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How to Make Chicken Jerky Using a Dehydrator

Updated: Feb 14


Jerky is a fabulous high-protein snack that is one of my (Marie’s) husband’s favorite treats. We have found it to be so much more cost-effective to buy chicken breast in bulk when it goes on sale and make our own jerky. The chicken is a more tender jerky with great flavor.


Chicken Jerky Marinade Ingredients:

Making jerky requires some preparation. The first step is making the marinade. To do this, combine 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, 1/2 cup Italian dressing, and 1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce. Mix them in the bottom of a large shallow dish.


The 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of partially frozen chicken breast is prepared by removing the fat and gristle. It is then sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips. I use my meat slicer but a knife would work as well. It is important that the meat be partially frozen still to make it easier to cut. Once all the chicken is cut place it with the marinade and turn it to coat it well. Place the marinating chicken breast covered in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and turn it a few times to coat all surfaces.


Disclaimer: The USDA recommendation is for the interior of the chicken to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit for safe consumption. Not all dehydrators reach that temperature. If yours doesn’t you could place the chicken on a baking tray and place it in the oven at 200-225 degrees until the inside temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees then start the dehydration process.


Drying Chicken Jerky in a Dehydrator:

Our dehydrator runs at 160 degrees Fahrenheit and we have never had issues with our jerky but you can decide how you want to handle it. If your dehydrator goes up to 165 degrees then run it at that, otherwise, set it to its highest setting.


As you are taking the chicken out of its marinade, gently wipe off any excess. Place the chicken in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, if you allow a little room between the pieces then it will dry out faster. After all of the trays have been filled, place the lid and check on it every couple of hours. I filled mine pretty full so I also turned the pieces so they would dry out faster. It generally takes anywhere from 5 to 12 hours to complete drying. Often the bottom trays will be done first so I remove those or reorder them as I am turning the meat and allow the top trays to continue. You know it is done when it is entirely dry.


Oils will often accumulate on the outside of the jerky and I will blot it with a paper towel. Next, place it in an airtight container and place it in the freezer for up to 2 months. If you know you are going to use it right away you can just place it in the refrigerator.


If you have any questions or comments please list them below.

 

Additional Information:

Disclaimer: The USDA recommendation is for the interior of chicken to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit for safe consumption. Not all dehydrators reach that temperature. If yours doesn't you could place the chicken on a baking tray and place it in the oven at 200-225 degrees until the inside temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees then start the dehydration process.

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