Recalls for various jerky treat products (often made in China) have been all over the news for months now. Most dog parents know which brands to avoid — see the graphic at right for the 6 brands that were voluntarily recalled — but if your dog loves jerky, what are your options?
Make your own!
You do not need a dehydrator to make jerky, just a regular oven. Prep time is minimal and you can let the jerky slowly cook while you’re tackling that pile of laundry on the weekend.
How To Make Chicken Jerky
1. Buy boneless chicken breast meat when it’s on sale. You can save even more if you buy it in bulk at a wholesale club. Split a big package with some friends!
2. It’s a bit easier to cut the chicken when it’s partially frozen, but this step can be skipped if you want to jump right in.
3. Preheat your oven to 200F.
4. Slice your chicken with the grain into 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick strips or 1/8″ cubes.
There are two ways to cook jerky in the oven. Pick whichever is easier for you.
Cookie Sheet Cooking (easier cleanup):
5. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive oil.
6. Evenly spread out your chicken pieces and bake for 2 hours.
Hanging Strips Cooking (better all-over meat drying):
5. Place a cookie sheet on the lowest rack of your oven.
6. Hang strips of chicken over the bars of your upper rack and bake for 2 hours. The drippings will fall to the cookie sheet.
Finished chicken jerky is dry and firm. Depending on your oven, you may need to leave the chicken in a bit longer.
7. Let chicken cool, then store in an airtight container.
8. Feed to your dog (after they’ve done something to earn it, of course!).
Your homemade chicken jerky will last 2 weeks in an airtight container and about 6 months in the freezer if you want to make a bigger batch. Now your dog will be safe from contaminants from unknown factories and you’ll save a bunch of money making your own treats. Do the math, it’s a huge savings!