The dehydrator came in yesterday, which makes me very happy.  I wanted to start making stuff right away with it, so what better foods to start off with than fruit and jerky?

Simple enough, so my roommate and I headed to the grocery store for a roast. We first hit up Fred Meyer.

No cheap roasts. Damn

So we head to Safeway.

Again, no luck. They had a couple bottom rounds, but at nearly 4 bucks a pound, I wasn’t going to even think of making Jerky with that. Not when knowing I can get a large roast from the Cash and Carry of much better quality for less.

The problem with Cash and Carry is that you have to buy such a large portion of meat. Well, I wasn’t going to spend the nearly 4 dollars a pound, so I decided to just go to the Cash and Carry and pick up a twelve and a half pound sirloin roast at $1.99lb.

Now, with all the meat on the mind, I forgot to pick up fruit. So shortly after getting back to the house and slicing up the roast, I realized that I needed fruit.

Well I cut up the rest of the roast, and prepared 5 different marinades.

Two marinades are of the standard pepper jerky variety, two are of the teriyaki variety, and one of just a liquid smoke variety.

So now all of the beef is cut up, in little bags with their marinades, and off to the store I go for some fruit.

Decide to pick up some Red Delicious and Honey Crisp apples, as well as a couple bundles of banana’s and a few pears.

Back at the house, I cut up a couple apples, and 4 banana’s and get them all spread out on the racks, and set in the dehydrator. Hurray! My first stuff ready to go!

So back to the beef.

Because when you cut up jerky, you want to keep cuts that are all about the same size and thickness, you end up with a few ends here and there, as well as a lot of fatty area’s you cut out.

So now I had a pile of fat, and a pile of scraps sitting around. What better thing to do than to throw them into a pot, turn it on low, and let it sit.

So that’s what I did. I packed all of the meaty scraps in the bottom of a pot, then packed the fat above it. This way the fat would help season the meat.

I put the lid on the pot, put it up to the number 2 on the stove, and left it.

Fast forward 14 more hours (6am this morning), I had a pot of cooked beef. Very very slow cooked, and very very tender. The type of tender that you could sneeze and the meat would fly apart (I don’t recommend sneezing on food… It’s very unsanitary).

So the first step is the separate the fat from the meet. Since I packed the fat on the top, that means that the fat stays on the top.

Fat Seperated from scrap meat
Fat Seperated from scrap meat

The other great thing about slow cooking your meat like this, is the meat will release from the fat. So when you are trimming it, don’t worry about the fatty area’s much. As you pull it out of the pot, just scrape it off with a spoon. The meat falls off.

dehydrator-11809-005
scrap pieces of sirloin slow cooked for 14 hours

And here you get left with very tender, very flavorful meat. This meat can be used for many things. You can use it in stews, in sandwiches, tacos, burritos, etc. It has many uses in this form. Mix a little bbq sauce in it, and you have bbq beef. Mix in some peppers and you have yourself a great base for a philly cheese steak. Or, reduce down the liquid, remove the oil from it, and toast yourself a french bread role for the best french dip you will every sink your teeth into.

In fact, that is what I did for lunch 🙂

nom nom nom. This is a completely fresh, home made from scratch french dip. Estimated time to make? About 16 hours...
nom nom nom. This is a completely fresh, home made from scratch french dip. Estimated time to make? About 16 hours...

So lets reverse a little to the morning again.

So after I had separated the meat from the broth, I went back to the dehydrator.

The fruit was finished, and ready to be cooked and placed in zip lock bags. It came out wonderful!

My First Batch of Dried Fruit! I'm so excited!
My First Batch of Dried Fruit! I'm so excited!

Next came getting a couple of my recipes of the jerky placed on the rack.

I made sure to place it with the heavier marinades on the bottom, with the lighter on the top. That way there would be less chance of any contamination that would cause much of a taste difference.

The first batch that went in was my Peppered Batch of Jerky.

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Peppered Beef, ready to be dried

So while that started the drying process, I put the other marinades back in the fridge to sit more.

Marinated Beef. Yum
Marinated Beef. Yum

The Dehydrator I got is nice. It is a 700 watt Nesco, and it really does the job. They say that the dry time is cut in half with this model, which is part of the reason I purchased it.

Fast forward 6 hours later (which ended up being around lunch when I was making the French Dips as well) and we end up with fresh peppered jerky!

My First Batch of Peppered Jerky!
My First Batch of Peppered Jerky!

And it came out delicious!

After letting it cool, I packaged it up into zip locks, and started my next batch of drying with the teriyaki batch.

I can honestly say, both of the recipes I made came out great. In fact, one that I thought was a bit over powering at first, after letting set for a couple hours now, it really has mellowed out and is a great all around marinade. I call it the “Kitchen Sink” as it is a whole ton of different things mixed in.

I’m happy it all turned out so far! I can’t wait until the real experimenting begins with making dehydrated meals to prepare for my Arctic Trip in 2010! For right now though, I am making some damn tasty snacks that will compliment the rest of whatever I take along with me!

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