View Full Version : Dehydrating meats?

01-15-2004, 00:34
I just purchased a food dehydrator from K-mart and wanted to prepare some dehydrated beef jerky, stew, chili, etc. The manual said to not cook beef or fish prior to putting it into the dehydrator, but said to cook and type of poultry. Is it safe to not cook and just marinate beef without cooking it? How do people prepare meats for dehydrating. Any good recipe ideas?

01-15-2004, 07:23

I dehydrated meat for my thru hike in 99 and it worked great. I had some of the meat until last year and it was still good. I think if you read the thread about dehydrated hamburger it will help you with a lot of questions. However, here is a little info when the directions refered to not cook the meat I am pretty sure it was refering to making jerky which is safe if done correctly, I never tried it myself, since if I wanted jerky it was readily available in the store already prepared.

When drying meat other than making jerky, you should cook the meat first and then dry after removing all the fat that you can from the meat. I have dried chicken, turkey, ground chuck, roast beef, and others. It is important, to get the leanest meat first, then cook, then dry as soon as possilbe. After cooking the meat, I would run hot water over the cooked meat to remove all the fat that I could then spread the meat on the dehydrater racks. Once dried, I measured the meat out into portions and then stored in a freezer until ready to use. I used the meat to add to chili, gravy roast beef, even to raman noodles. Most all the meats rehydrate very well and are great on the trail. Just make sure when drying meat other than hamburger break it up to small pieces all equal in size or as close as possible so as to dry evenly.

Hope this helps... worked great for me and I have kept meat in this manner in the freezer for 4 years with no ill effects. I would not recommend keeping it that long, but I did and worked great...

Good luck and I am sure you will get a lot of response to the question...

Happy Trails..
Ed (Never Alone) AT99, 01

01-15-2004, 15:35
And then put the cooked meat into a pasta drainer, and run it under hot water, thoroughly mixing it by hand. Then squeeze the water and any remaining fat out of it. Repeat.

The thing that will cause dehydrated meat, like ground beef, to go rancid is the fat. You don't want fat.

After dehydrating, I'd use a vacuum sealer to store the end product. Lasts longer at home, in maildrops, or on the Trail.

01-15-2004, 23:56
walkerat99, how are you packaging the dehydrated meat before you put it in the freezer? Also, does it seem to affect it if you take it out of the freezer and let it return to and stay at room temp in your pack for however long before you eat it? I'm a vegetarian but I'm dehydrating veggie "meats" for my thruhike and figure precautions and methods that work with flesh foods will work with soy-based foods, too.


I just simply measured out what I would use in one meal and put in a zip lock bag. I experimented with the meat to find out just how much I would need to make chili or how much I wanted to aid to anything prior to actually drying a lot. I found that about 1 1/2 oz was just about right for what I was using it for in chili and ect. I used the little small snack bags which were just about the right size. I also did not use, the expensive brand. I found that the off brand that K-Mart sells worked great and very inexpensive. I also used the quart bags of the same brand for other foods and added boiling water to the bag without it bursting. I had oatmeal and mashed potatoes this way a lot of times and never had any problems with adding the boiling water right to the bag. I would eat oatmeal directly out of the bag after rolling it down and not have anything to clean afterward, I would add the boiling water to mashed potato mix and then still it up, while my gravey and meat were cooking in the pot, once it was cooked and the gravey was getting thick I would squeeze the potatoes out of the zip lock bag into the pot and have my entire meal. My favorite meat like this was roast beef and anytime we had roast beef at home if any was left over, I would dry it and save for later use when I was hiking.

Hope this helps and I am sure other people have other things and other ways to prepare and store but this is what worked for me and never had a problem. The meat kept for 3 to 4 weeks once it left the freezer and probably longer, but I had it used by that length of time. I have at times even brought home extra and put it back in the freezer with no ill effects.

As an extra sauces dehydrate very easily and also restore fairly easy.

Hope this helps, and it worked great for me...

Happy Trails....

Ed (Never Alone)AT99, 01

02-17-2004, 15:23
How long does it take to rehydrate ground meat (chicken, turkey or beef)?

02-17-2004, 20:13
How long does it take to rehydrate ground meat (chicken, turkey or beef)?

Actually fairly quickly, usually by the time my Mac & cheese is cooked, the meat I added is also done. Just be sure to add enough water. I didn't my first time, yuk, then I added more water, and yum: mac & cheese with ground turkey, tasted just like a cheeseburger. I think about 1.5 cup water per 1 cup ground meat is what I use, experement at home first, I wish I had.

BTW: I cook the meat before drying as posted above.