Subscribe to Make Magazine Today!

123_boxfanjerky_jw_04

For more on microcontrollers and wearables, check out Make: Volume 43.  Don't have this issue? Get it in the Maker Shed.

For more on microcontrollers and wearables, check out Make: Volume 43.
Don’t have this issue? Get it in the Maker Shed.

Jerky is the on-the-go snack that has fueled Native Americans, pioneers, and astronauts alike. And it’s easy to make at home. This method, popularized by Alton Brown, uses an ordinary box fan and air filters to dry the meat.

Steps

Step #1: Slice it.

PrevNext
Simple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton BrownSimple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton BrownSimple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton Brown

Buy your desired cut of beef (sirloin is a good choice), and slice it into thin strips using a long, thin blade.

Step #2: Marinate it.

PrevNext
Simple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton BrownSimple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton BrownSimple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton Brown

Choose a marinade and let the meat soak in the refrigerator for 6–8 hours. Make sure to include ingredients that help the meat stay moist and tender. Honey is a good choice.

Step #3: Dry it.

PrevNext
Simple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton BrownSimple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton BrownSimple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton BrownSimple Box-Fan Food Dehydrator, a la Alton Brown
  • Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the strips on top of a large, clean air filter (make sure it contains no fiberglass). Continue stacking meat and filters until you run out of meat. Place one final air filter on top and put the stack of filters on a box fan. Use a bungee cord to secure the filters, then turn on the fan.
  • Let the fan run and enjoy that sweet, sweet meat smell for 8–12 hours. Once the meat is dehydrated, enjoy!
Paloma-Fautley-head-shot

Paloma Fautley

Paloma Fautley is an Engineering Intern at Make Magazine. She is currently pursuing a degree in Robotics Engineering. She is a regular contributor to the Sci-Fi web series Make: Believe.

Contact Paloma With: -Questions she probably can't answer -Snarky puns and other terrible jokes -Illusions of grandeur


  • NickLevi86

    A pack of filters costs as much as a cheap dehydrator, but fun concept, just for the heck of it.