Thursday, March 30, 2017

Beef Jerky For Idaho Outdoor Hiking And Fishing Adventures

Last edited on March 30, 2017

What does one eat after a microadventure, hiking to the top of a local peak or after scrambling up a creek full of fish? I prefer beef jerky for the drive home. But that stuff is expensive so I started making my own last year. It a pretty simple process once you get the dehydrator, a meat slicer and experiment until your jerky turns out just about right.

Chef's Choice 615 Premium Electric Food Slicer
Chefs Choice 615 electric meat slicer with round roast
Slicer cost about $130

Frozen Roast Prep and Slice

I've been buying bottom round roasts in the 2.5-3.5 pound range for my beef jerky but other cuts will work too. The last few times I took the frozen roast out of the freezer and stored it in the refrigerator overnight. Obviously, the roast will still be mostly frozen the next morning.

Unwrap the meat and trim off most of the fat and any silver skin. You don't have to trim it all. In the future, you'll learn what you can tolerate and what you won't when it comes to fat and tough jerky. Once trimmed and prepped, you'll want to get a bowl or container filled with just the right amount of your favorite marinade.

I slice the meat at the 1.5 thickness setting on my Chef's Choice 615 slicer, so you'll have to figure out what that means. I'd guess the thickness is about the same thickness as a U.S. Quarter or maybe a little thicker. Experiment.

Over 2 pounds of meat sliced and ready for dehydrating
Sliced and ready to marinate for 6-12 hours or so in the fridge.

The Next Morning or That Night

Once the meat is marinaded for the proper amount of time, you get to place it into the dehydrator. It's best to not overlap the meat slices when placing it on the racks. Follow your dehydrator and marinade recipe instruction. For mine, I dehydrate for about 2.5 hours at 160F. Experiment.

A commercial dehydrator is used to make beef jerky

Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator, White, 1000-watt

The Nesco Gardenmaster Food Dehydrator has worked very well for me in the past year. I've done potato chips, apple chips, and of course, beef jerky.

The Jerky Numbers

  • I started with 2.92 pounds of bottom round roast.
  • After trimming the roast, I was left with 2.57 pounds of useable meat.
  • I dehydrated for 2.5 hours at 160F.
  • Total Jerky: 1. 89 pounds of "in the bag" beef jerky.

About two pounds of homemade beef jerky in a ziplock bag.
A total of 1.89 pounds of beef jerky for my next few micro adventure


It's best if you experiment while making your beef jerky. I suggest completely and exactly following the recipe you get with your marinade mix the first time. You can and should make adjustments to suit your taste after the first batch. Most recipes are too salty for my taste.

During this March 23, 2017, batch, I sliced the meat a little thinner than normal. While laying the marinated meat on the dehydrator rack I suspected it was too thinly sliced. Nope. This batch has been the best jerky I've made so far.


Originally published on March 30, 2017


Tim Bondy Freelance
Writer & Citizen Journalist

I am currently a proud citizen journalist, aka "enemy of the American People!"


Scenes From A Prairie Idaho Area Bike Ride

Originally posted: May 15, 2018 The ride On May 14, 2018, I took a ride on my mountain bike from the South Fork of the Boise Ri...