The Secret to Making These Wholesome Delicious Dog Treats In Your Own Kitchen
Human-grade, single-ingredient chicken jerky treats for dogs are the biggest thing we make here at Goodness Gracious. We make chicken jerky dog treats every day. We hand-pack them every day. We ship them every day. It’s no wonder. Dogs love them. Their parents do too. Why? Well besides being absolutely crazy-delicious, our Hula Lula Chicken jerky checks all the boxes for parents.
We use fresh, USDA inspected and passed boneless, skinless chicken breast. (The same stuff you find in a grocery store meat aisle). It is the ONLY ingredient we use. No salt. No sugar. No glycerin. No preservatives. No rice syrup (whatever that is). No rosemary extract (there’s no need). You get the picture. And WAY beyond all that – we are licensed and inspected as a human food facility. You could eat it.
Only a very small handful of companies can claim all that. And then we sprinkle on our philanthropic topper. We give 51% of our profits to charity. We want to do everything the right way.
But you came here for the “secret sauce” so to speak. The recipe on how to make chicken jerky at home for your own beloved companion. We are going to tell you.
It Starts With Low Heat, a Lot of Circulation and Food Safety
To make our human grade treats here at Goodness Gracious, we use commercial dehydrators. They won’t fit in your kitchen. But most convection ovens come with a “dehydration” setting, and counter-top dehydrators are readily available. Both pieces of equipment are sufficient for making jerky for your own dog that will be eaten in a few days.
To make shelf-stable jerky like we do – something that can last a year plus on a shelf without any refrigeration or preservatives or ingredients other than the meat itself – you need to be very careful about “kill steps” and “water-activity,” among many other things. The first set of protocols ensures that you destroy any food-borne bacteria that might be present on raw meat. The second ensures that the moisture level is at a point so low as to be inhospitable to bacteria growth. These are things beyond the capabilities of residential kitchens.
If I were making single ingredient jerky at home for my own pack, I would make only as much as my dogs would eat in about three days. I also would store it in an air-tight container in the fridge to be on the safe side.
The Secret Recipe
Convection oven with dehydration setting, or a countertop dehydrator. One non-stick cooling rack. One sheet pan.
1 pound of fresh boneless skinless chicken breast.
First, trim chicken breast of any lingering pieces of fat. Pat dry with paper towels. Put it in a container like an air-tight plastic bag and stick it in your freezer for a few hours. You want the chicken to be somewhat crystalized and firm, but not frozen solid.
Next, preheat your convection oven to its dehydration setting. Or preheat, your counter-top dehydrator to the setting recommended in its manual for jerky.
Remove chicken from the plastic wrap, place it on a cutting board, and with a sharp knife cut it lengthwise into about ¼ inch strips.
Place those strips on a non-stick cooling rack. Place the cooling rack with the chicken on a sheet pan. Place the entire pan in your convection oven. (Using a cooling rack, enables air circulation around the chicken.)
If you’re using a convection oven with a dehydration setting, check the chicken in about 7 hours. If you’re using a countertop dehydrator, follow the manual’s settings for timing. Dehydrators vary widely (and wildly) in their processing times.
Because you don’t have the gauges and capabilities we do, you will need to “eyeball it” for doneness. You want to make sure that when you bend a chicken strip, it breaks. You also want the strips to be thin and a beautiful golden color when done.
One pound of raw chicken will likely produce about 4 ounces of jerky by weight – so if you have a kitchen scale you can use weight to try to determine doneness too. If you have 8 ounces of jerky from one pound of raw chicken, your jerky is nowhere near ready.
To be safe, store the jerky in an air-tight container in the fridge. It should probably be consumed by your dog in three days.
Goodness Gracious is Happy to Help
Of course if you would rather play with your pup than slice raw meat, or the thought of your soaring utility bills from running your oven for seven hours every three days has you down, then pop on over. We make species appropriate, healthy, human edible single-ingredient jerky treats for dogs every day in our human grade kitchen. Always USA made and USA sourced. We've got some with your dog's name on them.
Who knows, maybe you'll fall in love with some of our other gluten free and grain free high-protein snacks too!