Know exactly what it's your dog or cat's treats by making them yourself! In the age of mass produced, recalled and deceptive packaging with pet food and treats, you have to really look at ingredients and the company that is making the item. With all that effort I decided to start making some myself!
High quality USA treats can be very pricey and when you have five pets (well, six counting our hamster) it gets very expensive to purchase for everyone. Instead I opted to purchase a dehydrator for $50 and start making as needed. Most of the pets in our house eat Primal, a pre-made raw food. I mostly opt for fresh treats but I'm not going to carry around a piece of raw beef during a walk, come on thats just not practical! Plus, Sophie who is genetically prone to pancreatitis needs low fat treats so the dehydrator has also been great for fruit treats like the banana chips I made.
Even though I always feel there's never enough time in a day, these treats are super easy to make and anyone can do it. Plus, meat jerky is pur-fect for both fox & felines!
- Round Eye
- Flank Steak
- Top Round
Any lean steak. I am pretty sure for these photos, my first experiment I bought a thin cut chuck because I just saw it was some thin cut steak and it was a decent price. I honeslty don't really eat beef so I have no idea the differences. It turned out just fine, but I did have to cut off a lot of fat which was really wasteful. The fat doesn't really cook, so you don't want it because it can turn rancid which makes it spoil faster. Plus, it adds more calories. The next time I made it I bought a round eye which gave more since I didn't cut so much fat.
Cut your steak into strips and cut off as much fat as you can. You can ask your butcher for thin cut steak to 1/20". If you have a thick steak, this may require a lot of cutting. Size you should cut will depend on how large you want your jerky to be, I made mine about 2-4" with variation. Using slightly frozen steak will make cutting easier. You can cut with or against the grain.
Spray a dab of non-stick cooking spray on your drying racks. Set your steak strips on the dehydrator with the recommended temp provided by your brand. (Mine is 160 degrees) Time is between 8-12 hours for drying, I put mine on overnight. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can make in your oven at 165 degrees for 1-3 hours to cook but takes a couple more hours to actually dehydrate after its cooked, check every half hour on it. I put NO seasoning on these. Don't put marinates, salts or seasoning that could make your dog or cat sick. They like it just plain!
Seal in a container and store in fridge or freezer. Jerky should last up to three months this way. Remember to wash your hands before and after handling the raw meat!
I bought the wrong kind of steak, I don't really understand beef... but I made it work.
I made a variety of lenths for my jerky, whatever worked with cutting fat off. Since mine was extra crispy, it was easy to break in half after cooking to make little pieces.
After about 12 hours I had some very crisp jerky, I actually probably let it go for a little too long compared to human jerky but it did just fine! They really did not complain.
So that's it! Very straight forward and you can make just about any type of jerky. With a little practise you can have wonderful pet treats made at home for a great price and peace of mind. I plan on looking into different meats from liver to lungs to dry out. It will smell terrible but is cost effective and healthy snack. I am lucky because my husband works in bulk foods, so we are able to get great prices on bulk meat for making things. I did try the jerky - it was very bland but not bad.
Do you have any favorite dog or cat treat recipes you make at home?
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