For Christmas this year I got a L'Equip 528 6-tray Dehydrator. I had been wanting to buy a dehydrator for a very long time but could never quite make my mind up on what make or model to buy. Based on recommendations from my friend and food guru Sarah, I bit the bullet and bought the L'Equip 528 and can honestly say that I haven't regretted it. Sarah has a great article on her website title Dehydrating 101 and I would highly recommend you check it out, I know I learned a lot from reading it.
The L’Equip dehydrator is top of the line and comes with a 12-year manufacturers warranty, yet it’s very affordable (mine was $120 shipped from Amazon). It’s extremely easy to use, consisting of a base that contains an electric fan and heating element, and 6 plastic trays with liners. It's also pretty darn quiet which is very important as you begin to use it more and more.
Other than an on/off switch the only other control is a temperature adjustment that goes from 93 to 158 (F) - that's it! Here are the specifications:
- 550-watt dehydrator for drying food, flowers, and herbs
- Adjustable thermostat with computer-controlled sensor
- 6 stacking trays for a total of 12 square feet of drying space
- Instructional booklet with recipes and drying times included
- Measures 17 by 11-4/5 by 10-1/2 inches; 12-year limited warranty
I recently made a full batch of jerky using lean ground beef. I prefer to use ground beef instead of a prime cut because it's much easier to marinate and mix, plus the resulting jerky is much easier to chew on because it breaks up in your mouth with a lot less effort. I also like the fact that I can use my jerky gun to extrude the ground beef mixture directly onto the trays in an even width, that makes it very fast and much, much easier to package after the beef is dried.
For this batch I used 4lbs of lean ground beef and added the following ingredients:
- 2 Teaspoons onion powder
- 2 Teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
- 8 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 8 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 Tablespoon ketchup
- 4 Teaspoons kosher salt
I mixed the beef and all the ingredients in a large glass bowl, then cover it with plastic wrap and left it to refrigerate/marinate for four hours. After it had marinated I spooned the mixture into my jerk gun and began squeezing out lengths of the mixture directly onto the trays of the dehydrator using the fine mesh liners. The 4lb mixture almost perfectly filled the six trays that came with the dehydrator - lucky guess!
I ran the dehydrator for 6 hours at 125 degrees, then began periodically checking on the consistency of the beef to test if it was ready. I was looking for a firm but not fully brittle consistency. It took a total of 6 hours and 45 mins to get to the point where it was perfect. By the way, that was over six hours of the entire downstairs of my house smelling like beef jerky - yumm!
The final result was nearly forty 11" strips of delicious beef jerky that had a combined weight of 1 1/2 lbs. That may not sound like a lot, but it a heck of a lot of beef jerky! If you have any suggestions on different flavors or seasonings to try I'd love to hear from you.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and paid for it using their own funds.