Liquid Pooling at Bottom on Heating Element When Used as Dehydrator

Today I used the oven to make jerky from marinaded carne asada flap steak, and it came out great! But when it was done, I noticed a pooling of liquid from the process at the bottom of the oven, accumulating on the recessed bottom heating element. Is this normal?

It was a 3 hour cook at 145F, no sous vide, no steam, back heating element, and high fan. Then 10 minutes at 275F to kill any pathogens.

UPDATE: Second time making jerky and the same thing happened, so about halfway through I simply cracked the door a bit and let it continue. More of the liquid escaped by steam than pooled at the bottom.

Hi Shags, most cooks make jerky using thin meat slices cooked on a wire rack set over a foil-lined pan to collect any liquids. When you don’t change a technique you will have the same result.

Steam ovens differ from conventional ovens as they are usually not vented saving you from working in a hot and humid kitchen. As you discovered venting reduces the accumulation of the visible water vapour you observed.

As long as the meat is no thicker than 2 1/2-inches you could safely skip the 10 minute finishing at 275F since you have already Pasteurized it.