How to Use the Nesco Jerky Xpress to Make Delicious Jerky

spicy beef jerky
To make beef jerky in a Nesco Jerky Xpress, marinate thinly sliced beef pieces for 6-12 hours before patting the slices dry with a paper towel. Pre-heat the beef slices on a parchment covered baking sheet in an oven until they reach 160°F. Transfer the meat to dehydrator trays and dry for 4 to 15 hours.

How Does the Nesco Jerky Xpress Machine Work?

The Nesco FD-28JX Jerky Xpress food dehydrator by the Metal Ware Corporation has everything you need to make delicious jerky at home. It is a great machine for beginners to use and features one-touch operation.

This vertical flow dehydrator forces hot air upwards through the stackable trays from the heating element and fan that are placed at the bottom of the machine. The circulating air warms and removes moisture from jerky and other foods.

Simply turn the switch to the “on” position, and the drying temperature is automatically set. Allow the machine to pre-heat for 30 minutes before dehydrating the jerky.

How to Make Jerky Using the Nesco Jerky Xpress

Here’s a step-by-step guide on using the Jerky Xpress to make delicious jerky:

  1. Before making jerky, you must prepare the meat by removing all visible fat and trimming the meat into thin, 1/4” thick strips.
  2. Marinate the meat strips in your favorite jerky marinade for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator in a covered bowl or airtight container.
  3. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat the meat dry with paper towels to remove any oil and excess moisture.
  4. Place the meat strips on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place it into a pre-heated 275°F oven for 10 minutes or until the meat reaches 160°F. This step ensures any harmful bacteria are killed, and the jerky will be safe to eat.
  5. Transfer your meat strips onto the dehydrator trays in the Jerky Xpress dehydrator, ensuring that none of the meat pieces overlap or touch.
  6. Turn the machine on and set a timer for 4 hours.
  7. Depending on the thickness of the meat strips and the number of trays loaded, along with the humidity, the drying time ranges from 4 to 15 hours.
  8. Check the meat every hour after 4 hours and test for doneness. You will know the meat is dry once it cracks when you bend it and has a leathery appearance.
  9. Once fully dry, remove the jerky from the dehydrator trays and blot with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
  10. Store your beef jerky in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends consuming beef jerky stored at room temperature within two weeks or freezing it to extend its shelf life.

How Long Does it Take to Make Beef Jerky in a Nesco Jerky Xpress?

It takes 4 to 15 hours to dehydrate beef jerky in a Nesco food dehydrator, depending on the size and thickness of the meat strips and how humid the environment is.

How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate Deer Jerky in a Nesco Jerky Xpress?

It takes 4 to 15 hours to dehydrate venison jerky in a Nesco Jerky Xpress. The total time varies based on the thickness of your meat slices and the ambient humidity.

What Temperature Can You Make Jerky Using a Nesco Jerky Xpress?

The Nesco Jerky Xpress dehydrator comes with a fixed temperature of 160°F. It is ideal for dehydrating meat products which require a higher drying temperature.

Pros and Cons of Using the Nesco Jerky Xpress

The Jerky Xpress for drying jerky works efficiently when temperature control isn’t required and comes with helpful accessories. The Jerky Xpress Dehydrator kit includes a jerky gun to make jerky from ground meat and has a power head with three tip attachments.

The kit also includes cure packs and four types of jerky spices, including Teriyaki, Pepperoni, Original, and Hot & Spicy.


  • Affordable: Compared with similar dehydrators, this model costs less for similar features.
  • Compact: Unlike many other dehydrators, this product doesn’t take up a lot of space in your kitchen.
  • Drying Trays: the 7-tray expandable feature allows for additional trays to improve the drying capacity with Add-A-Tray accessories.
  • Easy to clean: The dehydrator trays are dishwasher-safe.
  • Easy to set up: The Nesco FD-28JX Jerky Xpress is easy to set up and use.
  • Hassle-free: There is no need to rotate dehydrator trays due to the fan-flow drying technology, which helps dry food evenly.
  • Warranty: This Jerky Xpress comes with a limited, one-year warranty.


  • Fixed temperature: The Nesco comes with a preset temperature of 160°F, which makes it unsuitable for food products that require lower dehydrating temperatures.
  • Lacks timer: If you buy this kitchen appliance, we recommend buying an affordable standalone timer as one was not integrated.
Nesco Dehydrator with the jerky gun and cure packets
Nesco Jerky Xpress kit

Is it Worth it to Buy a Nesco Jerky Xpress?

The Nesco Jerky Xpress is worth it because it is one of the most affordable food dehydrators on the market and works effectively compared with similar pro food dehydrators.

This unit is designed mainly for making jerky recipes and is ideal for jerky makers who enjoy drying a variety of meats, including ground beef, chicken, and pork.

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.

Recent Posts