When you think of Florida, what comes to mind? Palm trees, coconuts, oranges and beautiful beaches are what I think of. I should know a thing or two about Florida. I was born and raised in a town called Lutz, Florida, north of Tampa. My family had acres and acres of orange trees and I proudly can say that oranges are definitely my favorite fruit. I think nothing compares to a ripe, juicy Florida orange. And no, it’s not just because my Pappy told me to say that. They are delicious.
So when I was coming up with a recipe for our On The Road series which is in conjunction with our 2 Traveling Dogs Adventure Of A Lifetime, I had to include oranges. Because I love oranges so much, I wanted to make sure that this was a recipe that people could also eat and enjoy with their dogs.
What else is personal about this recipe? I hate measuring. I despise it just like my great-grandmother. The best recipes in my opinion are ones that you can alter for your taste. Which is probably why I am not a baker! So here is the “recipe” and feel free to alter to you or your dog’s taste. One note is that this is a “treat”. This would not replace your dog’s dinner and always consult a veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet. Because this treat is person friendly too, feel free to ask your vet if you can eat it too.
Florida Tropical Chicken Jerky
Juice from two, freshly squeezed Florida Oranges
1 cup of orange blossom honey or local honey of your choice
A cup of unsweetened, shredded coconut
2 pounds of organic chicken breast (preferably local)
Rinse off chicken breast and dry with a paper towel. Cut into strips, slicing against the grain. Marinate the chicken in the orange juice for three hours or overnight.
Take marinated chicken and gently pat dry. Dip in honey and then roll in coconut.
Place the strips on the dehydrator tray, spacing them evenly; make sure they do not touch. The drying process depends on adequate airflow between the strips.
Put the tray in the dehydrator, turn it on and set the temperature for 165 degrees.
It will take between 3 and 12 hours for the strips to fully dry, depending on how you cut the chicken and the dehydrator settings. To determine the dryness level, remove one strip from the dehydrator, cut into it with a sharp knife and examine the inside. When the meat is completely dried, there will not be any moisture and it will be the same color throughout. If it needs more time, put it back in! Keep checking until chicken is dry but not brittle.
When your chicken jerky is done, store it in air-tight containers or zip-lock bags. Refrigerate. Safety first!
Side note: If you do not have a dehydrator, follow the above directions, however, set oven at 200 degrees.