Dehydrator or smoker

Almost Eden

Farm Hand
Messages
74
I would love to make my own beef jerky and smoked meats. If you own either of these, do you get a lot of use out of them? Is a dehydrator the more versatile of the two? The both seem pretty pricey, so I want to make a good choice.
 

Katie

Farm Hand
Messages
25
I have a dehydrator and it's pretty nifty, but I don't break it out that often. I use it to dehydrate fruits and vegetables more than I do for meat. It's great for making trail mix that's healthier than what you can find in the store. I've had mine for years.
 

Pinewood Acres

Farm Hand
Messages
54
You can dry some things in the sun without any fancy gear required. I dry peppers all the time this way. I just lay them flat on a baking pan and set them out in the sun. I turn them over once a day. It usually takes a couple of weeks to complete the process. Maybe try something like that if you don't want to go all in on an expensive gadget.
 

jjp8182

Farm Hand
Messages
57
An oven can also be used to dehydrate things (in addition to the sun).

Most grills can do some light smoking as well (an aluminum foil pouch full of wood chips placed on the charcoal can work in a pinch). However, the the low temp, long cook isn't something a grill can do well as they typically don't permit adding more fuel to maintain temp while in use (not to mention they generally aren't designed/constructed to hold a constant temp for long either).

As for which to buy it might be worth trying each process with what you already have in order to see which you prefer. Though given the multiple alternatives to dehydrators, and the limitations of grills for replacing smokers I'd personally lean toward getting a smoker (preferably something like a ceramic grill/smoker/oven with multiple uses) first. ...but that's just me and that could vary depending on what a person wants to make more..... (not sure how much smokers can do much for preserving fresh fruits or vegetables).
 
 
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