Making pork jerky in a dehydrator is an easy way to make a delicious snack that is packed with nutrition.

Though there are some small prep steps, making pork jerky is essentially a 2-step process: marinate, then dry.

I will be using pork as my meat of choice, but you can use almost any meat to make jerky, but stay away from raw poultry, as the texture and flavor of the finished product are often unpleasant.

My favorite cut of meat to use is pork loin because it is healthier and cheaper than the traditional choice of beef.

Plus, pork loin is especially lean, which will result in a higher quality finished product. Fat quickly goes rancid in dehydrators, so it’s best to go as lean as possible for jerky.

After the meat choice, the most important aspect of the recipe is the seasoning you choose for the marinade.

Countless seasoning combinations can lead to any number of jerky flavor profiles, from the classic salty and smokey, to sweet and spicy, feel free to experiment with spices and marinades until you find your favorite combo.

I particularly like this marinade from the National Center for Home Food Preservation:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of black pepper and garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon hickory smoke-flavored salt

Along with these ingredients, you will need 1 ½ -2 pounds of pork loin to complete the recipe.

The full recipe time should be around 9 hours, depending on your specific dehydrator and how long you choose to marinate your pork, with 2 ½ hours for prep and 6 for dehydration.

To prep the pork, let it rest in the freezer for at least 1 hour. This will firm up the pork and allow for cleaner cutting.

Then, remove the pork from the freezer and slice the meat into thin strips no thicker than ¼ inch. If you want a chewy jerky, slice with the grain.

Slice across the grain if you want a more tender, brittle jerky.

Trim and discard all excess fat from the meat, we don’t want any rancid flavors seeping in.

Combined the meat and marinade in a shallow container, making sure all pork pieces are covered by marinade, or that all pieces get an even coating of seasoning when using a dry marinade.

Refrigerate the meat and marinate for at least 90 minutes; overnight would be best. The longer you marinate, the deeper the flavor will be.

I usually marinate mine for at least 12 hours. To complete prep, remove the meat and marinade from the fridge and drain.

To dry the pork, place the pieces, in a single layer, on the racks of the dehydrator, which should be preheated to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

Let the pork dehydrate for 6-10 hours depending on your dehydrator.

Check the meat every few hours in the beginning, then increase to every hour near the end.

The meat will be sufficiently dried when a piece will crack, but not break when bent.

The jerky will be hot when it is done, so remove it carefully from the dehydrator.

Let the jerky cool to room temperature before eating or storing.

Once finished, you can store your jerky for up to 2 weeks at room temperature in a sealed container. To increase the jerky’s shelf life, you can refrigerate or freeze your pieces.