For the past couple of months I have been getting into making jerky.  This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, so I finally took the dive.  Even though this is something I have wanted, I wasn’t sure how much I would be doing it, maybe it was just a fad.  So I knew I wanted a dehydrator, but I didn’t want to spend a lot, so I ended up going to Walmart and bought a Presto Dehydrator, model 06300.  Turns out I was going to do a whole lot.

The unit is pretty good considering the price of about $35.  It comes with four drying trays, which I thought wasn’t going to be enough, so I went to Amazon and bought four more trays, plus some fruit trays.  Since I bought the Presto Dehydrator, I have used it about 40 times.  I haven’t done much other than beef.  I really want to get into other meats, but for some reason I have been pretty happy when I find beef on sale.

There are a couple great things about this system and a couple of not so great things.  First, the unit does a great job in drying out the meat evenly.  For me, I make flat jerky.  I really don’t bunch it together, like I have seen other people do.  So it does get room for air movement.  I am usually doing about 3-5 lbs of meat per time.  I have a 5 and 7 year old and both of them love the jerky, which is probably the only protein they get.  I haven’t really tried a variety of mixes.  I found Hi Mountain Seasoning and like most of their stuff, so I have stuck with that.  I usually leave the unit on for about 2 hours, then I pat the meat down to get off the fat, turn it over and do another 2 hours.  After a good four hours, the jerky is pretty much done.  Another good feature about this machine is storage.  The cord wraps around the bottom and the trays go inside each other to make storage a snap.  It really doesn’t take up a lot of room.

The two down sides to this unit are first, I wish the power cord was a little longer.  I am not sure the length, but it seems a little short.  The second issue is my fault.  This unit just has an on and off.  Well once you plug it in, it’s on.  When you unplug it, it’s off.  Looking back I would have spent a couple extra bucks and bought the next model up, the Presto Dehydrator 06302.  With this model, you can actually set the temp. Again not a huge deal because for me it gets the job done.

Overall, I like the unit.  It’s pretty easy to clean and does a great job making jerky.  I did try to make the kids fruit roll ups, but it ended up costing me about $20 in fruit to make two roll ups, which isn’t such a great idea.  For someone who has a garden or can get free fruit, I would suggest getting the fruit trays.  Leave your comments below.  I always love finding new mixes or ideas on hydrating food.