The air fryer is one of my favorite countertop appliances in our kitchen. The waterfowl season in California is wrapping up, and I have a lot of duck breasts to turn into jerky.
Making jerky in an air fryer is easy. Preparation of the meat is the same, but the actual drying and pasteurizing is much easier and faster than using most traditional dehydrators. I used our PowerXL Air Fryer Pro oven just once for jerky, and the Presto Dehydrator I had been using for years, has been in storage ever since.
If you are tight on space, and are going to have just one countertop appliance for dehydrating, I heavily recommend an air fryer. For the space they take up, they are much more versatile than a dehydrator. Good options include the 6 Qt. PowerXL Air Fryer Pro, the 5.8 Qt. COSORI Electric Hot Oven, and the 4 Qt. Ninja Air Fryer.
24 Hours 45 Minutes
6 to 8 Ounces
- Place duck breasts, or meat of choice in the freezer for 45 minutes. This will help firm up the meat, and make it easier to cut consistently thin slices for drying.
- Slice the duck, or meat of your choice into ⅛” to ¼” thick strips. Cutting thicker slices with the grain produces a chewier jerky, while cutting thinner slices across the grain will make the jerky more tender.
- Combine all the ingredients, except for the meat in a ziplock bag.
- Add the thinly sliced meat to the marinade, and toss to coat.
- Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Arrange the meat in a single layer on each air fryer tray, and place in the air fryer. Try to place the meat with space between each piece for more even dehydrating.
- Heat the dehydrator to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Leave the dehydrator at 165 degrees Fahrenheit until you are certain all the meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 160F.
- Once the internal temperature of the meat has reached 160F, back the temperature down to between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Leave the air fryer running until the meat is sufficiently dry. Depending on your air fryer, this could take 60 minutes to 2.5 hours.
- Flip the cuts of meat near the midway point, and return to the air fryer for more even drying.
- Let your jerky cool before serving or storing.
Duck Jerky Tips
Duck requires a bit more cooking care than almost any other meat. Overcooked duck tastes a lot like liver. Thinly sliced, heavily marinated duck, that is thoroughly dehydrated, tastes like any other jerky. However, thicker cuts of lesser dehydrated duck jerky will taste a little bit like liver. So to avoid a livery taste, thinly slice the duck, marinade a full 24 hours, and dehydrate thoroughly.
Store the jerky in an airtight container or vacuum sealed bag. It will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator, but can last as long as 6 months in the freezer. In our home, jerky rarely lasts an hour on a counter or kitchen table.