Another thing Better Half procured for me for Christmas was a dehydrator rather like this one, on account of my interests in seeing what those kinds of things can do. Well, suffice to say, I am impressed.
I started with this:
But after some healthy trimming on my part, I was down to about 2.5 pounds of useable meat. Which spent a night in this:
Which was pretty much the recipe straight out of the instruction manual, increased to account for the additional mass, so no secret there.
Then, there were four trays of this:
I know; I could have trimmed a lot better, but I got lazy. It is… more than a little strange to set out raw meat on a slotted tray and just let it… sit, but it was being blown on by a 160 degree heater, so at least there is that. After about five hours of “cooking”, the end result looked something like this:
As you can see, the end product weighed in at 1.125 pounds. Now, last I paid attention, Wal-Mart charged about $10 for 0.625 pounds – a buck an ounce. On the other hand, my home-made stuff cost somewhere around $0.50 an ounce, not accounting for the power necessary for the dehumidifier and the spices/cure packets that went into it. Half price is not bad.
Next up, I went with about 2.25 pounds of ground 93/7 beef for about $10, and courtesy of the… well, caulk gun, for lack of a better word, we created something like this:
My stupid arse did not take a picture of the end product, but it was about 17 ounces of of cute little jerky strips, so about $0.60 an ounce. Yes, the ground meat cost more than the whole meat, but that roast was on sale, and, honestly, I kind of prefer the ground meat jerky – more uniform, easier to eat, less fat, and a lot easier to flavor.
So, yeah, I call this a win. Granted, it is going to take a while to make up for the cost of the dehydrator, but I can live with having more, better jerky around, especially when I know what went into it.
(The only real catch is this stuff can only last for about a month without refrigeration; chill it any way, though, and everything is shiny.)