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Dehydrator vs. Oven: Which Is Best For Making Gourmet Beef Jerky


Deciding the process for drying your homemade beef jerky should definitely be your first step. How do you decide? In today’s blog, we are going to cover the pros and cons of using a dehydrator or an oven to make gourmet beef jerky. Keep an eye out for our next blog about choosing the best cut of beef for your jerky.

Pros of Using a Dehydrator

We are gonna start by discussing the pros of a dehydrator. The biggest pro is that a dehydrator was made for just that, dehydrating! Having a fan for circulation results in drying everything evenly, which creates better quality jerky. Another great thing about a dehydrator is that most of them allow you to dry out a large amount of jerky at once. They are created to have a lot of surface area but are also compact to not take up a ton of space in your house.

Dehydrators are extremely low maintenance. Put the meat in there, and it does all the hard work for you. They have temperature controls that not only make them easy to use, but is also a major key in evenly drying out the jerky. There is no need to supervise a dehydrator. Lastly, the dehydrator keeps the flavors from the gourmet beef jerky more genuine as it doesn’t mix with any other flavors.

Cons of Using a Dehydrator

Dehydrators aren’t an appliance that is used in the average home, and don’t really have multiple purposes. They also can absolutely take a chunk out of the wallet. While you can find ones that are reasonably priced, others that are larger and more complex can become more than the average person desires to spend.

Dehydrators can be large and clunky. You have to find space on the counter or somewhere with a flat surface and access to electricity. They are also too large to really store in a cabinet, so you have to figure out a good place to keep it when it’s not being used. While they do not require supervision, they do take longer to dry the jerky than it would using an oven.

Pros of Using an Oven

The first advantage of using an oven to make beef jerky is that you most likely already own one. This option allows you to save money, and doesn’t add another appliance to your counters or storage spaces. Using an oven dries out the beef jerky quicker than a dehydrator as it runs at a higher temperature. The mixing of different flavors in the oven can sometimes add to the flavor of your gourmet beef jerky, which is something you do not get using a dehydrator.

Cons of Using an Oven

Using your oven to make beef jerky can be inconvenient since you cannot use your oven for anything else during that time. The temperature control is not as accurate as a dehydrator. This may lead to your jerky not being dried evenly, leaving spots that become hard and tough. If you are using your oven to dry out your gourmet beef jerky, you need to be present and keep a close eye on it. Lastly, you may lose some of the nutritional value from the meat by using an oven to dry it out.

Deciding For Yourself

Just like the many cuts of meat that you can use for beef jerky, there’s really know right or wrong way to do it. It all really depends on which process works best for you and gives you the final product that you desire. If you are willing to invest in the process and plan on making large amounts of beef jerky on a regular basis, buying a dehydrator is probably the best option for you. On the other hand, if you are just looking to dabble in gourmet beef jerky making, and aren’t completely sold on it yet, then using your oven is a great alternative!

At Keller Crafted Meats, we have a variety of beef jerky that has been creatively flavored and crafted out of the highest quality of grass-fed beef. We also sell meat that would be great for creating your own gourmet beef jerky. Contact us today to learn more about the products we offer and our process for making delicious beef jerky!