Hot Dog Jerky




About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 6: Sunbathing Hot Dogs

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

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

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

Step 9: Taste Tests Continue

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

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.



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      51 Discussions


      2 years ago

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


      5 years ago on Introduction

      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!


      6 years ago

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


      8 years ago on Introduction

      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?


      9 years ago on Introduction

      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. 


      9 years ago on Step 8

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


      9 years ago on Step 7

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


      9 years ago on Introduction

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


      12 years ago on Step 8

      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.

      1 reply

      10 years ago on Introduction

      Actually a very witty and funny instructable.

      Fish Nerd

      10 years ago on Introduction

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

      Mikey D

      11 years ago on Introduction

      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!


      11 years ago on Introduction

      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!