Sweet and Spicy Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

I love loading up my Nesco Snackmaster Pro with freshly-ground lean ground beef and making a big batch of jerky. I have 12 trays, so I can make a good amount at once, all different flavors if I like. I recently picked up a package of Sweet and Spicy jerky mix from Hi Mountain. Their mixes make it super easy to make great jerky in no time. Though I tend to be more a spicy jerky guy, I love a great balance between the heat and sweet, and this mix nails it perfectly. Not so spicy that it’ll scare off those that fear a little kick. And not so sweet that it tastes like candy. Really a great balance and very addicting to eat, that’s for sure.

Make sure you rotate your trays every 2 hours or so. The bottom trays in the Nesco Snackmaster Pro will not dry as quickly as those on top. Rotating the trays will give you nice, even drying and perfect jerky on every level.

Check out my guide to using the Nesco Snackmaster Pro. You will be making fantastic jerky at home in no time at all!

Sweet and Spicy Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Author: 
Recipe type: Dehydrator
Cuisine: Jerky
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1/2 pound
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place beef in a resealable bag or container.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the seasoning, curing salt and water. Pour over the meat and seal. Shake to coat.
  3. Refrigerate the meat for up to 8 hours, shaking or massaging every hour or so to get the marinade distributed and absorbed evenly.
  4. Remove meat from the marinade and add to a jerky gun. Squeeze out onto Nesco trays. Do not overlap meat.
  5. Add the dehydrator top, set to maximum temperature setting and dehydrate for 5 hours, rotating the trays (bottom to top) every 2 hours or so.
  6. To test for doneness remove a piece and let cool slightly. Try to bend the meat. If it gives and starts to tear at the bend it is done. If it bends without tearing return to the dehydrator and let it run another 15 minutes and test again. If the meat is crunchy it is overdone but still good. It's really a personal preference as to how you like your jerky. Soft, chewy, crunchy. There's no wrong here.
  7. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.

Cauliflower Popcorn

I loved the flavor of this cauliflower ‘popcorn’. The cumin and chili powder add a nice southwestern, earthly flavor. The nutritional yeast (which I’d never used before) made me think of cheddar cheese flavoring. I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Now, let’s talk ‘popcorn’. That makes you think crunchy, and if you eat this cauliflower raw that’s just what you’ll get. You can also pop (sorry) them into a dehydrator for 12 or so hours. Right out of the dehydrator they have a nice crunch to them, but I found that that crunch doesn’t last. The seems get a bit soft…. and not popcorny. But the flavor was still great!
I’m looking forward to other ways to use nutritional yeast. For us, I’d recommend this cauliflower popcorn, but honestly I’d enjoy them more raw and save the dehydrator time. That’s up to you. I’m a big texture guy, and for me, the texture of the raw cauliflower was better.

Cauliflower Popcorn
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower, florets removed (try to remove as much stem as possible if dehydrating)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the cauliflower into a large bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil, yeast, cumin, chili powder and salt and toss to coat.
  3. Serve raw, or if desired, place into a dehydrator and dry for 12 hours. Serve immediately.

Smoked Habanero Flake on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

Not too long ago I made a fantastic batch of red pepper flake using my dehydrator, a Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I use the spicy flakes on just about everything. But, I thought, nothing wrong with making an even tastier, hotter version. So I grabbed a big bag of red habaneros and proceeded to make smoked habanero flake.
smoked-habanero-flake-on-the-nesco-snackmaster-proSmoking the habaneros, though not required, gives the flakes a fantastic slightly-smoky flavor and aroma, much more complex than if you just ground dried habaneros. And oh, yes, these flakes are mighty hot. You have to be careful handling the peppers, and trust me, when you grind them, do NOT put your face over the grinder when you remove the lid. I speak the truth here, it’ll get you.

Smoked Habanero Flake on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Note: You'll need a smoker (wood, charcoal, or electric), a dehydrator, and a spice grinder (I use a blade-style coffee grinder) to make these smoked habanero flakes.
Ingredients
  • Ripe habaneros, any color, preferably all roughly the same size
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker. Add a few chunks of stronger wood, such as hickory. Do not use a fruity wood such as apple, peach, etc.
  2. Add the habaneros to the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. You're not looking to dry them (though you could given plenty of time), just get a nice smoke flavor.
  3. Remove the habaneros and transfer to your dehydrator, set to 165 F.
  4. Dry the habaneros until crispy, 8-12 hours (or more if they are large, less if they are smaller). Rotate the trays every 2 hours to ensure even drying.
  5. Remove the habaneros and let cool slightly.
  6. Remove the stems from the peppers.
  7. Working in batches, transfer the peppers to a spice grinder with blades (do not use a burr grinder) and grind until the desired sized flakes are achieved.
  8. Store in an air-tight container.
  9. Note: The flakes will be mighty hot, so use sparingly.

Dried Cilantro on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

Although making jerky with my Nesco Snackmaster Pro is something I really enjoy, the other main reason I bought a dehydrator is to dry the herbs from my garden. Fresh herbs don’t last long, so I dry as many as I can and keep them in air-right containers in the pantry like this cilantro. Easy as anything to dry, cilantro crumbles up and stores easily for use in the winter. It’s not a substitute for fresh cilantro in recipes like salsa, but it’s great for flavoring stews and soups.
Dried Cilantro on the Nesco Snackmaster ProI did not remove the cilantro from the stems until after I dried it. It’s a lot easier to remove the leaves once they are dried. I then lightly crumbled them just a bit and put them in containers for use later.

I love drying fresh herbs with my Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I also freeze them for later use.

Dried Cilantro on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Author: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Fresh cilantro, rinsed, patted dry. Do not remove leaves from stems.
Instructions
  1. Place cilantro onto the dehydrator trays.
  2. Set the dehydrator to 95 F and let dry for 12-24 hours or until the leaves are dry and crispy, rotating the trays every 2 hours.
  3. Let cilantro cool slightly then remove leaves from stems and crumble (by hand) into a resealable air-tight container.

Cracked Pepper N’ Garlic Ground Beef Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

I love making jerky on my Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I’ve been using ground top round for my ground beef jerky, but any lean ground meat will work. I tend to prefer jerky with a lot of flavor. I’m not really into mellow jerky. Which is why I enjoyed the heck out of this Cracked Pepper N’ Garlic jerky made using a seasoning  from Hi Mountain that I picked up at our nearby Cabela’s. The jerky is definitely peppery (I used more seasoning than the package calls for because hey, like I said, I like my jerky to be packed with flavor!) with a nice hint of garlic that isn’t overwhelming. It’s a really, really tasty jerky that you’ll enjoy more than you may want (so make a double batch!).
cracked-pepper-n-garlic-ground-beef-jerky-on-the-nesco-snackmaster-proI grind my meat using my own grinder, but if you’re friends with your butcher (and you should be), you can get him to trim and grind it for you. Or if you prefer sliced jerky, your butcher can do that for you too. That’s why they’re there. Getting to know your butcher is a really good idea, so take the time to say ‘hi’ even if you don’t need anything from him or her the next time you see them.

Also try my Hi Mountain pepperoni and sweet and spicy jerky.

Cracked Pepper N' Garlic Ground Beef Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Author: 
Recipe type: Dehydrator
Cuisine: Jerky
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1/2 pound
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. NOTE: I personally feel that the flavor is too mellow when mixing per the package instructions, 2 1/2 teaspoons per pound. I use a heaping tablespoon. You may want to first make a pound per the package instructions and see if you want a stronger flavor.
  2. Place beef in a resealable bag or container.
  3. Place meat, seasoning, curing salt and water into a mixer and mix for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer meat to a resealable container or bag and refrigerate for up to 8 hours, massaging every hour or so to get the marinade distributed and absorbed evenly.
  5. Remove meat from the marinade. Add to a jerky gun and squeeze out onto Nesco trays.
  6. Add the dehydrator top, set to maximum temperature setting and dehydrate for 5 hours, rotating the trays (bottom to top) every 2 hours or so.
  7. To test for doneness remove a piece and let cool slightly. Try to bend the meat. If it gives and starts to tear at the bend it is done. If it bends without tearing return to the dehydrator and let it run another 15 minutes and test again. If the meat is crunchy it is overdone but still good. It's really personal preference as to how you like your jerky. Soft, chewy, crunchy. There's no wrong here.
  8. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.

Pepperoni Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

By golly, this jerky tastes EXACTLY like pepperoni. I didn’t need a pizza to get that great cured sausage flavor. I just needed my Nesco Snackmaster Pro, some ground beef (I used top round that I ground myself after first trimming off any fat), and a package of seasoning from Hi Mountain.
Make sure you rotate your trays every 2 hours or so. The bottom trays in the Nesco Snackmaster Pro will not dry as quickly as those on top. Rotating the trays will give you nice, even drying and perfect jerky on every level.

Also try my Hi Mountain cracked pepper ‘n garlic jerky.

Check out my guide to using the Nesco Snackmaster Pro. You will be making fantastic jerky at home in no time at all!

Pepperoni Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Author: 
Recipe type: Dehydrator
Cuisine: Jerky
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1/2 pound
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place beef in a resealable bag or container.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the seasoning, curing salt and water. Pour over the meat and seal. Shake to coat.
  3. Refrigerate the meat for up to 8 hours, shaking or massaging every hour or so to get the marinade distributed and absorbed evenly.
  4. Remove meat from the marinade and add to a jerky gun. Squeeze out onto Nesco trays. Do not overlap meat.
  5. Add the dehydrator top, set to maximum temperature setting and dehydrate for 5 hours, rotating the trays (bottom to top) every 2 hours or so.
  6. To test for doneness remove a piece and let cool slightly. Try to bend the meat. If it gives and starts to tear at the bend it is done. If it bends without tearing return to the dehydrator and let it run another 15 minutes and test again. If the meat is crunchy it is overdone but still good. It's really a personal preference as to how you like your jerky. Soft, chewy, crunchy. There's no wrong here.
  7. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.

Dehydrated Marshmallows on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

Oh there’s no question that its hot cocoa time here in Indianapolis. We’ve had day after day of sub-zero temperatures. And if I’m making hot cocoa, I need marshmallows. Not those teensy weensy shriveled up ones that they put in cocoa mix, either. Nice, perfectly shaped and perfectly crunchy marshmallows. Nothing is easier than dehydrating marshmallows on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro. Just load them up, turn it on and come back later to great marshmallows.
To answer your next question: Yes. Yes, these dehydrated marshmallows would be fantastic in cereal. Who hasn’t polished off a bowl of Lucky Charms only to wish they’d had more marshmallows floating in the milk? That’s right, no one. I would definitely recommend using Kraft’s Jet-Puffed Funmallows (like you see in the picture above). They come in orange, strawberry, lemon and lime flavors.

You can dehydrate just about anything using a Nesco Snackmaster Pro. Even mushrooms.

Check out my guide to using the Nesco Snackmaster Pro. You will be making fantastic jerky at home in no time at all!

Dehydrated Marshmallows on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Author: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Miniature marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator for drying at 120 F.
  2. Line your trays with dehydrator screens to prevent sticking (optional).
  3. Add marshmallows but do not crowd.
  4. Dry for 6 or until crunchy. If using more than 4 trays, rotate the trays every 2 hours.
  5. Note: The marshmallows will get even crunchier after they cool. To test, I take a marshmallow out of the dehydrator and place in the freezer for 5 minutes and then test for crunchiness.)
  6. Let cool before serving

Spicy Jalapeno Ground Beef Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

I have been loving making jerky on my Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I’ve been using ground top round for my ground beef jerky, but any lean ground meat will work. This spicy jalapeno ground beef jerky is right up my alley: a nice kick, but not overwhelming. I’m a big fan of spicy jerky, and though the heat here isn’t high, it’s there just enough to really enjoy. And share. The jerky has the perfect ‘bite’, just a little tug.

Spicy Jalapeno Ground Beef Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster ProMake sure you rotate your trays every 2 hours or so. The bottom trays in the Nesco Snackmaster Pro will not dry as quickly as those on top. Rotating the trays will give you nice, even drying and perfect jerky on every level.

Try these other great jerky flavors from Eastman Outdoors: Cajun, whiskey pepper, mesquite, sweet habanero and hickory.

Check out my guide to using the Nesco Snackmaster Pro. You will be making fantastic jerky at home in no time at all!

Sweet BBQ Ground Beef Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
Author: 
Recipe type: Dehydrator
Cuisine: Jerky
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1/2 pound
 
This recipe is for starting with 1 pound of meat. You'll end up with about 1/2 pound in the end. You can easily double/triple/etc this recipe for large quantities of meat, however 5-6 pounds is about all you can fit onto a Nescao Snackmaster Pro fitted with 12 trays (the unit comes with 5).
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Eastman Outdoors Spicy Jalapeno Jerky Seasoning, see my note below
  • 1 teaspoon curing salt (Comes with the seasoning. Optional if you're going to refrigerate the finished product)
  • 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. NOTE: The package for the Eastman Outdoors jerky seasoning states that it makes up to 5 pounds of jerky. I personally feel that the flavor is too mellow, so I use just about an entire package for 1 pound of jerky. I end up with a little left over seasoning, which I store in a labelled air-tight container. I'll eventually mix it with more seasoning. I think I can get 3 pounds of well-seasoning jerky out of two packages of Eastman Outdoors mix.
  2. Place beef in a resealable bag or container.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the seasoning, curing salt and water. Pour over the meat and seal. Shake to coat.
  4. Refrigerate the meat for up to 8 hours, shaking or massaging every hour or so to get the marinade distributed and absorbed evenly.
  5. Remove meat from the marinade and add to a jerky gun. Squeeze out onto Nesco trays. Do not overlap meat.
  6. Add the dehydrator top, set to maximum temperature setting and dehydrate for 5 hours, rotating the trays (bottom to top) every 2 hours or so.
  7. To test for doneness remove a piece and let cool slightly. Try to bend the meat. If it gives and starts to tear at the bend it is done. If it bends without tearing return to the dehydrator and let it run another 15 minutes and test again. If the meat is crunchy it is overdone but still good. It's really a personal preference as to how you like your jerky. Soft, chewy, crunchy. There's no wrong here.
  8. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.