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It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and today I want to share a recipe with you that is my valentine’s favorite treat: Homemade Jerky! Okay, so my Valentine is my dog, but he is my best friend. While it’s true you could just buy your dog some treats at the store for Valentines Day and risk the potential hazards of contamination with salmonella, plastic bits, and depending on the quality of the treat other worse toxins. Personally, I am very picky about what I feed my little fellow. The nice thing about homemade jerky for your dog is that you are in total control. Is your dog allergic to chicken or beef or grains? No grains in these treats and you can dehydrate any kind of meat you want too! Are you super-extra picky? You can dehydrate free-range, grass-fed, ethically raised meat if you want too.
So, let’s get started with this. Choose your meat. I’ve used everything from alpaca, to duck, to goose, to venison, to beef, to chicken, to turkey (one of Welly absolute favorites), to assorted organ meats like liver or gizzards to make Welly homemade jerky. For this post, I’ll be showing your chicken breast and chicken gizzards and hearts. Remember you can use any meat your dog likes.
Next, I usually cut off the fat. This is optional. I have to cut off the fat for Welly because he is prone to pancreatitis, mainly because he loves to eat bugs so much… But a low-fat diet is a requirement for him. If your dog has no issues with fat then, by all means, skip this step and move to the next step. Before Welly had issues with pancreatitis one of the highest value treat I had was dehydrated poultry skin. Note: the more fat you leave on the meat to more greasy it will be, so if you’re going to put it in your pocket you might want to cut off the fat.
Now, it’s time to slice up the meat. You can use a knife or some sharp kitchen scissors. You will want to cut the meat super thin, the thinner it is cut the faster it will dehydrate.
You can give your best buddy a little taste now if you want too. I feed Welly a raw diet so he likes to taste it before it’s cooked.
Or if you need your oven for other things that day ( I always need my oven for other things…) you can use a dehydrator. I personally like to use a dehydrator, it seems like it gets the job done faster. This is a link to the dehydrator I use and love it, I’ve made countless batches of jerky for Welly in it and it still works great!
Place the meat on your wire racks or on the racks of your dehydrator in a single layer with some space in between them. For oven cooking cook the meat at 175F, for dehydrator cooking follow the manufacturer’s directions.
As you can see the oven cooked meat (top) is not as well done and the dehydrator cooked meat (bottom). They both cooked for about 5 hours. The time it takes for your meat to be done will vary upon how full the dehydrator is and how thickly the meat is cut.
How will you know the meat is done? It will look dried out and almost see through in the thinnest sections and be very crisp to the touch. Here is a before and after shot so you can get the idea.
Once the meat reaches this stage pile it all onto a foil-lined baking sheet. If there are any peices that seem less done on one side just palce those on top with the less done side up. Bake it for 1 hour at 175F in the oven just to make sure it is completely safe for you to handle and not have to run and wash your hands everytime you touch one.
Once the treats are cooled it’s time for your fur baby to get to taste it! Yay! Someone was impatient for the treats to get done…
I store my treats in zipper bags in the freezer. You can feed the treats in the whole chunks the way they are or you can use some kitchen scissors to cut the treats smaller for training purposes. My dog loves these treats and they are pretty much the only treats he gets. Because I know who made them, how they were made, the quality of the ingredient used, when they were made, and that they have only one delicious ingredient: MEAT! Give your best friend the best and treat him to some homemade jerky treats today! If your interested in other tasty doggie treats check out these: Homemade Dog Treats.
What is your dog’s favorite meat?
- Meat any kind (examples: chicken, beef, goose, elk, chicken skin, gizzards, kidney, green tripe, liver, heart, turkey)
- Ready your dehydrator or preheat oven to 175F and line two sheet pans with foil and place wire racks on them.
- Cut away any visible fat if desired.
- Cut meat into super thin slices.
- Place meat in a single layer on dehydrator racks or for oven cooking on the prepared wire racks.
- Dehydrate according to manufacturer's directions for a dehydrator or cook in the oven at 175F until the meat is very dry and crisp.
- Place the dehydrated meat on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake for 1 hour at 175F for both ways.
- Cool and serve.
Original Recipe By: Rilla Banks (A.K.A. Epic Sweet)