Making jerky without an oven or dehydrator. Is this safe?

I watched a video where a guy slices some lean meat into thin strips


Seasons it with some normal spices


And then laid the strips on baking sheets with just a fan blowing over them. After 24 hours they are perfectly done.


How is this done and is it safe? Is it that the jerky is dried out faster than bacteria can form on it?

If so, this could be a good meat preservation method to do during the summer where you don’t want the additional heat from an oven or dehydrator going. You could also do this during a power outage with a battery powered fan when other methods might be too power intensive.


  • Comments (3)

    • 3

      The temperatures jerky is dried at in an oven or dehydrator are nowhere near hot enough to kill bacteria anyway, and I would think it would be somewhat of a trade-off, 24 hours at room temperature being no worse than six hours in a warm dehydrator, for example (that’s just my rough guess.) 

      I do know that Jerky “safety” is a complicated issue because there’s what’s technically considered most safe (cooking it to kill e-coli before drying, which unfortunately ruins the texture of the finished product) and then there’s what people have actually done throughout human history, which is simply to dry raw meat by whatever means available to them.  The latter usually works out just fine, as long as the meat was clean to begin with, but could make someone very sick if contaminated meat was used.  Salt also helps retard the growth of bacteria during the drying process.  So the safety of taking 24 hours to dry would depend partly on the cleanliness of the butchering process and drying area, salt content of the recipe, and the temperature in the room, among other possible variables.  But again, the USDA would probably tell you it’s just never safe to make it from raw meat, regardless of drying method.

      Aside: The meat in the picture is cut way, way thicker than I make it for jerky. 

    • 3

      I’m very suspicious about animal protein that’s been sitting at room temperature for more than a couple of hours.

      The Colorado State University Cooperative Extension has a great fact sheet for preparing jerky.

      Leathers and Jerkies – 9.311

    • 2

      I’m surprised that this question is even being asked, historically jerky was dried without dehydrators using a tripod over a smoking hardwood fire with a loose covering of vegetation. The smoke is just to keep the insects away and if it imparts a little smokiness to the taste then that is a bonus. Jerky predates dehydrators, fans and electric ovens.