How to Dehydrate Ground Beef: A Complete Guide

Dehydrating ground beef is a versatile technique that can enhance your camping experience, stock your prepper pantry, and even make homemade dehydrated MREs. Instead of relying solely on fresh ground beef, why not dehydrate it and have it readily available for any occasion?

You may be wondering why you should dehydrate ground beef in the first place. Well, besides the convenience factor, dehydrated ground beef can also be a great addition to freeze-dried food pouches. Think about your favorite dishes like Beef Stroganoff or Chili Mac with Beef from Mountain House. Don’t you wish they had more meat in them? By having dehydrated ground beef on hand, you can enhance these meals to your liking.

When it comes to choosing the right kind of ground beef for dehydration, look for 93/7 lean beef. This lean-to-fat ratio ensures longer storage potential, as fat does not dehydrate and can eventually go rancid. So, it’s best to avoid higher fat content in your ground beef.

To get started with dehydrating ground beef, all you need is a good quality food dehydrator. We recommend using the Nesco FD-61 for its reliability and value for money. Make sure to gather the necessary supplies, including removable fruit roll sheet inserts for the dehydrator trays and a wide-mouth canning funnel.

How to Hydrate Dehydrated Ground Beef

To rehydrate your dehydrated ground beef, use a 1-to-1 ratio of beef crumbles to water. For example, mix 1/2 cup of dehydrated beef (approximately 60 grams) with 1/2 cup of water. You can use either cold or hot water for hydration, but boiling water tends to work best for optimal results. For homemade MREs, let the entire meal hydrate with hot water for at least 20 minutes in an insulated cooking pot. If you’re supplementing a store-bought freeze-dried meal, simply add a bit more boiling water to the pouch, maintaining the 1-to-1 ratio.

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Weights, Measures, and Serving Sizes

For those curious about the numbers, here are some measurements we obtained during our recent ground beef dehydration experiment. We started with 1.36 pounds (628 grams) of 93/7 lean ground beef, which increased to 1 pound 6.2 ounces (709 grams) after adding breadcrumbs. After cooking the meat in batches, we were left with about 1.34 pounds (612 grams) of ground beef crumbles. Finally, after nearly 6 hours in the food dehydrator, we ended up with 268 grams of dehydrated ground beef with the breadcrumb panade. Keep in mind that a standard serving size is approximately 4 ounces, which is roughly 40 grams of dehydrated weight or 1/3 cup by volume.

Insider Tips for Dehydrating Ground Beef

Here are a few tips to ensure the best results when dehydrating ground beef:

  • Experiment with adding dehydrated beef crumbles to your favorite freeze-dried food pouches, but remember to adjust the water content to compensate for the added dry ingredients.
  • If possible, use a non-stick skillet during the cooking process to prevent the lean ground beef and breadcrumb mixture from sticking. This is especially important as ordinary cookware may not be as effective.
  • Keep a mesh-type sink strainer handy for easy clean-up to avoid clogging your kitchen sink with any leftover meat or breadcrumbs.

Remember, dehydrating ground beef is not only practical but can also elevate your meal options. With its high-quality proteins, essential amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients, dehydrated ground beef can be a valuable addition to your culinary arsenal. So, grab your food dehydrator, lean ground beef, and get ready to embark on a journey of flavorful and convenient meals.

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For more information and inspiration, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ. Happy dehydrating!