-2011 by ludshed because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by scoobdude


1) Since you are using skewers, instead of poking them through the box, why not cut down ward slits to slide them down then angled slits along the downward slit to rest them on. That way you can set them up before you put them in the box instead of having to work awkwardly in the box. Further more add notches on the ends to help align the meat while you add it on the skewer as a guide for how far to seperate things etc.

I do build my skewers outside above the marinade bowl. I lump 10- 15 pieces of jerky on, dripping into the bowl, then lift the skewer at an angle and install one end in one hole first, then the other. Jerky is spaced after the skewer is installed.



2) for a thermometer, would you be able to use one of those turkey or car a/c ones? That might help since you can just poke those though and you could get them closer to the center of the box.


My thermometer scales from 0-220 deg F. To high of a scale, and you won't get an accurate reading. I bought mine years ago at a wine supply store for $5.45 USD, have had it for years, it floats, and doubles as my homebrew thermometer, but I'm sure you can find one at any hardware store. Just check the scale and keep the range under the 220 def F. range.



3) If you put the flap on top with a hinge (ie one side of cardboard cut on 3 sides or taped only on one side) you could use a small strip of cardboard or other friction, non round material to wedge that flap up a to a certain height. Then make it for temperature (also take into account the ambient temp as that will probably affect the inside temp).


That works too. I even considered making a big round vent hole in the top, with a fastener in the middle, so I had a dial that would regulate air-flow. I could then even mark calibrations for different temps depending on where I had the dial at. This design is strictly no fasteners required, so I opted for the sliding lid.


p.s. let me know if these things made sense and or if they would even be useful.


Good thoughts, got me thinking....



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 09:44 AM
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Originally posted by YouSir
reply to post by Druid42
 


Ummm.... I spent $300.00 on a large commercial stainless unit, when I've got three or four of those small heaters and a ready supply of cardboard and tape. As Buggs Bunny would say.........what a maroon...


And it's very messy to clean, and time consuming. Aye?



Now, if you could only invent an "off the shelf" pressure canner/cooker to top my gasketless 19 pint/7 quart "All American".

I'm working on a new canning technique that doesn't use a pressure cooker, or a "Cold Bath". I've had 100% success in the trial runs I've done. Would you be interested in knowing more?

As another poster stated, when can we expect to see your "solar" version...?

Hadn't thought of a solar drying, but of course your suggestions have me thinking about different designs now. Solar would work great for fruits and veggies, but I've to run a few equations to calculate if meat would dry quickly enough to avoid contamination. Definitely a feasible idea, and I saw some else posted a video of a solar powered dehydrator. Again, anything outside would have to be a little more durable than cardboard. Mine is still an inside-only unit.



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 10:06 AM
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reply to post by ludshed
 


Ring me up right before TSHTF, and we'll have to meet up. You've got it pretty well thought out. Downwind scent would attract unwanteds, but would be the easiest immediately afterwards the collapse. Solar would be the way to go. I also watched that solar dryer video, simply awesome, that guy thought of everything.

We tried the "artificial" preservatives already, got a small bag of NaNo3 at the local pharmacy, but IMO it added an extra 'saltiness' aspect to it. We've stored it for months in a zip loc bag with no refrigeration, no spoilage, but darn it, we can't get it to last longer than that. Spoilage, not a factor, humans sneaking into the stash, yes! Of, course, I had to sample occasionally, as well, but I was running a trial and checking spoilage rates. I'd use NaNo3 for long term storage, but for daily consumption, not required.



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 10:23 AM
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Here is my recipe for jerky, haven't had any complaints on it yet.....

1 cup brown sugar, dissolved in HOT water
about a pint of soy sauce
half of a bottle of worschestershire sauce
granulated garlic to taste (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tsp mustard powder
4 oz liquid smoke

marinade for about 24 hours, dehydrate and enjoy!

Before I dehydrate, I sprinkle black pepper, cayenne, or whatever spice I want on that batch. This way you can have several different flavors. Just make sure if you want plain, put that on the top so the spices don't drip down onto the others.

I was fortunate enough to have been given a commercial dehydrator so that is the way I dry it, but LOVE the idea of your home made one!



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 10:26 AM
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Originally posted by Druid42
reply to post by ludshed
 


Ring me up right before TSHTF, and we'll have to meet up. You've got it pretty well thought out. Downwind scent would attract unwanteds, but would be the easiest immediately afterwards the collapse. Solar would be the way to go. I also watched that solar dryer video, simply awesome, that guy thought of everything.

We tried the "artificial" preservatives already, got a small bag of NaNo3 at the local pharmacy, but IMO it added an extra 'saltiness' aspect to it. We've stored it for months in a zip loc bag with no refrigeration, no spoilage, but darn it, we can't get it to last longer than that. Spoilage, not a factor, humans sneaking into the stash, yes! Of, course, I had to sample occasionally, as well, but I was running a trial and checking spoilage rates. I'd use NaNo3 for long term storage, but for daily consumption, not required.


When you put brown sugar into the mix, along with soy sauce, it is a cure, much like ham, and will last a lot longer. I have stashed some jerky in the past, and found it about a year later and it was very very dry but still good.






SM2

posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 10:27 AM
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A few things I would like to add. Another easy way of doing this is to use a box fan and some cheese cloth. I saw a tv show where Alton Brown did this, looked easy. here is a link to it.

www.foodnetwork.com...

I personally smoke my jerky I also use a cure. The use of a cure will allow you to store it for over 2 years if you package it correctly, without using a cure, maybe 4 months is as far as I would store it. No, salt alone does not handle the curing.You use salt, sugar and potassium nitrate for a proper dry cure. You do not need much of the potassium nitrate, a mixture example would be A mixture of 25 lbs of salt, 2 lbs of brown sugar and 2 oz of potassium nitrate, and before you flame me on the use of saltpetre in jerky, is has been used for centuries as a food preservative. Corned beef, salami,hams,jerky etc have always used it as a main ingredient in the cure

The reason for curing before the dehydration or smoking is to make sure that you retard the bacteria growth potential, increasing the storage life. Also, make very sure you use a lean meat, and trim away as much of the fat as you can, and to shorten the process time, make the strips thinner. This is not saying that you can not use the method outlined by the OP and other contributors, I am sure their finished product is a great tasting jerky, however, the shelf life would much much shorter, as I said months as opposed to years with the cure method.



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 11:13 AM
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Originally posted by Druid42

Originally posted by YouSir
reply to post by Druid42
 


And it's very messy to clean, and time consuming. Aye?



Now, if you could only invent an "off the shelf" pressure canner/cooker to top my gasketless 19 pint/7 quart "All American".

I'm working on a new canning technique that doesn't use a pressure cooker, or a "Cold Bath". I've had 100% success in the trial runs I've done. Would you be interested in knowing more?

I would be very interested in a pressureless, "cold" method, how do you eliminate pathogens? There are UV back pack drinking containers, I'm sure the UV method could be adapted to canning, although I've never tried it. Perhaps a cardboard box with a few smaller UV lights inside, coupled with an "agitator"/"shaker, i.e., low speed turntable with an offset cam to ensure maximum exposure of the foodstock.

I'm sure I'm overcomplicating things and not adhering to the KISS (keep it simple stupid) ideal.

YouSir



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 11:32 AM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


I truly appreciate the reply!

Gotta love the simplicity!!!

Again, Awesome work my friend!



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 11:55 AM
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Great post, thank you!

I have built an very similar device for drying shrooms (more than 100 liters collected and there is almost half the season left, the best shroom year i have experienced!).

Must give it a try with beef tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe and advices on how to prepare the meat.
edit on 1-10-2011 by varikonniemi because: added text



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by Druid42

I'm working on a new canning technique that doesn't use a pressure cooker, or a "Cold Bath". I've had 100% success in the trial runs I've done. Would you be interested in knowing more?



I would be very interested in a pressureless, "cold" method, how do you eliminate pathogens? There are UV back pack drinking containers, I'm sure the UV method could be adapted to canning, although I've never tried it. Perhaps a cardboard box with a few smaller UV lights inside, coupled with an "agitator"/"shaker, i.e., low speed turntable with an offset cam to ensure maximum exposure of the foodstock.

I'm sure I'm overcomplicating things and not adhering to the KISS (keep it simple stupid) ideal.

YouSir


I just re-thought the basics of food preservation, how they used to do things, and how modernized things have become.

In a pressure cooker, you have a sealed unit, in which you raise the internal pressure to 5-15 psi. by applying heat from your stove, for about 10-30 minutes. The temp balances at the 212 deg F. temp, which happens to be the phase change of water. Water cannot become hotter than 212 deg F, the magical temp where it turns into vapor, but you can increase temperature within a sealed unit. Basically you are cooking at 250 deg F. Your pressure cooker vents the excess steam through a rocker mechanism, and the internal temp remains constant.

The pathogens that you speak of are all around us, microscopic critters that do their job by eating and decaying the material they encounter. They live at room temp, and breath the same air we do. Think eco-system, of which they are a vital part. Our task in preserving food is to reduce and eliminate as much as possible those bacteria, because they thrive in an oxygen rich environment, and by "sealing" our jars after killing them at high temp, we provide them with an oxygen deprived environment in which they can't reproduce. Our food stays preserved, having no exposure to the bacteria which also would like to eat our food, and remains in stasis until we open it again.

A cold bath achieves the same technique. The canning jars are boiled, the steam heats and sanitizes the jars, softens the seal on the rim, and kills the bacteria. The interim after bathing, while you wait for your lids to "seal", is the time required for the jars to stabilize to room temp, and in the process creates a vacuum pressure through heat transfer from inside the jars to the surrounding atmosphere. Mission accomplished, different technique, same results.

Disclaimer:

In the U.S.A., "sanitizer" is a legal term defined by the Environmental Protection Agency. In order for a product to be called a sanitizer in promotional literature or on its packaging, that product must be approved by the EPA, assigned a registration number, and have an open file maintained with the EPA. Unless a company would like to invest an enormous amount of capitol in this process (or use another company's product through a process called "sub-registration"), they may not call their product a sanitizer. If you purchase a bottle of bleach from the grocery store, unless it shows an EPA registration number on the front of the label, it is not a sanitizer. However, it will certainly be a good cleanser (although somewhat hazardous, not environmentally sound, and it will require rinsing).

source.

I am devising an experimental technique that "cans" food in a mason jar utilizing the theories of preservation listed above, namely, sanitizing, cooking, and sealing.

I have been homebrewing for years now, and in that realm we use chemical cleaners and sanitizers. I use one that is environmentally friend, and 1 tbsp makes 1 gal of sanitizing water. I use it to "sanitize" bottles, a no rinse version, before bottling, and have never had a batch spoil. So I tried it on my jars before doing my last batch of salsa.

Yes, clean your jars in hot soap water. Let them soak in the sanitizing solution for 10 mins.
Boil your lids and rings to keep the seal soft and clean. They go directly from the boiling pan to the jar.
Boil your canning mixture. For me it was salsa. That puts the temp at 212 deg F. Using a canning funnel, I filled my jars with the hot solution, added a lid and ring, and tightened with oven mitts. Set aside on a folded towel. 15-20 minutes later, they had all sealed. It was an experiment, only 4 pint jars, and my goal was to see if they sealed. I was amazed.

I duplicated the same test using a batch of chicken soup I wanted to can. Again, a 4 pint trial run, and again they all sealed within 20 minutes. That was several weeks ago, and they are still sealed, though I did open a jar of salsa for a snack. Your thoughts?



posted on Oct, 1 2011 @ 06:03 PM
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Originally posted by Druid42

I am devising an experimental technique that "cans" food in a mason jar utilizing the theories of preservation listed above, namely, sanitizing, cooking, and sealing.

I have been homebrewing for years now, and in that realm we use chemical cleaners and sanitizers. I use one that is environmentally friend, and 1 tbsp makes 1 gal of sanitizing water. I use it to "sanitize" bottles, a no rinse version, before bottling, and have never had a batch spoil. So I tried it on my jars before doing my last batch of salsa.
Yes, clean your jars in hot soap water. Let them soak in the sanitizing solution for 10 mins.
Boil your lids and rings to keep the seal soft and clean. They go directly from the boiling pan to the jar.
Boil your canning mixture. For me it was salsa. That puts the temp at 212 deg F. Using a canning funnel, I filled my jars with the hot solution, added a lid and ring, and tightened with oven mitts. Set aside on a folded towel. 15-20 minutes later, they had all sealed. It was an experiment, only 4 pint jars, and my goal was to see if they sealed. I was amazed.

I duplicated the same test using a batch of chicken soup I wanted to can. Again, a 4 pint trial run, and again they all sealed within 20 minutes. That was several weeks ago, and they are still sealed, though I did open a jar of salsa for a snack. Your thoughts?




Wow....What you describe above is the exact same method that I use for canning salsa and other sauces, i.e., spaghetti etc...although I "cook" the sauce in the jar in a hot water bath. I have used this method to can "half-hots", ( hungarian medium hot peppers sliced longitudinaly, seeds removed, a mix of hot or mild italian sausage combined with shredded cheese, "toll-house" crackers crumbled, a touch of cumin and eggs, mix and mound on the peppers, (cup side up). I like to "mound" about a good inch above the pepper side. Pour over your favorite spaghetti sauce, sprinkle on some more shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees for an hour)
If you've never had them you've got to try them.
I decided to can a batch one day, so I baked them and then spooned them into quart jars prepared as you wrote above, I topped the jars up with spaghetti sauce leaving about an inch of space at the top I then "cooked" them again in a hot water bath, let them cool and the tops pinged and sealed.
However, I ate some a couple of months later and although I did'nt get "sick" I felt a tad ill...That was when I decided to purchase the pressure cooker, specifically for meat. Canned meat, chicken, beef, pork, venison, etc., makes it's own "gravy" is super tender, delicious, and can last for decades. I use dehydration and pressure canning for meats.
I also have dabbled in "homebrew"....nothing better than a double fermented lager, after a long day at the grist.
Even though I've got the stainless "monster" dehydrator, I'm now planning on making one of your design (with your permission and thank you very much)

Thank you for this thread, and the chance to share.


YouSir



posted on Oct, 2 2011 @ 12:42 AM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


Cardboard gives off and has a ton of dust on it. Rolling air over it will just make it worse. You really need to use the foil for that reason as well. Make it as seamless as you can.



posted on Oct, 2 2011 @ 04:54 PM
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reply to post by Thestargateisreal
 


True, but the dust you speak of is all around us. That's why we dust our knick-knacks, around and on the coffee table, and all those other places dusts collects. Four hours of air circulation pales to the 24/7 assault that is called the atmosphere around us.



posted on Oct, 2 2011 @ 07:36 PM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


Put a white rag over the top and run it with nothing in it for a few hours. Cardboard dust is the worst. I used to work at a department store, that stuff is the nastiest kind of dust.

Most household dust is actually human skin particles, not cardboard.




But nearly everywhere, dust consists of some combination of shed bits of human skin, animal fur, decomposing insects, food debris, lint and organic fibers from clothes, bedding and other fabrics, tracked-in soil, soot, particulate matter from smoking and cooking, and, disturbingly, lead, arsenic and even DDT. Read more: www.time.com...


www.time.com...

You may want to consider a filter also.



posted on Oct, 3 2011 @ 02:17 AM
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I'm definitely thinking about making one of these. I was thinking of buying a small car heater (the one you plug in on the inside of the car when it's plugged into the wall for heating the engine block in the winter). Those heaters are small (about the size of a paperback book) and plug directly into the mains. They blow warm air with a fan but are designed to be on in your car for hours without risk of fire, hence they don't blow air that is too hot.

I was thinking of lining the inside of the box also with foil or foil paper, so it's easy to wash splashes, etc.

I love the idea of the wires for hanging the meat. Much less cleaning and no sticking as compared to a tray. Also, you could use the wires to support trays made from chicken wire, should you want to dry something non-hangable, like mushrooms.

I have to envy you guys across the pond. 2.5kg of decent beef for $14? I can't buy 1kg of cheap beef for that price here.



posted on Oct, 3 2011 @ 02:24 AM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


I suggest you just clean and recycle your aluminum foil, guy.
But this is cool. I have a dehydrator, but I might try this for the hell of it.
edit on 3-10-2011 by GogoVicMorrow because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 3 2011 @ 02:45 AM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


I'm not sure, but with some foods, you don't want to expose them to direct sunlight while drying. I'm not sure how that works for beef jerky, though. I was drying a lot of forest mushrooms recently and those shouldn't be dried in direct sunlight, from what I've read.



posted on Oct, 3 2011 @ 07:22 AM
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reply to post by Thestargateisreal
 



Ok, I get your dust point now. Hhmmm, yes, it would definitely be an upgrade to include a filter. Very astute thinking on your behalf.

Besides, not at all that hard to add one.





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