If you hunt (or have that one buddy that does and sends you lots of deer meat), then you know that keeping it in a freezer for future use can really take up a lot of space. A dehydrator is a perfect way to turn all of that deer jerky into snack-sized pieces. In this article, we’ll be reviewing 5 of the best food dehydrators for deer jerky, along with some spice concoctions to try!
Let’s jump right in!
1. Nesco Food and Jerky dehydrator
The Nesco Food Dehydrator and Jerky Maker features an adjustable thermostat that can rotate between 95 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The face of this dehydrator is extremely simple to use, making this unit a great choice for beginners, and features a single dial with text that displays the temperature setting and recommended temperature for drying various food types (with 160 degrees Fahrenheit being the ideal temperature for meats). The top-mounted drying fan is a powerful 700 watts and the patented Converga-Flow drying system blows air horizontally across the drying trays for fast and even drying, without the need to rotate the trays.
Included with your purchase are 2 jerky spice and cure packets, and a helpful instruction manual. This dehydrator is made in the USA, so you’ll be supporting American workers, and contains dishwasher-safe parts to make cleanup effortless.
Overall, this is a high-powered, affordable option that would be ideal for those that want an uncomplicated drying process at a bang-for-your-buck price.
What We Like:
- Simple face with single dial and instructions — a good option for beginners
- Adjustable thermostat that reaches a high temperature for meats
- Moves air horizontally along each tray, rather than down through every tray to avoid flavor mixing and promote even drying
- Powerful top-mounted drying fan
- Affordable, even for those that may be on a budget
- Made in the USA
2. Nesco JerkyXpress Dehydrator (Top Pick)
As you can probably tell from the name, the Nesco JerkyXpress dehydrator is a top-notch option for creating deer jerky! And though it’s slightly less powerful than the previous dehydrator, it still packs a punch at 350 watts of drying power and even heat distribution. It features a detachable top-mounted powerhead that reaches a fixed heat of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and comes with 4 BPA-free drying trays. Included with your purchase is a jerky gun with three different tip attachments, jerky seasoning and cure samples, and a recipe and instruction book!
Not to mention, this product is made in the USA, so you’ll be supporting American workers. If jerky is all you’re interested in dehydrating, then this may be the best bet for you!
What We Like:
- Proudly made in the USA
- 350 watts of drying power
- Fixed temperature control at 160 degrees — perfect for making deer jerky
- Includes 4 BPA-free trays
- Includes a jerky gun, three gun tips, and seasoning and cure samples
- Affordable option
3. Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
The final Nesco dehydrator on our list, the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator features a 600-watt powerhead and the Converga-Flow system similar to the previous dehydrators that allow for hot air to be evenly distributed horizontally among the trays, without crossing flavors or drying unevenly. It comes with 5 food-grade plastic, BPA-free drying trays, and can be expanded up to 12 trays with additional purchases. Like the first Nesco dehydrator, the cooking face is fairly simple to understand and consists of a single dial and printed text outlining the degree settings and the recommended heat for various foods.
This dehydrator comes with a recipe booklet and is proudly made in the USA so that you’ll be supporting American workers.
What We Like:
- The Converga-Flow drying system for even drying without flavor mixing
- Comes with 5 BPA-free drying trays
- Expandable up to 12 trays (with additional purchase)
- Made in the USA
- 600 watts
- The cooking face is easy to understand and use
4. COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
Though a tad on the expensive end of the spectrum, this COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine is a force to be reckoned with. It features stainless steel trays and a glass door so that you can easily view the progress of your deer jerky and the digital control panel makes this dehydrator machine a breeze to use. The COSORI can be set in 30-minute increments up to 48 hours of drying and temperatures range between 95 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This machine is also extremely quiet to use, so you can set your deer meat and forget it until it’s ready.
Another great thing about this dehydrator is that it’s super safe to use. The tray liners are BPA-free, it features an automatic shut-off whenever the timer ends, and overheat protection will kick in if it detects that the unit is getting too hot. Last but not least, it’s easy to clean, consisting of multiple dishwasher-safe components.
What We Like:
- Made with stainless steel components
- Easy-to-use digital control panel
- Dries in 30-minute increments up to 48 hours
- Heat range between 95 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit
- Dishwasher-safe trays and components
- Comes with a recipe book
- BPA free
- Quiet to use
5. NutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine (Best Budget Buy)
The final food dehydrator for deer jerky, the NutriCheft Food Dehydrator Machine is extremely affordable (actually, it’s the cheapest on the whole list!) and works like a charm. It’s multi-tiered and features an easy-to-use one-button operation system. To change the temperature (up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit), simply twist the dial. It comes with 5 drying trays that are removable and stackable and are incredibly easy to clean. This is also a compact dehydrator and would fit nicely on any countertop with limited space. Plus, it’s quiet!
What We Like:
- One button start to operate the dehydrator
- Dial to change the temperature
- Heat goes up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit
- Quiet to operate
- Comes with 5 drying trays that are both removable and easy to clean
- Compact and lightweight
- Best budget buy
The Benefits of Deer Jerky at Home
There are many benefits to making deer jerky at home, such as…
You Won’t Have to Wait for the Butcher
You know the process all too well… you shoot a buck or doe, take it to the butcher to get carved, and then have to wait for the meat to be packaged and flavored. Well no more! Now, you can simply take the meat home and flavor and jerky it, yourself!
You Don’t Have to Worry About Additives
Whenever you take deer meat to be processed, it’s often made unhealthy with dyes, artificial flavorings, and fillers. You can avoid these potentially harmful additives by making your deer jerky at home. When you make deer jerky at home, you know exactly what’s going on the meat!
You Can Make Your Jerky Just How You Like It
Aside from your choice of spices, you can choose what temperature and for how long you dehydrate your deer meat. If you like tougher jerky, you can turn the heat up and leave the meat in the dehydrator for longer periods of time. For softer jerky, turn down the heat or cut down on time it’s dehydrating.
It’s Cheaper than Beef Jerky
If you can’t decide between deer and beef jerky, this may help you reach a conclusion. Deer meat is 78% cheaper than beef per pound, with venison costing an average .95 cents per pound and beef costs $4.23 dollars per pound. Not to mention venison is worlds healthier than beef (more on this in the following section).
Health Benefits of Venison
Not only is the dehydrating process beneficial for the dedicated deer hunter, but the eating process is, too! There are a plethora of health benefits of venison including:
- It’s loaded with Zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral for the health of the immune system, as well as keeping your skin healthy. Just 100 grams of venison contains a whopping 32% of your daily recommended intake of zinc!
- It contains lower amounts of saturated fats than other red meats. Replacing some of your beef intakes with venison can help to cut down on the load of saturated fats you’re consuming throughout the week.
- Venison is rich in Iron. Iron is an essential nutrient, especially for women, and is often lacking in our diets. Deer meat contains an exceptional 4.5 milligrams of iron per 100 grams of venison — higher than any other meat!
- Deer meat contains high amounts of protein. Protein is essential for healthy hormone function, muscle repair and growth, and brain function. Venison contains 60% of your daily protein value, keeping your fuller longer, and providing you with an abundance of this essential nutrient.
- It’s high in B-vitamins. Deer meat contains B-vitamins such as B6 and B12, which may help to prevent heart attacks and strokes, along with vitamins B2 and B3 which aids in regulating your metabolism.
Deer Jerky Recipes
In this section, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite deer jerky recipes for you to try at home!
Complete with brown sugar and paprika, this Sweet and Spicy Venison Jerky is the perfect mix between sweet and savory flavors. It pairs wonderfully with the naturally gamey taste of deer and isn’t too spicy for those that are sensitive to hot flavors.
A classic jerky flavor, this Black Pepper Jerky is simple to make and delicious to taste! Made with Worcestershire Sauce and freshly cracked black pepper, this is a timeless recipe that will leave you wanting more.
If you love a kick of spice, you’ll definitely want to try this deer jerky recipe! Made with cayenne pepper, red pepper, and garlic, this is one recipe that will have you headed for a glass full of milk.
For a taste of the bayou, this Cajun Venison Jerky will bring a Louisiana twang to your deer jerky. Made with powdered crab and shrimp boil and garlic and onion powder, you won’t want to miss this delectable recipe!
A timeless recipe, this Old Fashioned Venison Jerky is a twist on a beloved recipe for generations.
When it comes to the best food dehydrators for deer jerky, it doesn’t get any better than the Nesco JerkyXpress Dehydrator! This is an affordable dehydrator made specifically for jerky and even comes with a meat gun and sample spices and cures to try. If you’re looking for the most affordable dehydrator for jerky, we recommend going with the NutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine. Though it’s highly affordable, it doesn’t sacrifice quality in the process.
No matter which best food dehydrators for deer jerky you choose, we know the outcome will be grand!