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Last Updated on November 12, 2021
Jerky is a beef product that has been dried and salted to create a long lasting, durable meat. It’s perfect for when you’re on the go or don’t have access to refrigeration. For most people, dehydrating beef jerky is an enjoyable process with only one main question: how long does beef jerky take to dehydrate?
The answer depends on what type of beef jerky you are making and the thickness of your slices. Our beef jerky recipe recommends using ground beef (or any other kind) cut into 1/4 inch thick slices, but if you want thinner pieces make sure they are no thicker than 3/8 inch! You can also use this technique for turkey or chicken too!
It all depends on the cut
The duration you’ll have to patiently wait out will depend on the beef cut you choose and how thick your slices are. If you want to use lean beef with little marbling, aim for beef jerky that has been in the dehydrator between five and six hours at 145 degrees F (63 C).
If you’re using more fattier cuts of beef or harder pieces like shank meat, it can take up to nine hours on low heat before they become tender enough to be considered beef jerky. After this time period is complete, move them from their tray onto paper towels where they’ll continue drying for another couple of hours until ready!
The Telltale Signs
You would want to keep your beef jerky in the dehydrator for almost double what beef brisket would take to make sure it’s nice and dry. As you wait, you’ll notice that beef jerky will become darker in coloration because of its marbling content (the fat) caramelizing on the surface.
Once beef jerky is finished cooking it should be stiff enough where if you were to bend a piece then let go it wouldn’t immediately straighten out again. You can also use an accurate meat thermometer just like when making beef brisket by sticking your beef jerky until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (72 C).
Signs of Overcooking
If beef jerky is left in the dehydrator for too long, you’ll see it develop a leathery texture. Although this beef jerky recipe has been tested multiple times to ensure delicious results each time, if your beef turns out dry and stiff then you should consider slowing down on making more batches until the next one fits the bill!
The Perfect Beef Jerky
This beef jerky recipe guarantees that no matter what cut of beef or thickness of slices you use that they will be perfectly chewy after five hours on low heat! The ground beef variation takes longer because there’s less marbling but overall shouldn’t take over nine hours before becoming tender enough to consume.