Introduction: Hot Dog Jerky

Picture of Hot Dog Jerky

Solar Powered Meat Snacks.
Transform cheap hotdogs into a dried delicacy with a street value of a dollar an ounce.

Step 1: Digitize Your Dogs

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Get the cheapest hotdogs you can find.
Leftovers from a tractor pull or pro wrestling show would be perfect.
We're going to scientifically determine the best thickness using a binary divide- and-conquer strategy.
That means we divide a hotdog by two, then by two again, thus creating two bit dogs.

A Poem; Ode to a Doomed Dog:

Time is wasting
We're all slowly dying
Let's get to slicing
and get those hot dogs drying
While the sun is still shining

Step 2: Like Fallen Heroes They Lie

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Cut the remaining ten hotdogs into quarters.

Metaphors of wartime carnage come to mind.

I've been going to lots of talks by U.S. military analysts and historians.
All their analyses indicate that this war will continue to be "What we call in the field a big mess."
These are the people that get ignored when policy is made.
Then they study the ensuing disasters and give talks about what coding scheme is most valid and what regression analysis etc. is best. Then the questions: "what can we expect?"
Let me summarize: Our dumb jerks in charge have gotten us into a stupid mess. Expect more of that.

Take a break to see tiny photos of the faces of thousands of Americans killed in Iraq:
Ten times that many have been maimed.
Ten times that many Iraqis have been killed and maimed.

Don't worry, I'm done with this gloomy stuff. Let's get back to the details of


Step 3: Marinade

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Mix up a batch of spicy liquid. This is a good time to use up all the bottles of brown and reddish stuff that were in the house when you moved in.

Step 4: Marinate

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Mix them up til they're all well coated. Let it soak for some amount of time. There's already lots of bug death in a hotdog already, so you're just gilding the lily with this embalming step.
If your marinade is hot enough you better not touch your eyes.
If you need to go to the bathroom get someone to help you.

Step 5: Rack Them Up

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Here they are relaxing on a nice comfortable oven rack.
The scientific controls are there too with no marinade.

Step 6: Sunbathing Hot Dogs

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Put them up in the solarium to get a nice tan. They will continue to rain hotsauce for a while.
If anyone complains, explain the difference between greatness and goodness to them.

Coming soon:
Are they any good?
Did we all die from preservative interactions?
Tune in soon to find out!

It's been almost a week. I want to leave them up that long before sampling.
They sure are pretty up there with the sun shining through their shriveled translucent greasiness!
Just two more days to go!

Step 7: Taste Test

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Well, those beautiful little dogs sat up there for a week or two or three like an edible stainedglass chandelier. Nope, actually it was more like a rack of hotdogs left in the sun. Anyway, eventually it was time to do something about it. The bravest among us, intern Erich, took on the task.
"Not bad! " He announced. "Kind of like a Slimjim".
Hey Erich - Am I remembering that right?
They were really greasy. Note for future efforts: Hotdogs stop drying out when there's nothing left but grease and gristle, leaving a sort of fibrous candle thing.
Lowfat hotdogs would be better for this process.
That said, they did indeed have what a philosopher might call the "suchness" of a "dried meat snack". Maybe that was the garlic listed among the other ingredients. Or the "parts".

Step 8: Eric's Turn

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"Incredibly delicious!" He exclaimed. "I'm no longer a vegetarian!"

Step 9: Taste Tests Continue

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Colin Bulthaup and Laird Nolan, to be referred to in official reports as "Subjects A and B" attempt to taste the experimental food substance.
Subject A is unable to bring it anywhere near his face.
Subject B confidently thrusts the food substance into his gaping mouth, but when attempting to bite it his arm involuntarily jerked away and he was unable to eat any.

Step 10: The Grosof Effect

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Food presentation expert David Grosof (his real name) critiques the arrangement.
"It's everything!" he explains.
The portion that Eric chewed and spit out could be considered a type of "pate".
Unfortunately despite the fine visual presentation, the narrative and epistemological elements of the presentation will not appeal to any mainstream demographic.


mrsmerwin (author)2017-02-05

I am going to try this as a camping food for my kids.

BLASTFEMI (author)2013-09-29

Seriously, I bet if you parboil these after you sliced them, then marinate them it might be o.k. I'm going to use a dehydrator to make some for my mother-in-law!

cdoggy (author)2013-05-23

HAHAHAHAHA this is awesome !!! I'm no longer a vegetarian

Foaly7 (author)2010-08-22

What would the people reading this with the worst bad luck in the world do to cover the 'dogs from the destructive divebombings of the avian world populace?

Lokisgodhi (author)2009-12-14

The leaving them out in the sun method might be your problem here.

The recipes I've always seen for jerky have been to put the meat in an oven at the lowest temp possible, like 140-160 degrees, for 8-12 hours with the oven door ajar and dehydrate them that way. 

MakerBreaker (author)2009-11-08

ill stick with my good old sote bought beef jerky....yum slim jims

whiteoakart (author)2009-10-06

Maybe you could use the leftovers for greasing door hinges?

JellyWoo (author)2008-09-17

woudn't bugs come and attack the hot dogs that are drying?

whiteoakart (author)JellyWoo2009-10-06

bugs won't eat that stuff.

ryanhiltonis (author)2009-07-22

So disgusting I just had to read it!!

vandal1138 (author)2009-07-11

Lettuce was a nice touch... Also try old soggy carpet samples, it compliments the oily cardboard essence with a nice fibrous pudding effect.

vandal1138 (author)2009-07-11

And suprisingly enough, if you microwave a slimjim it tastes (and smells) like a fried bologna sandwich.

Yerboogieman (author)2009-06-27

How would i make a solar food dehydrator? Mostly i need help the aluminum foil, shiny side out?

ewilhelm (author)2006-09-16

Tim totally misquoted me! Real quote: "It tastes like oily cardboard!" I managed to swallow some, but only because it was after a hard day of kitesurfing and I was starving.

Der Bradly (author)ewilhelm2008-10-15


JellyWoo (author)2008-09-17

that is really cool! must taste good.

baneat (author)2008-09-10

Actually a very witty and funny instructable.

Fish Nerd (author)2008-07-24

I found this Instructable horrifying, funny yet intriguing, maybe my wife will let me try it...then again...

Mikey D (author)2008-05-26

OK, I know this was just a joke but we're trying it! We're going to use the dehydrator, but we're trying it!

seasprout (author)2007-12-16

I actually loved it. It was probably the seasoning I used. I used fat-free turkey dogs soaked in thai peanut curry sauce overnight, these are extremely delicious and great for snacks!

TimAnderson (author)seasprout2007-12-16

What brand of hotdogs did you use? The fat-free-ness must be important. There was way too much fat left in mine when they were dry.

seasprout (author)TimAnderson2007-12-18

Pretty sure they were Oscar Meyer Fat Free turkey dogs :)

Lftndbt (author)2007-10-16

I was hoping to find a good instructable on making jerky... But i'm sorry that's putrid! LoL! Congrats on being brave enough to try it. though!

static (author)2007-07-01

Not a Hot Dogs, not Jerky. This should be in the at your risk category, it definitely isn't food. The only good thing I got by opening up this ibnstructable was being directed to

static (author)2007-07-01

Right tell us another big one.

On a serious note. I bought 22 of those old Ronco Food dehydrators off ebay for $150. I am making a killing selling hot dog jerky to gas stations and upper-class restaurants.

For info on how you can buy my jerky go to

harmonious1 (author)2006-11-25

Dogs love em, for what its worth.

camscam (author)2006-11-06

you sold this to WHO exactly for a dollare an ounce?!?

Illidan (author)2006-09-20

how did it turn out?

Wade Tarzia (author)2006-09-10

Aw, too bad. I never wavered in my belief that the hot dog is the most perfect food. Fry it, boil it, nuke it, eat it from the fridge -- it asks for nothing specific. Dice it up into a can of baked beans, eat on a bun, spear over a fire, it adapts to all environments. Too bad it is taboo food for me now (I make do unsatisfied on tofu hot dogs -- they are at least a vehicle for the relish and mustard) unless I am at somebody's barbecue, and then I MUST eat hotdogs so that I avoid insulting the universal rules of the host/ess. I had high hopes that sun dried dogs would be scintillating, purifed, betterified in the California sun, which is said to be the best onm Earth. Sigh.....

Crash2108 (author)2006-08-30

Hmmm.., extruded meat paste..

Nate53085 (author)2006-07-30

Yeah, its been a while since this was posted. How did it turn out?

nospleen (author)Nate530852006-08-22

It turned out like hotdogs left in the sun for a week....

nospleen (author)2006-08-22

That's exactly right. It tasted suprisingly similar to a slimjim.

ewilhelm (author)2006-08-17

Tim totally misquoted me! Real quote: "It tastes like oily cardboard!"

hivoltage (author)2006-08-10

dude hotdogs sitting in the sun for a week would have so many flies on it. unless there was some glass. would probably take only a few days with the weather here in southern california lately

DanAdamKOF (author)2006-07-24

So... how did this turn out?

meddler (author)2006-07-15

People have ideas, not everyone has the style, some of you vetren posters do. It makes me wonder if it would be a waste of time to post anything considering the mean comments i see first time posters get. Constructive advice should be the norm not snotty, pissy comments

TimAnderson (author)meddler2006-07-17

Do it, put it up, and people who like it will find it. You'll get invitations to visit people all over the world. Don't let a few hecklers bug you. At least they care. That "heckler" demographic may someday turn into a "fanatically loyal" demographic. History is full of posthumously appreciated masterpieces made by people who quit when they were criticized. They should have persisted. The only way to make a masterpiece is to make a hundred crapperpieces and hope a few are good.

atomicpossum (author)2006-07-12

So almost an entire step is just a silly political statement? Talk about 'jerking your weenie.'

trebuchet03 (author)atomicpossum2006-07-13

I guess its about time someone else started jerking to at least address the cock fight... how many chickens must turn the other 'gobbler'? :P And there's nothing silly about a political statement... the idea, maybe, but the statement - no. To the Americans -- being able to simply make that statement is what you should be pushing for, if you cast DOWN on anyone making a "silly political statement" - well, that's just unamerican of you. To others -- sorry, under new management. comming soon: "Fortress America" where the motto is: "Tired and Hungry? Go to Turkey" As for the dogs.... Points for uniqueness.... Minus points for umm, the not to pleasing sounding concept :P

atomicpossum (author)trebuchet032006-07-13

Nope. To pause from talk of anything as ridiculous as sun-drying hotdogs for any political statement makes it, by definition, silly, and in this case, extraneous, disconnected, and even gratuitous, particularly when it is a single line of relevant content padded with several paragraphs of unrelated diatribe. There's already enough low-quality instructables on this site-- padding them with completely unrelated material that is nowhere within the scope of the site only dilutes the value of it even further.

trebuchet03 (author)atomicpossum2006-07-13

silly, by definition.... # cockamamie: ludicrous, foolish; "gave me a cockamamie reason for not going"; "wore a goofy hat"; "a silly idea"; "some wacky plan for selling more books" -- okay, maybe the hotodog idea is foolish, but that's besides the point # airheaded: lacking seriousness; given to frivolity; "a dizzy blonde"; "light-headed teenagers"; "silly giggles" -- I don't see what is not serious # pathetic: inspiring scornful pity; "how silly an ardent and unsuccessful wooer can be especially if he is getting on in years"- Dashiell Hammett -- no scorn here # a word used for misbehaving children; "don't be a silly" -- not a child # punch-drunk: dazed from or as if from repeated blows; "knocked silly by the impact"; "slaphappy with exhaustion" -- this could be caused by posts, otherwise - nope so no, not silly - unless Princeton's dictionary is not good enough for ya :P extraneous -- absolutely, luckily this is not a term paper disconnected -- following government, politics etc. requires a lot of thinking and being somehow connected to what's coming out gratuitous -- I can see his/a cause, so nope diatribe -- yep, welcome to politics (from the latin meaning many bloodsucking creatures :P) But I agree, there's a lot of low quality instructables in addition to a lot of complainers that don't post content :/ So, if you don't like it - flag it, but I think Mr. Anderson is personal friends with the admin...

Saga (author)atomicpossum2006-07-12

I, on the other hand, appreciated the link to the faces of the dead and, even though it was tangental, appreciate the reminder and don't think that there is anything "silly" about war. "Silly" is what happens in the absence of war. In my experience there are two types of people; those who can't bring themselves to feel the magnitude of war and abhorr reminders, and those who feel selfish and regretful when they realize that they have been "living the good life" while their fellow Americans are off dying. I have friends that came back from Iraq and are completely haunted by what they saw there. It's really sad.

Nesagwa (author)2006-07-12

Do you really think its necessary to preserve a meat product that has already gone through a preservation process (ie. sausaging)?

Ingerson (author)Nesagwa2006-07-13

Sausaging is offically my favourite word of the month.

austin (author)2006-07-12

ah man this is completly disgusting, Its kinda intriguing because its just so strange. Hotdogs are not really meat any more so i dont know what the "jerky" will turn out like. The fat content of the hotdogs might be to high to ever jerkyfy

admanrocks (author)2006-07-12

i would never eat that

Scurl! (author)2006-07-12

.......................brrrlpchk........wait.....ok, i'm not going to puke....i think. this sounds absolutely disgusting, and this is from a man who's got several jars of pickled eggs in his fridge.

rotor (author)2006-07-12

Current Vegas odds: 3:1 Taste nasty 8:1 Inedible 14:1 Stolen by raccoons

About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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