question on dehydrator

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by jbchoice1, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. jbchoice1

    jbchoice1 Smoking Fanatic

    what is the best bang for the buck... I'm gonna start drying fruits, making some jerky, drying peppers, and fruit roll-ups for the kid... just wanting opinions on what to look for and what not to be impressed by... any and all help is greatly appreciated and look forward to the responses... thanks again my friends... [​IMG]
  2. JB

    I have the Cabelas 80L Commercial Dehydrator and it works very well. It has good air movement and an electronic thermostat so I usually don't have to rotate racks. I use mine mainly for jerky. I usually apply the smoke in the smoker then transfer it to the dehydrator to complete it. Overall I've been very satisfied with it.

  3. jbchoice1

    jbchoice1 Smoking Fanatic

    thanks mike...
  4. smokeguy

    smokeguy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've got a Deni that's just a consumer type and priced item; less than $50. The main thing I would look for after using mine is to make sure that the airflow is good enough that the heat will go through all the racks consistently, and that it has a vent that can be closed to heat everything up and then opened for dehydrating so that the moisture has a place to go.

    Since mine doesn't have what I would call perfect airflow, I have to move my bottom racks to the top and the top to the bottom a couple of times so that everything is done at about the same time.

    On my next one I would also look for one that has some sort of catch pan so that the juices don't drip into the electronics and burn it out like mine did once (I didn't dry my wet brine off good enough before I put it into the dehydrator). However, Deni DID replace the whole thing including shipping and without seeing it or having a receipt, so I can't fault their customer service!
  5. abelman

    abelman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a 4 tray dehydrator that I got at Cabelas about 5-6 years ago. It's still going strong. I think I paid about $100 for it. I just looked at their website and it was on sale for $16, yes, that number is right. Sold out which is no surprise. However, here's a newer one which is better and still cheaper than I paid years ago:

    I use mine mainly for drying peppers. The thinner the wall, the faster they go. However, I dry anything from Thai Dragons (thin wall) to Jalapenos. I also started doing Jerky this year and can't believe I waited so long. For Jerky, I set it about 130-135 degrees and it takes 6-8 hours depending on outdoor temps. I keep it in the garage. It does a great job.

    I flip the jerky every two hours and rotate the trays every two hours. It's not a problem for me to keep track of. I do whole meat so if you're doing stuff out of a gun, then you should get some screens.

    A dehydrator is one of the best pieces of gear I have.
  6. jbchoice1

    jbchoice1 Smoking Fanatic

    does anyone have any experience or thoughts on the ronco 5 tray?

    thanks to smoke and abel...

    if you find another one for $16 buy it and i'll pay ya back... :)
  7. monty

    monty Master of the Pit Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I recycled my Ronco a long time ago and now have two Excalibur 9 tray full boat dehydrators. The Excalibur will set you back a couple of hundred but is well worth it..

    It has a fan and the air movement does not allow for flavor transfer, therefore allowing several types of food to be dehydrated simultaneously. And it has a timer as well as a temperature control.

    Check'em out!

  8. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    from what i have researched, lite hurts in the dehydrating process.........last ronco i have seen has, not clear, but smoke colored trays that will let in light........i have been using American Harvest/Nesco for YEARS............opaque trays......better airflow, imho............
  9. smokebuzz

    smokebuzz Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think mine is like Steves, i like mine also. My Ronco didnt have a fan, just heat. I set a box fan on paint buckets,blowing up on low and set my Ronco on it, that worked great. But i will take my American Harvest over the Ronco anyday.
  10. abelman

    abelman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wow, I learn something every day. After reading through this, I didn't even know they made dehydrators "without" fans [​IMG] . So, I didn;t even address that issue.
  11. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    really, the best dehydrator, is the alton brown does for jerky........couple PAPER furnace filters, with a 24" box fan. bungi cord the furnace filter to the fan, lay the fan on its back, and dehydrate away.........
  12. hmm you've got me thinking about dehydrators again. last time I looked the cheapest available over here was a couple of hundred pounds.
    Just had another quick look and this one caught my eye. Price isn't too extortionate (within good christmas present range anyway ;-)
    Anyone had any experience with one like this.
    I particularly like the drawer idea, makes switching trays round pretty hassle free.

    If you were wondering what the excaliburs cost over here - they sdame people sell those too:
    No way am I paying that much. multiply by about 1.8 to get equivalent prices in dollars.

    Hmm, would it be worth paying the extra for this one maybe ?
  13. earache_my_eye

    earache_my_eye Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I have the Excalibur 9-tray also.....without the timer. I love it! When I bought it, I found it at some "vegan" came with the 1/4" nylon drying screens.....AND, teflon sheets for each of the trays for drying yogurt and fruit roll-ups.

    I think mine was $210 when I got it. The heating element on the Excalibur is at the back of the cabinet...along with the fan, so the air moves 'across' your food instead of 'up' through the trays. It's supposed to allow you to NOT have to rotate your trays.....I still do once during the drying cycle, though.

    All in all, I really like the Excalibur from a 'bang-for-the-buck' standpoint...especially if you can get the teflon sheets for all the trays included in the price...(they usually only include 4).

    Hope this helps!
  14. jbchoice1

    jbchoice1 Smoking Fanatic

    thanks guys... I see the fans, and different heat control...

    WD, I did see that box fan episode... guys a genius... kinda like a mr. wizard type... remember when he cooked breakfast using the sun and some boxes lined with aluminumumumum foil...

    is this the american harvester/nesco you're talking about?
  15. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  16. now that's a nice looking bit of kit. If it does everything it says on the box, you're going to have some major fun with that :)
    And damn cheap too :-(
    Bet they don't make a model with euro electric power.

    Fish jerky ?
    Hmm. Cold smoked salmon dried to jerky consistency. Now that should be good.

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