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bodger

Food Dehydrator ( Biltong Box)

Today, my son Tom is going to be making a food dehydrator using these pictures as the basis for his design. There will be plenty of pictures to show how he goes about it. It'll be his dad who gets to use it, it should be quite interesting. It should be fine for both meat and fruit.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q...AodPWAOjA#imgrc=4v-TEI4g250lUM%3A
Toddy

Interesting to see how he gets on with it.

We've just filled our little one (just under 30 from QVC years ago) with apple rings. It's had a lot of use, works well and doesn't owe us a ha'penny.

My brother bought one too, but his was used for meat. Again, it worked very well indeed, but the only problem was the amount of meat that went in came out and seemed to disappear awfully fast  
The meat eaters said that it was delicious, and they just kept munching. Pounds of pork, venison and turkey in a couple of days.

M
bodger

This is a post from a member who disappeared into the ether years and years ago but its still a good one.

http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about200.html&highlight=biltong
Toddy

We made turkey breast steaks and pork medallions (did some from gigot chops with the fat removed too) popeseye steaks, and it was the silver side and salmon cuts from the venison.

It all seemed to work very well indeed. It was certainly guzzled quickly enough

We used all kinds of seasonings on them, but with the turkey, being very conscious of the whole salmonella thing, we dipped them into boiling water before we did anything else to them.

M
Gareth

I've not used my Biltong box as a Biltong box for a couple of years now. These days it spends its time being used as a paint drying box for small spray painted components.

Two years ago the main reason we stopped using my home-made Biltong box was because an "artistic" friend gave us a multi tray Lakeland dehydrator as it was no good for curing his home grown herbal leaves for smoking This Lakeland dehydrator is currently sufficient for all our fruit and vegetable dehydrating and herb drying needs including the little beef jerky and Venison, Rabbit and Squirrel Biltong we make and consume.

Because I (and everyone else) found it harder and harder to find shops carrying old stocks of the now banned incandescent bulbs, I changed over to vivarium tank heaters. These screw into standard screw-in light bulbs holders and are reasonably priced to begin with, but are actually cheaper to run than the bulbs on a consumed watt for watt likeness because they don't produce light.



In my box I run both a 50 watt and a 25 watt heater but on separate thermostat circuits from a single timer. The 50 watt heater thermostat is set to 20*C, and the 25 Watt thermostat set to 25*C. That way I have all 75 watts bringing it up to temperature, and then the 50 watts switches off and the 25 watts holds it at temperature... if the temp should drop then the 50 watt switches on again.... this system works an absolute treat.
Toddy

That's a very good idea Gareth Thank you. I would never have thought of those.

M
bodger

Well ours is completed. Toms mae it rather bigger than I anticipated and his design uses an ordinary 60 watt light bulb. He's going to build a smaller version  for himself using a couple of computer fans.
He tells me that the technology and the mechanics are different went it comes to designing something that makes jerky and biltong.
Gareth

I have a 240 volt computer fan operated by a dimmer light switch to give a basic manually operated variable speed and therefore variable volume of moved air built into my Biltong box.

What I did find out from experimenting is that the fan is better suited to being located at the base of the box, drawing air in from either the side or the front and not from the bottom blowing vertically up. The air is also better moved gently and very slowly across the heater, and a single layer of muslin cloth stretched across the fan intake to make a basic filter will reduce the possibility of dust and insects getting into the box and possibly contaminating the food. In most cases and including drying strips of beef with a combined weight of up to around 2 kg there was no need for the fan, as heat radiating up from the heater was adequate for the task. With a box content of 2-5 kg of beef strips air movement was necessary to improve the drying process.

I have found with leaf herbs such as Coriander and Parsley, Basil, Tarragon, Sage, Oregano and Bay leaves a box temperature of no more than a degree or 2 above the ambient room temperature but with a definite but not too great a movement of air gave us the best results.

We never did dehydrate any Fruit, berries or roots in our Biltong Box, but we have done copious amounts in our Lakleand dehydrator.
bodger

I did say that Tom had made the dehydrator somewhat bigger than I anticipated.









This is the view down into the bottom of the box.









Beneath the floor there's an ordinary light bulb fitting.









The lights on. The light bulb causes the air to circulate and dry what ever it is your trying to dry.




bodger

Here's Toms Mark 2 version using a computer fan to dry the meat. Its already produced one excellent crop of Biltong but why the bdooly hell did he have to build me one the size of a coffin?















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