How Long To Dehydrate Deer Jerky (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 4 to 10 hours

The Quechua tribe of South America popularized the culinary tradition of consuming jerky or ‘burnt meat’ as a delicacy. Deer jerky is a form of dehydrated meat that is commonly consumed by campers on their adventurous expeditions and trekking trails.

Deer or venison meat is one of the most flavorful jerky options available in the market. Many people prefer to prepare deer jerky at home by simply dehydrating the succulent deer meat. This process of preparing the jerky is made quite easy with the help of an electronic dehydrator that dries the meat, while simultaneously infusing the flavor of the spices into it.

How Long To Dehydrate Deer Jerky

How Long To Dehydrate Deer Jerky

Preparing deer jerky at home is contingent on a number of variegated factors. The most important element in the initiation of this preparation remains an electronic dehydrator. The time taken to dehydrate deer jerky will depend on the kind of dehydrator and the temperature settings that an individual selects. In a good dehydrator, dehydrating the deer jerky will take approximately 4 to 10 hours.

The temperature of the dehydrator determines the actual time taken by the meat to dry completely and evenly. This window represents a spectrum of time frames in congruence with the usual temperature settings of the dehydrators available in the market. Therefore, at a temperature of 155 degrees F, deer jerky will be prepared within merely 4 hours.

However, if the temperature is reduced to 145 degrees F, the same meat will be prepared in 7 hours. At a lower temperature setting of 135 degrees F, a time frame of 8 hours will be needed to dry the meat. While at 125 degrees F, the longest duration of 10 hours will be needed to completely dehydrate the meat. Nonetheless, some dehydrators may also be able to reduce these stipulated time frames marginally.

In the absence of a dehydrator, a gas oven can be used to dry the deer meat. At 200 degrees Celsius, deer jerky will take about 5 hours to be dehydrated in an oven. However, the chances of a possible derailment in such a predicament remain prominent as one has to constantly check the oven to ensure that the moisture has been uniformly dispelled from the meat.

In Summary:

Temperature SettingsTime Taken to Dehydrate
125 Degrees F10 hours
135 Degrees F8 hours
145 Degrees F7 hours
155 Degrees F4 hours

Why Does it Take This Long to Dehydrate Deer Jerky?

Dehydration is a process that helps evaporate the moisture content of various edible items. This helps boost the shelf life of the products. Dehydrating deer jerky necessitates the removal of every ounce of moisture from the deer meat. This complex process of essentially drying the meat without compromising upon its flavors is invariably a lengthy one.

The time taken to dehydrate deer jerky is contingent on the heat provided to the meat. The higher the temperature of the dehydrator, the faster the deer jerky is prepared. In a high-temperature environment, the evaporation of moisture from the meat will be inevitably accelerated. This will reduce the time taken to prepare the jerky.

If the temperature is set at a lower level, the jerky will need more time to optimally dehydrate. Low heat slows down the process of evaporation. Thus, at a lower temperature setting of 125 degrees F, the jerky will take longer to be properly dehydrated. Fewer hours need to be expended in the dehydration of deer jerky if the temperature of the dehydrator is set at a relatively higher level. Hence, at 155 degrees F, deer jerky will be dehydrated in merely 4 hours.

However, one must remain cautious of setting the temperature of the dehydrator too high. This can have a detrimental impact on the taste as well as the texture of the dried deer jerky. It is always advisable to select a median temperature setting that will help dry the jerky within a short span of time while simultaneously retaining the flavor of the meat.


The high energy and nutrition content of deer jerky makes it a favorite among most hikers. It is also a flavorful treat for both kids and adults. The taste of the jerky can be altered to fit the preferences of an individual’s palate by altering the spice mix used in the rub.

Dehydrating deer jerky is quite elementary when one owns a mechanical dehydrator. Without this advantage, it becomes almost impossible to evenly regulate the drying process. In an efficient dehydrator, deer jerky can be prepared within a 4 to 10-hour window, depending on the temperature settings selected by the individual.



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. The information provided here is extremely helpful, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s important to know how long it takes to dehydrate deer jerky properly.

  2. Very informative! I appreciate the detailed explanation of the factors affecting the dehydration time for deer jerky.

  3. The detailed explanation of temperature settings and time frames for dehydrating deer jerky is incredibly useful. Well researched!

  4. Absolutely fascinating! I never realized there was so much to know about dehydrating deer jerky. Thank you for this enlightening article.

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