Guide to Dehydrating Pork and Making Pork Jerky

dried pork jerky
The process for dehydrating pork begins by trimming away excess fat from the meat before slicing the pork into thin strips. Preheat the food dehydrator to 165°F and place the pork strips on the dehydrator trays, leaving adequate space for air to circulate between each piece. Dehydrate your pork for 4 to 6 hours until fully dry.

What’s the Best Way to Dehydrate Pork?

The best way to dehydrate pork is using a food dehydrator. A dehydrator has an adjustable temperature dial and will maintain a steady temperature throughout the drying process. If using a food dehydrator, follow the directions on the appliance to ensure the pork has been dried correctly.

Dehydrating Pork: Step-by-Step

Pork is a highly versatile protein, and there are many cuts to choose from. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are the best cuts of pork for dehydrating. These lean meats have a low fat content, which helps to reduce dehydrating time during the drying process. Lean pork meat also will have a longer shelf-life as fat can cause dehydrated products to go rancid quickly.

To make dehydrated pork, follow these steps:

  1. Start by trimming away any visible fat from the pork and slice it into thin strips. Make the pork strips as thin as possible to get the best result. You can use a meat mallet to pound the pork flat after slicing, if your pieces aren’t as thin as you would like.
  2. Preheat the food dehydrator to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Place pork strips on food dehydrator trays and dehydrate them for a total time between 4 and 6 hours.
  4. When the pork slices are dry, they will bend before snapping or breaking. Once they reach this stage, remove the dehydrated pork from the food dehydrator and allow them to cool.
  5. Once cool, they can be eaten or put into airtight containers for storage.
Side profile stack of thinly sliced pork pieces.
Thin slices of dried pork

How to Make Pork Jerky

Follow these steps to make homemade pork jerky:

  1. Begin by trimming any fat off of your pork. It is recommended to use pork tenderloin to make pork jerky.
  2. Slice the pork into thin, 1/8-inch strips. You can use a sharp knife or a meat slicer. For chewy jerky, slice your pork with the grain.
  3. In a small bowl, combine your favorite spices and herbs to form a marinade. Marinating the pork is optional but recommended for flavor. You can create a classic marinade by combining one cup soy sauce, a few teaspoons of liquid smoke, one tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, honey, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, and oregano.
  4. Add the pork strips to the marinade, ensuring they are fully coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results.
  5. Preheat your food dehydrator to 165 degrees F.
  6. Remove the pork strips from the marinade and pat them dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
  7. Place the pork strips on the food dehydrator trays in a single layer, leaving space between each strip for air to circulate.
  8. Pork jerky has a drying time between 4-6 hours. Check the jerky every hour to make sure it is drying evenly. Flip or rotate pieces as needed to ensure even drying.
  9. Once the pork jerky jerky strips are done, remove them from the dehydrator and allow them to cool completely. Store the jerky in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Can You Dehydrate Raw Pork?

Yes, you can dehydrate raw pork, but some important food safety precautions should be taken before doing so.

The low temperatures in some food dehydrators may not be sufficient to kill harmful bacteria or the trichinella parasite, which can cause food-borne illnesses. If your food dehydrator doesn’t reach 165°F, it is recommended to cook it first.

Per the USDA, you should cook pork to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) before dehydrating it. This ensures that any harmful bacteria are destroyed, and the jerky is safe to eat.

What is the Difference Between Pork Jerky and Beef Jerky?

There are several key differences between pork jerky and beef jerky. The most obvious difference is the type of meat itself. Pork jerky is made from pork, while beef jerky is made from beef.

Beef jerky is more flavorful than pork jerky because beef has a higher fat content due to natural marbling and a more robust flavor. Texture-wise, beef jerky is usually a bit tougher and chewier than pork jerky due to its fat content.

The process of making jerky also differs between the two types of meat. Beef jerky is typically smoked, while pork jerky is usually cured or dehydrated.

How Long Will Dehydrated Pork Last?

Properly dehydrated pork can last for two or more weeks when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

To extend the shelf life of dehydrated pork, you can also store it in the freezer. When stored in an airtight container or freezer bag, dehydrated pork can last up to six months to a year in the freezer.

Be sure to label the container or bag with the date it was made, so you can track how long it has been stored.

Is Dehydrated Pork Shelf Stable?

Yes, dehydrated pork is shelf stable when properly dehydrated and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. It can last for two or more weeks without refrigeration.

However, it is important to note that dehydrated pork is not completely immune to spoilage, especially if it is not stored properly. Exposure to moisture, heat, and oxygen can cause the pork to spoil more quickly, so it is important to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

What Does Dehydrated Pork Taste Like?

Dehydrated pork has a chewy texture and a light, meaty flavor. If dehydrated without seasoning, it can be used in many recipes once rehydrated.

When preparing pork jerky recipes, the flavor of dehydrated pork will take on different characteristics depending on the the seasoning and marinade used.

Patrick Anampiu

Patrick has a farming background and is a full-time food writer and recipe creator. His goal is to help you discover how fantastic it is to dehydrate and preserve food by sharing his knowledge. Outside of the kitchen, Patrick enjoys outdoor activities and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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