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Mike writes – “You can build a high quality DIY Jerky Machine for a fraction of the cost of a commercial heated dryer. As you may already know, adding heat to meat changes the taste and texture. The best way to dry meat is with cool dry air moving at a fast rate, which is what this machine is built for.”Link.

Related:
Milk crate jerky maker – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. DGary says:

    Still like the Good Eats one, some cheap HVAC filters, a fan and some bungie cords, done me very well ever since.

  2. TVarmy says:

    Is there any danger in using the HVAC filters? Are they anywhere near sanitary? Do they leave little fibers on the meat? I’ve always wanted to try this, otherwise.

  3. ehrichweiss says:

    ditto on the Good Eats version. Though I must confess that I have a sweet temperature controlled commercial unit(well several actually) that can make jerky in under a couple hours. What can I say, I am perfecting a recipe and need the speed to perfect it. ;)

  4. G1ZM0 says:

    I put a layer of paper towels on my HVAC filter when I did the Good Eats version.

    I wonder if a cookie cooling rack or even a splatter screen would work?

  5. B.W. says:

    I’ve made three batches using the Alton Brown Good Eats version. I used non-fiberglass HVAC filters that came indivdually wrapped so that they weren’t covered with “factory/store dust”,and used the same set of filters for each batch. All of the jerky came out great with no noticeable fibers. I don’t recall if Alton said to use new filters each time, but because I’m thinking that his method requires filter replacement on a regular basis, I’ve been looking at making my own dehydrator in order to avoid the continued expense of filters.

    As for the DIYJERKY.COM version, I like the design for two reasons. 1)The mounting system eliminates the problem of bungy cords slightly crushing the cardboard frame of the HVAC filters. 2)The wire can be cleaned and reused.

    If I end up continuing to use some sort of window fan unit, I would probably try “sandwich” the diyjerky.com racks in between two HVAC filters.

    Finally, should anyone reading this have concerns about the possible health risks of not using heat in the window fan method, I added curing salt (Morton’s Tender Quick) to the Alton Brown recipe as an added protection.

  6. Russtang says:

    What about using an electrostatic washable filter? They cost a lot more than disposables ($20 vs $2), but mine have paid for themselves over the past 2 years of use

    I use it to filter my house air BTW, not my jerky air.

  7. trask says:

    To answer the question about the filters, the polyester HVAC filters won’t shed fibers onto the food. In the rare case that they do, the fibers themselves aren’t toxic and are made out of the same material as many T-shirts. However, I’d be reluctant to place food directly on the filters since there will, more than likely, be a very small amount of toxic chemicals on the filters since they aren’t manufactured in a food processing facility. Examples of these chemicals are solvents used to clean the wire backing, oil mist from nearby machines, anti-static agents, etc.

    However, not using a filter will, more than likely, get dust, pieces of hair, dirt, mold spores, or pollen on your jerky, depending on where you are drying your jerky.

    I’d suggest buying a 20×20 pleated air filter and attaching it to the fan, on the opposite side of the drying rack. Make sure it’s a pleated filter. To attach it to the fan, you could use bungee cords, tape, platic clips, whatever. Since it’s on the suction side, you won’t need much to keep it on the fan. The filter won’t be in direct contact with the food, which will alleviate any concern about manufacturing chemicals and still keep any dust in the air off of your jerky.

  8. trask says:

    To answer the question about the filters, the polyester HVAC filters won’t shed fibers onto the food. In the rare case that they do, the fibers themselves aren’t toxic and are made out of the same material as many T-shirts. However, I’d be reluctant to place food directly on the filters since there will, more than likely, be a very small amount of toxic chemicals on the filters since they aren’t manufactured in a food processing facility. Examples of these chemicals are solvents used to clean the wire backing, oil mist from nearby machines, anti-static agents, etc.

    However, not using a filter will, more than likely, get dust, pieces of hair, dirt, mold spores, or pollen on your jerky, depending on where you are drying your jerky.

    I’d suggest buying a 20×20 pleated air filter and attaching it to the fan, on the opposite side of the drying rack. Make sure it’s a pleated filter. To attach it to the fan, you could use bungee cords, tape, platic clips, whatever. Since it’s on the suction side, you won’t need much to keep it on the fan. The filter won’t be in direct contact with the food, which will alleviate any concern about manufacturing chemicals and still keep any dust in the air off of your jerky.