"The jerkiest of racks."
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The Drying Rack is a Food Tab structure which allows the player to dry most Meats, most Fish, and Seaweed into dried food items, such as Jerky, Small Jerky, Monster Jerky, Dried Jellyfish () and Dried Seaweed (). Dried food items take significantly longer to spoil and often provide better Health and Sanity compared to raw food used in the rack or their cooked versions. It requires 3 Twigs, 2 Charcoal, and 3 Rope to craft and a Science Machine to prototype. Meat, Monster Meat, Morsel, Frog Legs, Fish, Eel, Drumstick and Batilisk Wing (and Dead Dogfish, Fish Morsels, Raw Fish, Dead Swordfish, Tropical Fish, Dead Jellyfish and Seaweed in Shipwrecked) can all be dried.
Restoring all three bars fairly well, Jerky is useful to prepare for long trips into unknown territory where the only food might be Monster Meat.
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Only uncooked meats can be dried into Jerky. Jerky, Small Jerky, and Monster Jerky can all be created using a Drying Rack, each of which spoils much more slowly than either their fresh or fire-cooked counterparts. Dried foods also provide a greater health bonus when eaten. For example, a Small Jerky provides 8 Health, while a Cooked Morsel provides only 1 health; large Jerky provides 20 health, while Cooked Meat provides only 3 health. Monster Jerky still drains health and sanity but to a lesser degree.
Unlike cooking meat, the jerky created will always be completely fresh, instead of having half less spoilage than the meat used. This means a spoiled morsel can be dried to get a completely fresh piece of Jerky. Meat left on a rack does not spoil until collected.
Note that while meat always becomes jerky, and monster meat always becomes monster jerky, small jerky may be made by drying any of the following:
Morsel, Frog Legs, Monster Meat, Fish, and Drumstick take only one day to dry, whereas Batilisk Wing and Meat take two days.
In the Reign of Giants (RoG) and Shipwrecked (SW) DLCs, Jerky left on the Drying Rack will spoil over time as well. Rain will prevent any meat on the drying rack from drying, making it less effective in Spring in RoG, and Hurricane Season and Monsoon Season in SW.
- Drying Racks are very useful for storing meats. Jerky and Small Jerky take 20 days to completely spoil, while Meat and Morsel will spoil in 6 days, and cooked Meat/Morsel will spoil in 10 days. Storing any kind of jerky in the Ice Box will give 40 days before they spoil, allowing the player to focus on concerns other than gathering fresh food.
- It is a good idea to try and build at least one drying rack fairly early on (i.e. before the first winter). This then allows you to store meat on the drying rack ready for the winter, and will easily last throughout winter once picked, allowing you to have an emergency food source should you fail to find any one day. Additionally, the jerky versions provide improved stats over regular and cooked meats (in particular, sanity).
- Drying a Fish, Frog Legs, or Drumstick will turn them into Small Jerky, which prevents it from being used as a specific ingredient for certain Crock Pot meals, such as Fish Sticks (which need fish) or Froggle Bunwich (which need frog legs).
- All the meat listed above can still be dried during winter. This is a very useful method for restoring health and sanity.
- Since Monster Jerky takes a relatively long time to dry and provides almost no benefit over cooked monster meat, it's far more efficient to use Monster Meat in a Crock Pot as a meat filler.
- In Reign of Giants, Jerky left on the Drying Racks in the Caves may not continue to spoil while the player is in the surface world.
A burnt Drying Rack from the Reign of Giants DLC.