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Do you want to make great dog treats at home?
It’s easier thank you think! Even if you don’t own a dehydrator, you can use your oven and some specially designed drying racks to make dehydrated dog treats. Here are our tips to get perfect treats every time
Nothing drive a dog wild like a meaty dog treat. With all the concern over Chinese made jerky treats, now is the perfect time to try making jerky at home. Here’s what you need to know:
- Choose a lean meat. The less fat their is in your meat, the faster/better it will dry. It’s hard to dry out meat as it cooks out it’s natural oils, plus fats can turn rancid much quicker than lean meats. We love to experiment with all sort of cuts: roast beef, chicken breasts, fish fillets – even organ meats like liver or heart!
- Dehydration Temperature is important. You want to make sure your treats get hot enough to kill off any potentially dangerous bacteria. Meat should be heated to at least 160F and poultry to at least 165F. If your dehydrator doesn’t get hot enough, you can bake the meat in the oven for 30 minutes before moving it to the dehydrator. On the flip side, it is commonly recommended that game meats should be deep frozen for 30 days before drying to kill off parasites.
- Cut it out. For a chewy jerky that your dog can gnaw on, cut the meat with the grain. For a more tender treat, cut it against the grain. Partially frozen meat is way easier to cut and you can get more consistently sized slices.
- Size Matters. The thicker the slices, the longer they will take to dry.
- Be a space case. Dehydration works best if there is good air flow. This is why dehydratorr appliances have fans in them. Make sure you space our your treats enough so that the air can get at all of them. (HINT: The sweet potatoes in the picture above are over crowded! You want to leave more room than that.)
- Make sure they’re done. Finished jerky treats should be slightly flexible, like a green stick, though you can cook them until they are completely crunchy, if you wish. Treats that are not fully dehydrated will spoil much faster. Jerky can take anywhere from 4 – 12 hours (or even longer), depending on how much moisture there is in the meat.
- Store ’em right. Since most of the moisture has been removed, jerky can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Generally, they say it can be stored for 1 – 3 months. We recommend that if treats are going to be around for more than 30 days, that you store them in the fridge.