How to Tell When Jerky is Done

How to Tell When Jerky is Done

Dehydrating the meat is a great way to preserve it. For those who want to know how to tell when a jerky is done, there are a few ways. You can either use the old way (the sun) or a dehydrator while making jerky to preserve meat. These are a few things to consider while using a dehydrator to preserve meat.


Time considerations for Jerky

A food thermometer is essential to ensure an even air flow and an even temperature balance throughout. You should preheat the dehydrator at 145 F, for at least 30 minutes, in order to kill off the bacteria. 

Simply place the meat on a cooking rack and place it in the oven (on the middle rack) for up to six hours. Depending on the cut of meat, the thickness, and distance on the rack, this estimated time period might be a little longer or a little shorter.

Up to 10 hours is a good rule of thumb while drying out the meat. In order to ensure that it is properly and evenly cooked throughout, simply remove the strips from the tray to test them for dryness.

How do you know when it is dry? Some things to consider include:

  • You will let the strips cool down to room temperature and bend them.
  • While bending the jerky, it is not going to break if it is adequately dry.
  • Even if minor breaking or cracking occurs, this is a sign that it is not properly prepared and may require a little more time in the oven for even dehydration.

The dry jerky should be firm, it should be flexible (have a little bend or give), but it should not chip, crack, or otherwise break when you bend it. Another important texture feature is that it should not feel greasy or soft. It should have a thick and leathery grain or texture to it when it is completely and properly dehydrated.

Related Posts: It will be easy to make jerky using the Best smoker for jerky. There are also different types of smoker in the market. Electric smokerOffset smokerCharcoal smoker and Gas grill are all popular and useful for BBQ lovers as their requirements in the kitchen or outdoor cooking.


texture beef jerky

Nice crunch or sufficient hardened quality jerky

The texture when you chew on the jerky should be one that has a nice crunch or sufficient hardened quality to it. Again, it should not be so hard that you feel your teeth are going to fall off. Rather it should have some snap or a bite to it when you do bite into the jerky that is properly dehydrated. 

Another way to test is that even if the exterior does feel hardened, the interior of the jerky has a nice texture and one which you can chew evenly without having to work hard or gnaw at, in order to consume.

No grease test:

I will tell you yet another great way to find out if your jerky is prepared and fully dehydrated. Check if it has no grease or residue when you remove it from the racks. You shouldn’t feel a greasy or wet texture when you hold it in your hand, and they are going to feel substantial. 

Even if they are thin in nature, when you hold the jerky in your hand, you are going to notice that it is thicker and has some feeling behind it.

Moisture maintenance:

When it comes to making jerky, you want the meat to maintain its moisture, so that even if you are eating it a few weeks after you have prepared it, it will taste fresh. So, you want to ensure that the internal temperature is going to reach a heat level of 145 F. 

Not only does this ensure that the meat is fully cooked and is going to be safe for you to consume it, but also that it will not get hardened over time. Because most of the time people do not plan on consuming the jerky right away.

smoked beef jerky

Prepared Smoked Beef Jerky

There are some other factors to consider such as the thickness of the meat and the type of cut you are going to use, in preparing your jerky. So, you do have to account for this while determining how long (within the 6 to 10-hour time window mentioned above) you are going to need to prepare the jerky.

Whether it is simply for preservation or you like the taste of jerky, there is no secret to preparing it. But, for those who are new to the entire dehydration process, it is a lengthy one. Don’t worry, you will get used to quickly. 

These are a few of the basics to help guide you to know how to tell when the jerky is done, and how to ensure the best taste, even bite, and proper texture for any cut of meat you are going to dehydrate.

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Theresa Lori

Hi, I'm Theresa. My passion for grilling delicacy gradually built during the time I was living with my parents. My family members especially my mother was a great fan of grilled dishes to and from the love of food. I started preparing smoked food with my mom. This bonding helped me to know more and more about to smoke, grill what always I share on So, in two words you can call me a BBQ lover.

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