It has been a busy week around here so I decided to make this Tuesday Treat super-simple…but it’s also super-popular with dogs. Chicken Jerky is made from thin strips of chicken slow baked to almost the point of crispness.
1 pound chicken breasts (I baked three pounds!)
Start by preheating your oven to 170 or 180 degrees, depending on how low your oven will go. While that’s preheating, assemble the chicken. I used frozen chicken breast tenderloins (this is a great way to use any chicken you’ve got that’s become freezer burned!)
I had thawed the frozen chicken breasts by putting them in the refrigerator overnight…and woke up to find they were still frozen! I put the chicken in a big bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes which thawed it enough to slice with a sharp knife. TIP: It’s easier to slice the chicken when it’s semi-frozen rather than completely thawed; you can use the heel of your hand on the knife to “chop” the slices rather than trying to saw through thawed meat.
The only difficult part of this dog treat recipe is the slicing; you’ll want to slice the chicken no more than about 1/4 inch wide. Slice with the grain of the chicken, rather than against it; this will make the treats a little chewier and make them last a LITTLE bit longer when you give them to your dogs.
Slice up the chicken and place it on a greased cookie sheet; be sure to use one with a slight edge because there will be water and juices from the chicken during the first hour of cooking. Leave about a 1/2 inch or so between slices and just make sure they’re not touching.
Once you’re finished slicing, pop the cookie sheets in the oven and bake for two hours. After two hours, check the slices and see if they’re dry. You don’t want them to be crispy to the point of snapping but you do want them to be very chewy. (They should look like a very done french fry.) Because I baked three pounds of chicken at once, I had to bake my treats for an 90 minutes and I flipped the slices with a spatula after two hours of baking.
When they’re done, remove the treats from the oven and cool on a drying rack. If you don’t have one (I don’t), just flip a dish drainer over and drape with a dish towel then put your treats on the towel to dry. (You just want to get the treats up off the metal cookie sheets so they’ll cool crispier. A wicker basket flipped over and draped with a cup towel work work great, too.)
When the treats are completely cool, bag them in zippered bags or pop them in an airtight container and refrigerate. You can also freeze the treats for several months. Be warned, though: these are VERY popular treats…they’ll go fast! (Cats also love them!)