Last Christmas I Gave You … A Dehydrator?
Last Christmas my son gifted me a food dehydrator. Yes, this was something I had asked Santa for. It has been crazy fun trying out different foods that can be dehydrated. One of the best ways I have used my fabulous dehydrator is for making dog treats for my tribe. This is such an easy way to make healthy beef jerky dog treats and to know exactly what ingredients are in them. If you don’t have a dehydrator yet, hang with me until the end and I will share instructions for using an oven. 🙂
Every dehydrator is different so I will share with you the time and temp that worked on my machine. You will need to adjust for your own dehydrator per the instructions in its manual.
- To begin with, I bought two package of a thin sliced beef, giving around two pounds total. I like to start with a thin cut meat because it saves a bit on cutting time but you can always start with a thicker cut of beef.
- Next, cut your meat into strips. I went with small, roughly 1/2 inch or less sized pieces because our tribe is made up of little guys. You may want to go with larger pieces if you have larger dogs or stick with the small pieces to use as training treats. There is no right or wrong to this. It is totally up to you.
- If you want, you can marinate your meat to add some flavor to it. I marinated half of our meat in Coconut Aminos to give it a soy flavor and left the other half plain. Actual soy sauce is not good for dogs so the Coconut Amino is a great, safe alternative.
- Lay out your meat on the dehydrator trays. Give some space between each piece so that the air can circulate. Set your dehydrator’s temperature and timer and let it go. I went with 70 degrees Celsius (158 Fahrenheit) for 6 and one half hours. Because of the size of the meat pieces I checked on it a couple of time to make sure it did not get over cooked and end up too tough and dried out. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your meat as well as the size of your strips. You may have to adjust your time to get the consistency that you want. You want your beef jerky to be bendy but not moist, dry but not brittle.
- Once done, let meat cool completely before offering them up to your pets. You can store the dehydrated meat in an air tight container in your refrigerator for a few weeks. Keep in mind that your jerky does not have all of the preservative in it to make it last like the store bought jerky. If you make up a large batch you can freeze some of it for later use.
All three of my Chihuahuas LOVE this beef jerky, even my picky eater Percy! Depending on the meat that you buy, it may not be any less expensive then buying treats from the store, but this way you know exactly what is in your pet’s treats. There will be nothing that you can’t pronounce or could cause an allergic reaction. You can also repeat this whole process with any type of meat that your pet would like – chicken, salmon, liver. You get the idea. 🙂
Oven Instructions: Set your oven to its lowest temperature. Place your beef strips on an oven safe baking rack, leaving some space between each strip. Place a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it propped open for air circulation. Cook for about 3 hours and check for doneness (see step 4 above). As with the dehydrator, cooking times will vary based on your temp and thickness of beef.
So this Christmas or any time, whip up a batch of these yummy beef jerky treats for your favorite furry friend – but only if they are on the nice list. 😉 This is also a wonderful addition to a hostess gift if you are going to a home with dogs. Who doesn’t love it when a guest remembers the furry members of a family?
Merry Christmas From The Rocket Dog Blog!!!