For the uninitiated, beef jerky is lean meat with the fat trimmed off. It’s cut into strips and dried. And once it’s dried, it’s ready to eat.

Now, you can pull up at your local Citgo and grab beef jerky that’s been on the shelves since Ronald Reagan was president. Or, you can make your own. Daunting? Not if you buy a simple appliance called a food dehydrator to make your own at home. You pick the kind of lean meat you want, and you can choose between beef or venison or turkey or even buffalo. You flavor it however you want. And you wind up with a great snack that’s rich in protein. Plus, you can use dehydrators to make everything from dried herbs to kale chips.

It's not the most stunning of appliances, but the Nesco food dehydrator gets the job done. It's a dehydrator and jerky maker with 4 13-1/2-inch-wide drying trays. Your beef jerky is done in hours, not days.

Carnivores will love the Nesco, which dries your meat fast and evenly. No cooking experience required: You simply flip the switch and the temperature is set automatically to get you precise results. You can make up to seven pounds of jerky at one time.

This six-tray food dehydrator lets your make everything from jerky to ... dried fruit and veggies. It has 360 degree circulation, meaning you get uniform, thorough drying and everything turns out perfect.

No more dubious beef jerky ever. The Gourmia food dehydrator has six trays to make perfect jerky, every time, thanks to its precise and idiot-proof drying technology.



The Chefman food dehydrator lets you make not only beef jerky, but also dried fruits and herbs. It has digital touch settings with preset temperature settings and a countdown timer.

We love the touch-screen functionality of the Chefman food dehydrator. It’s got an integrated countdown timer that allows you to dehydrate for up to 19.5 hours for epically perfect jerky. And it shuts down when it’s done.

This is another basic model, but it does the job with no complications. It has one button, and a temperature control system with a maximum of 180 degrees.

The NutriChef food dehydrator has five stackable trays and like other models, has high heat circulation. It makes beef jerky, along with veggies and fruits. It’s stupidly easy to use: You place your prepared food onto as many trays as needed, put on the lid, turn the device on and let it do its thing.

This food dehydrator comes with five trays, but expands to 12 if needed. It has an adjustable thermostat that allows you to dry different foods at proper temperatures.

Slightly more complex than its brethren, this Nesco food dehydrator has a drying system that provides fast, even, and nutritious drying and the top-mounted fan make sure liquids won’t drip into the heating chamber.

Forget the dried-out meat husks of yesteryear. Krave’s jerky is made of pork, infused with black cherry barbecue sauce and is lean enough to snack on. It has a solid nine ounces of protein per serving.

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