ask the chef :: pre-cook for chicken jerky

I am going to try to make the mint chicken jerky. My dehydrator says to use precooked or processed chicken… did you precook your chicken? the recipe pictures look like you’re using raw chicken in the dehydrator. If I cook the chicken before I dry it, I am worried it won’t turn out the same. 
Thanks for your help!

Hello Megan,

Thank you so much for visiting my site and I’m sure your dogs will love the jerky.

I used raw chicken in my dehydrator and I had never heard of precooking or using processed chicken, but I purchased my dehydrator second hand so it didn’t come with an instruction manual.

A little digging revealed why yours says that and I’m glad I now know. It’s a safety thing, after an outbreak of salmonella tied to jerky the Food Safety and Inspection Service stated that the meat needed to be precooked to make sure that any bacteria present will be destroyed by wet heat, or was taken care of then the meat was processed.

The concern is that most dehydrators don’t get the meat hot enough (160 degrees) to kill the bacteria so it’s recommended that the meat is boiled in water or your marinade for two minutes and the immediately placed in the dehydrator.

I’ve had zero issues with the jerky I’ve made for and feed my dogs, and many other dogs but I think I’ll start taking this step with all the jerky I make.
It seems like something quick that could help prevent a big problem.

So my loooong winded answer to your question is I don’t think the quick precooking will make a difference in how your jerky comes out and I’m going to start doing it with mine.



  1. Christina Von Toussaint
    February 16, 2016 / 3:37 pm

    Do you ever use chicken thighs in your treats? Every recipe I’ve seen calls for chicken breasts.

    Also, when baking treats, how long do you need to leave in the oven to get a crunchy treat? My dogs aren’t really crazy about the softer treats – go figure! Thanks!

  2. DoggyDessertChef
    February 16, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    It’s laziness Christina, pure laziness haha .
    I buy frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breasts because they are easier to work with but thighs will work just fine. They do tend to be bigger than breasts so just keep that in mind. I usually open the oven a little and let the treats stay in there while it cools down to add a little crunch.