How Long to Dehydrate Jerky – (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 10-15 hours

Dehydrated jerky is considered as great food for survival, especially for mountaineers, campers, and hikers. When a dehydrated jerky is well dried, it can last for long before going rancid.

Furthermore, it is considered as a healthy snack for consumption when compared to other dried foods. Knowing the shelf life of a dehydrated jerky is crucial. You don’t want to consume spoilt food while hiking or camping.

To avoid food poisoning due to the consumption of spoilt dried food, we shall take you through how long to dehydrate a jerky and why.

How Long to Dehydrate Jerky

How long to dehydrate jerky?

Method of PreparationTime Taken
Jerky from ground meat15 hours
Jerky from sliced meat10 hours

Time taken to dehydrate jerky depends highly on the method used. There are two main ways you can use to dehydrate a jerk, and they include;

• Jerky from ground meat: Buffalo, beef, turkey, and venison are the standard options for ground meat. Making jerky from ground meat is effortless; this is because the meat dries faster.

Furthermore, the meat becomes soft and stress-free when it comes to chewing. Preparing this dehydrated jerky it will take you approximately 4 to 15 hours when using a food dehydrator.

• Jerky from sliced meat: You can consider preparing your dehydrated jerky from lean meat. However, you will have to marinate and refrigerate or freeze it for around 8 to 24 hours.

You will then use a dehydrator to prepare your dehydrated jerky for approximately 5 to 10 hours.

Why does it take long to prepare dehydrated jerky?

Usually, the process of preparing a dehydrated jerky is long. However, once ready, dehydrated jerky is said to be dense in nutrients. The method you use in preparing dehydrated jerky will affect the time taken for it to be ready.

Removing moisture from jerky helps in extending its shelf life and improves its nutritional content.

Setting the right temperature

When preparing a dehydrated jerky, setting the right temperature is essential. The high heat will denature plenty of nutritious components available in the food. Here is the recommended temperature for preparing dehydrated jerky;

  1. When making dehydrated jerky using a food dehydrator, you should set it at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. When this is set, place the strips of meat on trays, and you should ensure that they don’t overlap each other. Overlapping will affect the dehydration process.
  2. You should let the meat dehydrate for eight hours when the dehydrator is operating at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. You should assess color change if it turns black or brown; it is said to be ready for consumption.
  3. You should note that, when the dehydrator is at 135 degrees Fahrenheit, your meat should not be left for more than eight hours. Once dried, let the jerky cool down, and you might consider putting it in a Ziploc bag for storing.


For you to save time while preparing dehydrated jerky, ensure that the dehydrator is set at the right temperature. When operating under the right temperature, you will have a tremendous dehydrated jerky within a short period.

Usually, the thickness of your meat will affect the time taken for it to be ready. Having thin slices is highly recommended if you want to save more time.


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