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Dehydrate Interest

Discussion in 'Drying/Dehydrating' started by shooterrick, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK so i am interested.  Tell me all the reasons I want to do this.  I  am looking at a Nesco FD 80 and a 9 tray used Excalibur.

  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Only dehydrator i ever had was one of them el cheapos from wal mart.  was fun to play with.

     Fruit / jerky etc.
  3. Having used a round American harvest for several years, I would say that you probably be better off with the Excalibur. Mainly because of the Square/rectangular trays. Depending on what you are dehydrating(jerky) there is a lot of wasted space trying to fit rectangular objects on a round tray.
  4. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ya the FD 80 Nesco is square also.  Still looking
  5. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    My wife recently bought a Nesco.  Not sure of the model number, but the top says Nesco Professional Food and Jerky dehydrator.  It has five trays, plus some inserts.  The trays have a grid that is perhaps 1/4 inch or so. One type of insert has a smaller grid that allows you to dehydrate small things without them falling through.  Another type of insert is solid and you can use it to dehydrate liquids.

    She has been doing a lot of web research, and has gotten a few cookbooks on dehydrators.

    A lot of people use them to prepare food for back packing.  You could take a pound of chili and dehydrate it to be perhaps only an ounce or two.

    You can use them to dehydrate vegetables when they are in season and inexpensive.  She's done things like green and red bell peppers.  They would not hydrate to fresh salad quality, but would be good as additions to things like soups or gumbo.

    Of course, you can use it to make jerky if you like that.

    She is using it to prepare pre-made dishes that she sends to our son who is in the Army deployed to a middle east country.  That way he can get some foods that he likes and that the mess halls (or whatever they call them these days) don't have.

    One thing that she discovered is a recipe for making hot nuts.  Take commercial freeze dried peanuts.  Soak them in Siraca hot sauce (aka rooster sauce) for a couple of hours.  Then put them in the dehydrator to dry them back out.  Makes a great snack.

    Have you ever had dehydrated pineapple?  Very sweet and very good.  We have not made that yet, but it is an example of another thing you could do.
  6. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I've got both types and use them both.  My primary is the Excalibur mostly because of the timer function.  I use the Nesco for overflow.  If you're just going to mess around with dehydrating, a few apples, etc, stick with the Nesco.  If the used Excalibur is near the same price, go for the Excalibur.  Just my opinion of course, but I've run all kinds of stuff through the dehyrators, especially fruit rolls (first you take applesauce then..... oh wait, that wasn't the question),  well, you get the idea.  Definitely more capacity in the Excalibur.  I found that I had to rotate the trays in the Nesco more frequently to get an even drying.  And, the more trays you add to the Nesco, the longer the drying time, of course.  I guess I'm kinda a set the timer and go smoke something type of guy.  On the Excalibur, make sure you have all the trays and screens.  The screens are an integral part of the tray, not a fancy extra.  Shipping cost for replacement screens isn't cheap.  I know this from personal experience when SWMBO placed the screen in the dishwasher.  Screens DO NOT like dishwashers.  Depending on how into it you want to get, either will serve you well.
  7. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Been using the original Ronco round unit with 5 trays for years.

    Dry my peppers, tomatoes, and all kinds of fruit.
  8. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I have the RONCO also... It does okay...
  9. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Cause the one with the most toys when they die wins.......Hey it's the first thing that came to the part me on my shoulders.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  10. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  11. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Hey Shooter,

    Living in South Lousiane you might consider a solar dehydrator, I built mine 32" x 80" from scraps from my cabinet shop, a piece of corrugated tin for air circulation on the bottom, two trays with fiberglass window screen and a removable frame over them covered with black cloth, I found a patio sliding glass door that was cracked on one side and cut it down to fit (actually I cut the door first and then made the frame and the trays), coated it with mineral oil, ...large capacity, free fuel and it dries fruits and veggies in about a day and a half.

  12. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    'round here we just walk outside for a couple of hours..........

    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  13. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

     Cuz ya can! [​IMG]
  14. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well ok then I did.  I ordered a Nesco FD80 square dehydrator from wally world for in store pickup.  Best price I could find for this unit.  Was 56.00 with free in store pickup.  The unit has 5.5 sq ft drying area and capacity can be doubled.  Since I dont plan on doing this commmercially I just wanted a unit to serve my needs at home for some jerky, fruit and veggy and so on.  This was my second choice as I was late getting to a 9 tray excalabur used unit like new for 100.00..  Oh well probably more than I would have used anyway.  LOL

    7-10 day wait now. 
  15. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Cool Rick. I cant wait to see how you like it.
  16. spec

    spec Meat Mopper

    I'm alittle late...since you already ordered...Been crazy around here

    Gut I would have suggested the cabella's unit

    I'v had american harvest with great luck...I just had 2 fail in the last month....BUT THEY WERE BOTH 15-12 YEARS OLD RUNNING 5-7 DAYS A WEEK NON STOP...[​IMG]Till the thermostats go south...either no heat or full on cooks the jerky

    Nesco...I've had a few of those, they're allright, but the heat wasn't accurate...I used a temp probe to check regularily[​IMG]

    Hell I even have an OLD ronco...It has a batch of modello peppers for pepper powder in it now

    My opinion IS biased I sell about 500 pounds of Jerky and stix per year, I also grow and produce ALL of the spices in my jerky,That's how you get the best flavor without all the additive crap they put in for color and long shelf life

    Little off track My point is I got the biggest dehydrator I could at Cabella's I hate the trays...they suck chit...they REALLY suck chit...But I love the crap outta the dehydrator, As a matter of fact...I have orders for 45 pound of jerky, that I'm firming the meat for now[​IMG]


  17. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice lookin dehydrator.  I just dont do much other than for my own use so that big unit would be overkill for me.  Thanks for the info. 
  18. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    If you sell that much you should have a smoke house outdoors. Do a search and advertise with scenting the neighborhood at the same time, just a thought.
  19. shtrdave

    shtrdave Smoking Fanatic

    I have the cabelas unit that is half of the above, I wish I had gotten the bigger one. I don't use it near as much as this person does.

    As for the racks, I have found i like mine better used upside down, why they are bent on the end is beyond me.

    I terrific unit though.
  20. spec

    spec Meat Mopper


    I do,

    I don't sell as much of the smoked jerky or stix as I do the really spicey stuff that comes out of the dehydrator