Is jerky dehydrated or smoked?

Smoked jerky is a canned meat product made by cutting lean meat into thin strips, marinating it overnight and dehydrating it in an electric smoker or on a wooden pellet grill. Smoking is the process of slowly cooking meat with wood smoke at a low temperature to preserve it, brown it, or flavor it. When cooking dried meat, the smoker must leave the meat somewhat tender and juicy, unlike the dehydrator, which dries it completely. However, more importantly for most people, it gives meat an incredible flavor that a dehydrator can't match.

So, if you're looking for still-tender jerky with a phenomenal flavor, you might want to use a smoker. Dehydrators work by using direct heat and fans to circulate hot air evenly inside the machine. Smokers and dehydrators perform separate functions, making it difficult to compare them in terms of “best” and “worst”. The main purpose of a dehydrator is the dehydration of food, which has less to do with flavor and more to do with the preservation of food to be eaten at a much later date.

However, if your goal is to preserve a large amount of meat for emergency use or simply to eat it much later, a dehydrator is probably the best option. Like dehydrators, an electric smoker requires very little electricity to operate and doesn't take up much space. Deer (deer, elk and elk) and other game meats are very lean and ideal for smoking and dehydrating, and perfect for making Pemmican and jerky. Of course, you can add spices, condiments, herbs and other things to help improve the flavor of any jerky you dehydrate, but longevity is the ultimate goal.

I like to give the protein a couple of hours to smoke well and then, as a lazy method, I take them out of the smoker and put them in the dehydrator at 160°F for about 5-6 hours. A popular technique for smoking and dehydrating game meat is to start it in a smoker and then finish the process with a dehydrator. Some people, who are quite stubborn, will give you a definitive answer if you ask them if a smoker or dehydrator is better for jerky. I start the process in the smoker to give it more flavor and then finish my dried meat in a dehydrator.

So, if you want to store jerky for an extended period, a dehydrator is better suited to your needs than a smoker. However, the truth is that comparing smokers to dehydrators is like comparing water to fire or apples to oranges. If you don't have a dehydrator, leave it in your smoker all the time, but try using chunks of charcoal or briquettes for cleaner burning instead of wood, since I've discovered that there's too much smoke.