How to make Chicken Treats for Dogs

Because of the rumors of how scary the chicken treats that come from Asia are, I decided to make my own chicken dog treats. We go through a lot of chicken in our house… (Warning: this post contains graphic images of chicken.)

We buy whole chickens and save off the breasts to feed the children and the bones for chicken stock. Wings get deep-fried. The legs and the thighs make a good stew or, this week, dog treats!

Homemade Chicken Dog Treats
Home from the Market

Break down the chickens into four work bowls:
fat & skin
thighs and legs

Homemade Chicken Dog Treats
Broken down and sorted

The carcasses go into the stockpot, to get simmered with mirepoix for stock, but that’s another post.

Homemade Chicken Dog Treats
Lots of delicious bones for stock

Chicken jerky is a challenge. It is difficult to get all of the moisture out of chicken meat. Moisture in the finished product will cause spoilage. We’ll take a two-horned approach to this problem. One – we will cure the chicken meat in Morton’s Tender Quick. Two – we will flatten and perforate the meat within an inch of its life so the water has no place to hide.

Morton Tender Quick is a curing salt with enough nitrates and nitrites to kill anything that would spoil our meat. It’s mostly botulism that we’re killing off here.  Curing instructions on the package recommend 1 cup to 1 gallon of water. I mixed this up and cured it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, I set about to flatten the meat and lay it out on the food dehydrator mats. I made myself a workstation of a plastic cutting board, walled in with dish towels. Hitting the meat with a meat tenderizer hammer causes quite a bit of splatter that can be caught by the towel walls. Some of the thicker pieces got butterflied before their pounding.

Homemade Chicken Dog Treats
Butterflied chicken

I set the Dehydrator for 12 hours at 145 degrees F. Once the drying step was complete, I wiped off the fat that has wept to the surface of the meat with some towel and cut the pieces into my bite-sized treats, removing anything that was too hard or thick or gross!

Homemade Chicken Dog Treats
Completely dried, coming out of the dehydrator

Mousse!  Mousse!  Come!  C’mon, boy!  Treat!   Wanna’ treat?

About John MacDowall

I was born in Poughkeepsie, NY. We moved to a farm during middle school where I learned about raising animals and growing food. Now, I live in the affluent suburbs of Washington, DC and wonder why people eat the way they do.

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