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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking about getting a food dehydrator. I just want a home use machine to use occaisionally. Any recommendations?
 

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I have an old K-tel dryer that I have had for years. The one time I used it was ok. BUT, I make jerky probably twice a month and use the Cabelas jerky racks in my oven. Set oven to not go over 190* and it works fine. This system should work to dry most anything, is easy to clean after use and the racks are inexpensive. I have two sets as I make around 5 pounds of meat at the time.
U
 

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I generally really dislike the commercially available food dryers. The passive heat ones are too slow and I don't like the results, and the forced air ones are outrageously expensive. If you want a passive one I'd follow USAFRET's suggestion and just use your oven, and if you want a forced air dryer I'd recommend just making your own.



 

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Alton Brown has a good eats episode dedicated to food dehydrating, he takes some furnace filters and a box fan and that's it. If you can find the episode,RY worthwhile to watch, especially if you're looking into doing it for the first time (might save you some time and/or money)
 

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Alton Brown has a good eats episode dedicated to food dehydrating, he takes some furnace filters and a box fan and that's it. If you can find the episode,RY worthwhile to watch, especially if you're looking into doing it for the first time (might save you some time and/or money)
good to know that I am not the only one who thought of A.B. :rolleyes:

I have been using a L'EQUIP model 528 that was given to me in a past job as a manager of a small gourmet food store. Back then (2001) the company was just starting out and if I remember correctly they were based in Mechanicsburg PA. I use it monthly and I am very happy with both the performance and the ease of cleaning. The modular design allows you to use as many or few trays as needed and extra trays are relatively inexpensive. Some people complain that it does not have a timer built in, but this can be fixed with a digital appliance timer for a few bucks and then you have a digital timer when you are not using the dehydrator. (score!) Pricing is all over the place online and Ebay so I don't have a great recommendation on where to buy.
 

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Alton Brown has a good eats episode dedicated to food dehydrating, he takes some furnace filters and a box fan and that's it. If you can find the episode,RY worthwhile to watch, especially if you're looking into doing it for the first time (might save you some time and/or money)
I generally like some heat also. My dad's homemade one has a heater element from a coffee maker and a muffin fan from an old IBM mainframe that's ducted to flow out under all the racks and up through the top. ******* engineering FTW!!



 

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I'll second the Good Eats recommendation. Alton Brown, the host, gets really scientific, and does a bunch of research before coming up with his shows. What he dislikes about the commercial dehydrators, is that they all used heat. That means the food is being cooked, not just dried. So, as mentioned above, he rigged up his own dehydrator and seems to have had good results.

You can watch it on YouTube.. Here is part 1, and here is part 2!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys. I know absolutely nothing about them. I will look into all of your suggestions. I was thinking about just using my oven. It has convection so it might work for me. I'm definitely going to look up that AB episode. I even have that book "Gear for the Kitchen" but I don't remember seeing anything about it there. I'll check it again this weekend.
 

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If you ahve a convection oven you're set, just set temp as low as it goes, fan on low, and open the door. :D



 

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Thanks guys. I know absolutely nothing about them. I will look into all of your suggestions. I was thinking about just using my oven. It has convection so it might work for me. I'm definitely going to look up that AB episode. I even have that book "Gear for the Kitchen" but I don't remember seeing anything about it there. I'll check it again this weekend.
LOL!!! Me too, me too...!!!

Hey Gibroni, let me/us know what you come up with since I too have a convection oven and I'm tired of always having to buy gourmet beef jerky every time the different shows come to the Bay Area...!

Thanks in advance...!

LBD
 

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I'll be home this weekend and see if I can get some pics of our homemade dehydrator if anybody's interested.



 

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I finally got my DIY food dryer constructed last weekend! Pics are located at http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65471, plans to follow as soon as I get everything measured up and organized.

As with everything I do it's supersized, over-engineered, and over-built. Has around 40 square feet of rack space :evil:



 
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