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. I 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.
Although I truly do love making jerky on my Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator, it’s actually not the main reason I bought it. I got it to dry herbs and vegetables to make my own spice mixes. This bell pepper powder was my first attempt, and boy, is it ever amazing. I cannot wait to use this powder in everything from omlets, to burgers, to chili. It has a great peppery sweetness to it. You could easily substitute it for black pepper in a lot of cases.
After drying the chopped peppers for 24 hours I ground them using a blade coffee grinder (not the burr grinder). Not all of the peppers would go thru the grinder (they were still a bit moist) so I returned them to the dehydrator for just a bit.
The final product went into Mason jars with lids and then vacuum-sealed using a jar attachment for a vacuum sealer. You just have to remember that after you open the jar to remove some of the powder you’ll need to re-seal it. No big deal and well worth the effort.
Also try making onion powder on your Nesco Snackmaster Pro. It’s as easy as easy gets!
You'll need the following. A dehydrator with screen trays (I use a Nesco Snackmaster Pro), a blade coffee grinder (not a burr grinder) air-right containers or vacuum-sealed jars (I use a canning jar attachment on my vacuum sealer) additional trays, if required (my Nesco Snackmaster Pro came with 5, I purchased more so I can have 8 or more trays going at once).
Bell peppers (I was able to fit approximately 2 peppers per Nesco Snackmaster Pro tray)
Set your dehydrator to 135 F.
Rinse the peppers. Remove the stems and seeds and cut into chunks. If you are not using screen trays you'll want to cut fairly large pieces so they do not fall between the trays.
Dehydrate for 18-24 hours. Rotate the trays every 2 hours if possible.
Once all the peppers are dry and a bit crisp remove and let cool.
Process the peppers in the grinder until they form a fine powder. If some pieces of pepper do not grind return them to the dehydrator for another hour or so until crisp.
Keep the powder in an air-tight container. I place mine in a Mason jar, cover it, then use a vacuum-sealer attachment specifically for jars to remove all of the air.
After making homemade bacon on my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker, I figured the next logical thing to try would be making homemade jerky. The curing process for jerky is similar in ways to curing bacon, but it doesn’t take as long. The smoking process is different, since the jerky needs to dry out on the smoker.
The end result was fantastic. This Teriyaki jerky has great Asian-inspired flavor. The meat was tender, with a little bit of tug, as you’d expect from jerky. We loved it. Everyone loved it. The most important things to keep in mind when making jerky is to start with a lean cut of meat (I used a lean top round), sliced super thin, and smoke at a fairly low temperature, 150 – 175 F.
I lit just a handful of charcoal using my charcoal chimney. The easiest way to do that is to turn the chimney upside down, putting the charcoal where you’d normally put newspaper, and putting newspaper where you’d normally put charcoal. I put just enough unlit charcoal in the bottom of the WSM to cover the bottom grate.
To make slicing the beef easier, I sat it in the freezer for about 30 minutes first. Then I used a very sharp knife to get very thin slices.
To fit as much jerky on my Weber Smokey Mountain as I could, I suspended the meat on skewers. I have to admit that skewering the meat and feeding it through the grill grates took some time, but I was able to easily fit 3 pounds of jerky on my 18″ cooker (I made two different flavors). I could’ve probably fit 5 or so pounds on without any trouble.
Also check out my black pepper jerky. It has a really great peppery bite to it, with a little heat.