Author Topic: Help buying a dehydrator :)  (Read 3792 times)

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Offline PaleoPatsy

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Help buying a dehydrator :)
« on: May 12, 2017, 04:44:00 pm »
Hi guys, thanks for welcoming into your forum   :D

I've been paleo for coming up to a year now and have just started looking into dehydrating my own meats to make jerky and other homemade dried goodies.  I've found it fairly hard to find a great, small dehydrator to use at home.  What ones do you guys use and recommend? And is there anything I should look be keeping an eye out for?

Thanks in advance for your help,

Patsy



Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 05:34:03 pm »
Well, my own dehydrator is rather large with 3 or 4 circular trays to put the raw meat on. It's also an Austrian make, so  no point in mentioning the brand. I would recommend a large dehydrator, though, as the dehydrator does massively reduce the size of the raw meats after dehydration.
Other points:- I personally find that fully dehydrated meat is too tough for me and prefer to just do a partial dehydration. I find that even minor processing such as mincing or drying tends to lead to issues re digestion( or eating too much in the case of minced-meat). But others would differ on this.

Oh, out of curiosity, are you cooked-palaeo or raw-palaeo?
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Offline Drengr

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2017, 02:48:19 am »
I use a Nesco FD-61. I think I paid around $50 usd for it and it comes with 5 trays and you can add more. I set the temperature to 95 and it usually takes about 48 hours for the meat to dry.

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2017, 07:25:58 am »
I just cut small strips and hang my meat in front of a high speed fan, air drying it at room temperature, over a couple of days works just fine, no machine.
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Offline PaleoPatsy

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2017, 02:04:50 pm »
Oh wow, you're all so friendly thanks so much for all your replies and feedback. 

I've been looking through all the smaller tiered dehydrators, and think they might end up being too small so I think I will have to go with the bigger varieties with 5 + tiers so that I can make larger quantities.  Has anyone found a timer to be incredibly useful? As I'm currently looking between two options which are very similar except one is a tad more expensive but includes a timer.

Offline PaleoPatsy

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 02:06:55 pm »


Interesting, how long do you find works best for you for a partial dehydration? I have had similar thoughts and am a bit worried about digestive issues.


Offline PaleoPatsy

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 02:07:49 pm »
I just cut small strips and hang my meat in front of a high speed fan, air drying it at room temperature, over a couple of days works just fine, no machine.

Interesting, do you find this produces more of a biltong than a jerky?

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 07:52:36 am »
Sorry, Paleopatsy, I seem to have been using  your past post to answer, and somehow deleted stuff. Sorry, I will try again to answer:-

"I prefer just dehydrating at c.37 degrees Celsius  for 2  days. I am actually seriously considering, though, to dehydrate all my meats until they are all full dehydrated. I suppose I will have to start with much larger pieces than usual, and then, while I am in the mountains, rehydrate them over 4-6 hours to see if they regain their water-content. My main interest in beef jerky is to carry lots of food but weighing as little as possible. For hiking, apparently most of the weight in the rucksack consists of food and water. I don't need water given the plentiful lakes and streams in the area I will be visiting, but the dehydrated meat would solve the weight-issues.
“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. "Ayn Rand

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 09:14:52 am »
You can air dry into jerky that will preserve just as well as heat drying. Sometimes I will dry for a couple of days and put it into a large jar, then if it starts to weep moisture, fan it out until entirely dry. The end product is virtually identical to heat dried jerky, exept that if there was any fat in the cuts it would still be present in air dried, while in heated most of it melts away.

Even fatty cuts of meat can be dried this way, and stay good for weeks, though eventually the fat will go a little rancid, but even if it begins to turn it is still edible, as long as there is no visible mold.

Ive have a vacuum sealer and could feasibly preserve a lean cut air dry jerky for over a year, if so inclined....but Im too hook on fresh flesh to go through all the trouble.

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Offline van

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2017, 11:19:22 am »
I believe oxidized fat in something we should avoid.  I believe you can actually feel the difference energy wise.  In nature fat wouldn't hang around very long, as scavengers would quickly devour it.    And yes, all the stories of the inuits and american plains indians with there pemican and fermented fish ect... but they also needed to survive their winters, and most likely didn't ponder much over whether one food was causing harm on a cellular level.  They were desperate for calories instead.   I always suggest people to pay particular attention to how fresh their fats are.. as I'm always amazed at how insensitive most are to rancid or oxidized fats and oils.

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2017, 06:59:40 pm »
I think(?) that the fat only oxidises on the surface of the meat so is not as bad as all that..?
“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. "Ayn Rand

Offline van

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2017, 04:53:13 am »
I buy half inch thick pieces of back fat,, flat pieces.   In two weeks in the fridge, it has a very off smell, one that I've grown to listen to.  I have attempted to skim off the outside 1/8 inch only to find the remaining 3/8 thick portion smells the same.
  When meat dries, it shrinks, thus squeezing out fat that is inter celluar, exposing it to oxygen....

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2017, 08:55:57 am »
I buy half inch thick pieces of back fat,, flat pieces.   In two weeks in the fridge, it has a very off smell, one that I've grown to listen to.  I have attempted to skim off the outside 1/8 inch only to find the remaining 3/8 thick portion smells the same.
  When meat dries, it shrinks, thus squeezing out fat that is inter celluar, exposing it to oxygen....
Interesting, thanks, that makes sense. Still, I will  try dehydrating some raw pig's tongues in the near-future as I have only tried raw fresh muscle-meats so far for drying out. Tongue is 50-60% fat so it should be interesting to see what happens.
“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. "Ayn Rand

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2017, 07:30:37 am »
I believe oxidized fat in something we should avoid.  I believe you can actually feel the difference energy wise.  In nature fat wouldn't hang around very long, as scavengers would quickly devour it.    And yes, all the stories of the inuits and american plains indians with there pemican and fermented fish ect... but they also needed to survive their winters, and most likely didn't ponder much over whether one food was causing harm on a cellular level.  They were desperate for calories instead.   I always suggest people to pay particular attention to how fresh their fats are.. as I'm always amazed at how insensitive most are to rancid or oxidized fats and oils.

Of course I will freeze the majority of my fats and agree that fat is best fresh, and I agree oxidized and rancid fats are not ideal, but in my experience home made jerky fat seems to keep fairly well for at least a few weeks or so, before starting to turn, and even then I would say the benefits of the fats outweigh the detriments up to a certain point.

My advice for fatty jerky is given with the catch that it should be eaten before rancidity reaches the point of revulsion....Typically once all the moisture is dried out of the meat, if you keep it in a cool place and air it out regularly, the melty streaks of fat taste absolutely delicious and you can take with you on short treks as travel food without need of refrigeration.

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Offline PaleoPatsy

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2017, 04:57:45 pm »
I believe oxidized fat in something we should avoid.  I believe you can actually feel the difference energy wise.  In nature fat wouldn't hang around very long, as scavengers would quickly devour it.    And yes, all the stories of the inuits and american plains indians with there pemican and fermented fish ect... but they also needed to survive their winters, and most likely didn't ponder much over whether one food was causing harm on a cellular level.  They were desperate for calories instead.   I always suggest people to pay particular attention to how fresh their fats are.. as I'm always amazed at how insensitive most are to rancid or oxidized fats and oils.

Hi Van, do you think this applies to Biltong as well? It's one of my grab and go supermarket snacks  -[

Offline van

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2017, 11:11:39 pm »
I don't know 'Biltong'.  Sorry. 

Offline PaleoPatsy

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2017, 06:08:58 pm »
I don't know 'Biltong'.  Sorry.

Biltong is very similar to jerky, except the meat used is usually a lot thicker and the drying process involves vinegar as well as salt. Super tasty <3


Offline van

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2017, 01:51:12 am »
with pemican or dried meats, it's hard to determine how much you need, as there's not much of a 'stop' to inform you.  Early natives did it out of necessity. My guess is they relished fresh meat after a long winter eating dried.  Hopefully you'll develop a taste for fresh and find extra nourishment it provides.

Offline PaleoPatsy

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2017, 07:28:52 pm »
I am already looking at raw meats I feed that cat and thinking how good it would be, so I think I am almost there!

Offline surfsteve

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2017, 12:08:30 pm »
I got some store bought beef jerky a few days ago to try. It was very expensive and not very good. I thought it was going to be a passing fad but I got a taste for some again today and am bidding on a 4 tray Excalibur. They go new at walmart for 115 dollars and my bid is a little over half that including shipping for a used one on Ebay. I saw some nice all stainless commercial ones that start at 155 dollars new including shipping there but I'm not sure if I want a great big one due to space and cost so I'm going to try for a medium one and see how it goes. It will fit nicely on top my microwave that I never use anymore lately. I used to have one of those small plastic round ones but it got broke up from moving. It was OK but I'd rather have something a little bigger and better used for the same price. I figure if I use one like that till it breaks I will have earned the right to invest in a commercial one and maybe put it where my microwave now sits and finally get rid of it. 

Offline surfsteve

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2017, 01:56:33 am »
I got outbid on ebay for the Excalibur food dehydrator today. Maybe it was for the best.

I ordered a brand new plastic one from Amazon for 42.95 including tax and shipping.

The model I chose was a Westinghouse WFD201W

I chose this model because it was 11 x17" rectangular and supposedly held twice as much as the round ones, taking up the same counter space and it has both a temperature control and a timer. I think the timer will be nice so that I don't have to worry about over drying to the point my food turns rock hard.

The only con was that the lowest temperature setting was 104 degrees Fahrenheit and I like to dry below 100 degrees.  After a lot of reading I came to the conclusion that this wasn't a deal breaker and that the extra 4 degrees wasn't going to kill any enzymes and the trade off is worth having the automatic timer that shuts it's self off. There was nothing else in that price range that was square and came with both a timer and temperature setting. I really wanted one with stainless steel racks but after careful consideration, besides price and counter space, the spaces between the racks was kind of big and I was afraid that because I am lazy and like to use my food processor to slice everything that too much stuff would fall through to the bottom and mess things up.

Offline Iguana

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2017, 04:22:06 am »
104° F = 40° C: it should be ok. Its not especially a matter of avoiding the killing of enzymes, but of avoiding the creation of abnormal molecules such as Maillard's, AGE, ALE.
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

Offline surfsteve

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2017, 06:34:34 am »
Thanks for the vote of confidence on the 104 degrees.

Up till I started making tartare I would usually cook a steak extra rare on the inside and burn it on the outside. I feel better not doing that anymore and don't miss it near as much as I thought i would. I suppose I was creating all kinds of nasty chemicals in cooking it that way.

Offline PaleoPatsy

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Re: Help buying a dehydrator :)
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2017, 11:16:29 am »
I have been having a hard time actually getting a dehydrator that I like and can afford on line as well, Ebay auctions are not very good when your internet disconnects every 20 minutes. Lately I have been trying to look through the ones listed on http://www.for-sale.co.uk/dehydrators as they are from many different websites meaning you can automatically cross out the ones that are too expensive.

Offline surfsteve

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Bid Sniping.
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2017, 11:03:42 pm »
Have you heard of bid sniping? Basically you place your highest bit in advance and the service bids in the lowest increments automatically in the last few seconds of the auction till you win or reach your maximum bid. You don't even have to be online at the time you bid. It's great for slow computers because the sniping company uses their own computer to place your bid and theirs are really fast!

I use www.auctionsniper.com

You get three free snipes when you try it out and it's 25 cents per snipe or 1% which ever is least after that. You only pay for the snipe if you win and it lets you do bid groups which is kind of advanced but it will let you place several bids into a group and automatically stops sniping once you've won one item or however many you tell it to in the group.

Bid sniping has saved me a lot of time and frustration plus a ton of money!