So, along with my making some senior furry supplements (Bisque & pate), I also made up some chicken jerky for the pups. Although, as it seems, that cats like the thicker & softer chicken jerky (go figure).
I tried two different versions, plain & coated. The cats enjoy the plain more, & the dogs really didn’t care, but leaned towards the plain as well.
Coated is this:
Skinless boneless chicken breast
Peanut butter 1 tsp (covers apx. 3 sliced breasts)
Soy sauce (reduced sodium) apx. 1/4 oz (covers apx. 3 sliced breasts)
Mix the two, till it’s creamy & easy to spread1.
Get skinless boneless chicken breasts. If frozen that’s fine, start slicing. If they aren’t frozen, put them in the freezer (package & all is fine), till they get a little stiff. How long, depends on your freezer. Generally two-four hours. You don’t want them rock solid, but you don’t want them to fold over when held up by the end.
Be sure to wash & sanitize your hands, the counters, the utensils & the cutting board when slicing raw chicken. If you can, toss everything in the dish washer, wash your hands, & use a sanitizing wipe on the dw’s handle.
Sub note: Yes, I have put my knives in the dish washer at home. The handle will get discolored if you don’t take it out before the dry cycle (if you do it more than three times), but a dead cook doesn’t cook again, & dead customers don’t pay.
Additionally, ‘at the shop’ we have bleach buckets like every three feet, with towels in them, & (if you tip) the dishwasher [Not customers, cooks can], will let you use the hot spray nozzle anytime ;}).
You can use your knife, or a home slicer*. The home slicer will yield cuts which are more even, but slicing by hand is pretty easy too.
The chicken will coat & dehydrate better if thawed, but. . . it does fine from frozen. Just add an hour to the ‘cook’ time.
1Mix soy sauce into peanut butter, till it’s a thick paste. You can use a fork or a whisk. Start off slow, & convince the peanut butter that it wants to blend with the soy sauce.
Coat both sides of chicken. Dehydrate for jerky. Make it as tough or as chewy as you & your furry likes. My Nesco dehydrator is 155 degrees Fahrenheit (DF) for jerky & took about 1 1/2 for semi soft. The edges (thinner) did dry to crunchy.
Ditto, except just chicken.
If you have the jerky maker gun & a blender or grinder, you can blend (puree) or grind the meat, mix it with the jerky spices & make some neat jerky that way. BUT save that for you, the dog & cat doesn’t need all of that salt.
If you don’t have a food dehydrator as yet, you can use a cookie sheet (a pizza pan with out [w-o] holes works fine), & set your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Not all ovens can operate at 150-180, so 200 is a safe second.
Should take about two or three hours. Check after two, maybe 2 1/2 depending on your oven. Same time frame for your toaster oven. You’ll just cook less than a cookie sheet.
Cooked plain jerky generally lasts about a week in the fridge, in a closed jar. A bit longer I’d wager when vacuum sealed ;}).
Can be eaten by man & beast.
One more note about dehydrating. The thinner the piece, the less it needs to dry, also, it will get crunchy. Thicker pieces will take longer to dry, so be careful. Always have an internal temp that is safe (chicken is 165° Fahrenheit (75° Celsius), for cooking & direct serving.
“Steam or roast meat strips in marinade to an internal temperature of 160°F before drying; heat poultry to 165°F (internal temperature) before drying. This pre‐heating step assures that any bacteria present will be destroyed before drying and a lower dehydrator temperature (130° to 140°F) can be used.”
* Use a spray bottle to get in the grooves of your slicer to sanitize it. Take it apart & wash, wash, wash!