Dehydrator recommendations. . .

hipshot45hipshot45 MemberPosts: 39 Member
Hi folks, my wife and I are in the market for a quality food dehydrator. We've been playing around with the small, cheap plastic ones and now we're ready to upgrade to a larger capacity one, preferably with steel trays. And we would like to keep the price around $300. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,

Jim

Replies

  • 1965Jeff1965Jeff Senior Member Posts: 1,612 Senior Member
    Two of my buddies have the big stainless steel models that Cabelas sells and are satisfied, the jerky they make is pretty good.
  • TugarTugar Senior Member Posts: 1,876 Senior Member
    Or you could build your own for much less. Even if you went stainless and had a few welds done.

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/sanders63.html
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
    Winston Churchill
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,773 Senior Member
    I like his idea of building a big capacity dehydrator, but I would be wary of using plywood, particle board, or any treated wood product. I could see the heat causing fumes from the wood or adhesive (in the ply or particle) that could cause weird flavors or health risks. I think building or re-purposing a metal cabinet would be a better choice.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,810 Senior Member
    I am also interested in a dehydrator for my annual mango crop. I see easy cleaning to be a really important feature, so a wood dehydrator would not be my choice. Perhaps if I was drying salmon I might want it made of cedar, but mango needs no additional flavors. Each year I get literally a half a ton of fruit that goes to waste that I could in theory dehydrate.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 4,842 Senior Member
    I have the big Cabela's dehydrator. It cost me about $300 a couple years ago. It has around 20 teflon coated shelves. Nothing sticks, easy clean-up, and quiet. I can set a temperature and time and walk away. I've used it for meats, fish, fruit, and morel mushrooms.
    The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

    Ayn Rand
  • christiechristie Member Posts: 71 Member
    I can see the convenience of an appliance but paper-thin slices from a $75. meat slicer and my existing oven set at a preheated 150'F on those bread-cooling racks I picked up at the commercial kitchen supply store seem to work good enough & only takes 3 hours or so.
    "I couldn't be more proud and humbled by the experience"- said by a successful someone
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 11,032 Senior Member
    christie wrote: »
    I can see the convenience of an appliance but paper-thin slices from a $75. meat slicer and my existing oven set at a preheated 150'F on those bread-cooling racks I picked up at the commercial kitchen supply store seem to work good enough & only takes 3 hours or so.

    I have been going this route with meat also.

    Christie, do you have to rotate the food during the drying process? I am sure it is oven dependent, but how often do you do it if at all?
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 4,842 Senior Member
    christie wrote: »
    I can see the convenience of an appliance but paper-thin slices from a $75. meat slicer and my existing oven set at a preheated 150'F on those bread-cooling racks I picked up at the commercial kitchen supply store seem to work good enough & only takes 3 hours or so.

    I also went this route some years ago. Then I killed a moose. After processing I had 400 lbs of cuts and 100 lbs of ground. It became painfully obvious that I needed an upgrade.

    Bonus: Christmas that year I gave everyone big bags of various flavored moose jerky. The dehydrator nearly paid for itself.
    The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

    Ayn Rand
  • christiechristie Member Posts: 71 Member
    CHIRO1989 wrote: »

    Christie, do you have to rotate the food during the drying process? I am sure it is oven dependent, but how often do you do it if at
    all?[/QUOTE

    well, Chiro1989, besides the fact that the good teriyaki/smokey venison smell drives me crazy while it's cooking I check it no less than a dozen times in 3 hours!!!
    At about the 1 hour mark I flip them, not sure it's necessary but it gives me a chance to test their texture.
    If some trays are done sooner than others I put the new, raw trays at the bottom of the oven and the close to done trays at the top.
    Safe Food Handling dictates no chance of blood drops down on cooked meat.

    I think it's fun to do!
    "I couldn't be more proud and humbled by the experience"- said by a successful someone
  • christiechristie Member Posts: 71 Member
    CaliFFL wrote: »
    I also went this route some years ago. Then I killed a moose.

    whew, that's a lot of meat CaliFFL....I can't wait 'til I get some moose. Looks like dehydrater appliances would be necessary.

    Also, I guess they run on a lower wattage than say, electric stoves.

    I wish our new forum member & his wife good luck in getting a good dehydrating setup. I'm sure they'll find what they need. Then maybe they'll post pics!
    "I couldn't be more proud and humbled by the experience"- said by a successful someone
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 11,032 Senior Member
    christie wrote: »
    CHIRO1989 wrote: »

    Christie, do you have to rotate the food during the drying process? I am sure it is oven dependent, but how often do you do it if at
    all?[/QUOTE

    well, Chiro1989, besides the fact that the good teriyaki/smokey venison smell drives me crazy while it's cooking I check it no less than a dozen times in 3 hours!!!
    At about the 1 hour mark I flip them, not sure it's necessary but it gives me a chance to test their texture.
    If some trays are done sooner than others I put the new, raw trays at the bottom of the oven and the close to done trays at the top.
    Safe Food Handling dictates no chance of blood drops down on cooked meat.

    I think it's fun to do!

    Thanks, that is what I do also, I was hoping there was some "no peeking" technique i was missing so I could leave the house for awhile.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,810 Senior Member
    I would think it would help to have ventilated trays and a circulating fan and that would allow you to not turn your product, at least not as much.

    My mangos are so wet, I wonder how they would work in a dryer. Mold a big thing here in "the tropics".

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
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