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Discussion Starter #1
For Christmas, Clifton got me a new dehydrator! It's way cooler than my old one. I'm really excited about making all sorts of snacks and treats for both the humans and Basil!

In the past, for dog treats, I've made dried fruit, dried sweet potato slices, pigs' ears, jerky (beef, chicken, turkey, fish), dried liver, etc. Home made treats/chews are very healthy and super affordable, but none of the treats I've ever made are as long lasting as bully sticks. Basil can gulp down a slice of turkey jerky in seconds, so I usually cut it up and use it as training treats, not as a recreational chew.

Has anyone here made home made bully sticks before? If so, where does one find the... raw materials? Lol! Is there any special process when making bully sticks that may be different than drying regular meat?

Also, is there any other type of meat/organ that one would recommend dehydrating to make long lasting, tasty chews for dogs? Any tips and recipes are welcome!
 

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Oh God! I--- I don't know where one would find the materials for that! LOL


I have dehydrated sliced up chicken and ham for the girls before. The ham turned out the best and they loved it.

And for you, if you like fruit leather, buy a jar of plain, natural apple sauce (no sugar added) and pour it into the liquids tray to dehydrate. It makes GREAT fruit leather! I unfortunately can eat the entire jar of apple sauce for a single snack once it's dehydrated! It's yummy!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't know if I would want to eat anything from your dehydrator after you made the bully sticks....:eek::eek::eek:
The trays come out and fit in the dish washer! Lol! :laugh:

Binkalette, that's a really good idea, using applesauce to make fruit leather! I'll definitely have to try that!
 

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So, off topic, and sorry for the hijack, but...

Do you cook the chicken before dehydrating? How much do the pieces shrink?

Please reply privately, unless a hijack is okay!

<back to your regularly scheduled programming>
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hijacking is perfectly okay with me! In fact, I wouldn't mind if this was just a thread about home made dog treats in general.

In my old dehydrator, I would cook meat before dehydrating. But my dehydrator was really basic, you just plugged it in and there were no temperature controls. My new dehydrator actually has temperature controls, so I can get the meat to a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria and then lower it to dry more slowly if I need to. What I would do was slice the chicken/turkey into pieces and put them on a baking sheet, and bake them in the oven at around 350 Fahrenheit for like 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the meat showed it was heated to at least 170 degrees. With red meats, I believe you're supposed to cook the meat to about 140-150 before dehydrating. Then you put the meat on strips of parchment paper to keep the trays relatively clean and dehydrate until the desired dryness is achieved. I usually make the jerky intended for Basil a lot dryer than the jerky intended for people, because it takes him a little longer to crunch through it.

Meat does shrink a lot when you dehydrate it. I'm not sure of the exact number, but to me it seems like pieces of meat shrink to about half size/volume. With fruit I think it depends on the individual fruit. I like to make dried bananas and blueberries for Basil and Skittles, and the bananas shrink a little bit, but a huge juicy blueberry will turn into a tiny speck, lol!
 

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I made liver jerky. If you cook the slice first it comes out easy to break into bits, if you dry it raw it is chewy. The slice stays the same size but gets thinner as it dries.
Tendons work too. Either wet or dried they are a pretty good chew though, not sure it is worth the work. They don't change much in shape or size. I found them at a meat packer who has found out we raw feeders will pay money for bits that used to go to the renderer or dump.
I found a pound of cheap ground turkey and blended it with mashed sweet potato and made rollup.

For both the liver and the rollup I put a sheet of wax paper on the tray and spread out the goo, dried until the top was dry, flipped it over and peeled off the paper. Works great.

I don't cook the meat before drying, the directions on my prehistoric dryer didn't tell me to do so! Perhaps I ought to read up on safe drying techniques!

Oh, dried pineapple is IT. I would buy a colossal can from SmartnFinal and it would dry to a quart baggie but it is so good and no added sugar.

I did banana once but we thought they looked nasty and didn't want to eat them so they were donated to the bunny. She didn't care if they were brown, glad we gave them to her.
 

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hundreds of guys groaned at your request for bully stick raw materials....:p

but...if you go to a butcher...im sure you could manage some goodies that Basil would enjoy dehydrated.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
hundreds of guys groaned at your request for bully stick raw materials....:p

but...if you go to a butcher...im sure you could manage some goodies that Basil would enjoy dehydrated.
Lol! Sorry guys...

There's a butcher down the street that has been recommended to me a couple of times, I may need to go check them out!

Kathyy, those are some good ideas! I'll have to experiment around with some ideas. BTW, dried bananas do look pretty weird, but Basil and Skittles love them. I haven't to courage to try them, though... lol!

As far as cooking meat before trying, I personally just feel safer making sure the meat is heated to a high enough temperature quickly enough to kill the bacteria. Most of the sources I've read about dehydrating meat recommend it. There are a lot of people who dry meat raw, though. It may also depend on your dehydrator. I suppose that if you can set your dehydrator to the appropriate temperature, it should be fine, but with my old dehydrator, I didn't even know what temperature it dried at, all I could do was plug it in.
 

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I have thought about this because we buy all of our meat directly from a free-range, grass fed beef rancher, and he can get me any part I want. I would think that part would be gone by the time most butchers got the meat, so you really would need to go to slaughterhouses or smaller cattle farmers.

My only hesitation is that recently I bought a "natural" bully stick online that is not the "reduced smell" ones. It smell really bad. Just imagine what a bull *ahem* would smell like, and it smells just like that. So I am sure that it would make it smell like a bull just peed all over my house. The thing I love about making fruit leather or jerkey is that it makes the whole house smell so good. Making a bully stick might just ruin that for me.

And on the subject of cooking first, most people do not cook jerkey first, but if you are drying raw meat you really need a dehydrator with a temp control. I would worry without a thermostat it would not get hot enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Maybe I've never smelled any of the "natural" bully sticks, because all of the bully sticks I've ever bought just smell like smokey dog food. Honestly I have a hard time imagining that anything smells worse than liver and pig's ears, but apparently PEOPLE eat those, lol! I've heard that beef tongue can be dried into a long lasting chew similar to bully sticks, do you have any idea if this is the case?
 

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I had not handled many (any) raw cow organs before feeding raw, but now I can't imagine how people can eat liver with it smelling like that. But in my opinion non- low odor bully sticks smell a lot worse than liver.

As far as the tongue, I have one in the freezer from our beef guy, maybe I will try dehydrating part of it. I will report back those results.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
As far as the tongue, I have one in the freezer from our beef guy, maybe I will try dehydrating part of it. I will report back those results.
I would very much appreciate if you let me know how it turns out! I am having a difficult time coming up with home-made, long-lasting recreational chews. Nearly everything I've made so far is crunched down in seconds. At least I can use that sort of thing as training treats, though!
 

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i just tried something and she really liked it. it's not a chew type thing but i figured i would post it anyway


i made some chicken lasagna the other night from a package of thighs and saved the bones raw. I cut the little nobby cartilage ends off of them and rolled the cartilage in ground beef and stuck it in the dehydrator. Bolo says this is major win.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That sounds like something Basil would like! Would dehydrating a bone be dangerous? Would it cause the bone to splinter?
 

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Oh! I was thinking the other way around, that you cut the ends off the bone and rolled the middle in ground beef. But I see that's not the case. I'll have to give that a try!
 

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So it has been a very long time, but I did make the tongue jerkey chews. They came out perfect. I cut the tongue long wise (with the skin, if that even is considered skin) into 1/2 inch thick, 2 inch wide, long pieces and dehydrated them in my dehydrator on 155 for 24 hours, until they were nice and dry. It seems to have made a good chew that lasts a little while and is comparable to a bully stick. As far as length goes it lasts longer than a bully stick, but it is hard to say because it is thicker than the bully stick would be.

I did use the center of the tongue without the skin to make human jerkey. That I cut very, very thin and dehydrated (after marinating) for about 6 hours.

So tongue jerkey is a success all around!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for letting me know how it went, doginthedesert! I'll definitely try making beef tongue chews now! And I would like to try it myself now, too! :biggrin1:
 
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