True confessions: I avoided dehydrating meat for far too long because I just wasn’t sure how to do it or confident that I could do it safely – but it turns out dehydrating ground beef and other meat actually isn’t that hard at all!
Plus, I think it’s totally worth the time put into dehydrating meat and vegetables to be able have my own healthy backpacking meals on hand.
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Dehydrating Ground Beef
I like to pick up several pounds of ground beef when it’s on sale at the store and then freeze or dehydrate a big batch of it.
To dehydrate it, or make hamburger rocks as some hikers call it, start off by browning the meat in a pan, using as little oil as possible, and breaking it up into very small pieces as it cooks.
Once it’s all browned and cooked through, place the ground beef in a very fine metal strainer and rinse with boiling or near boiling water to rinse as much fat off as possible. Fat is not your friend when dehydrating and can turn rancid since it never really dries completely.
After rinsing the meat, spread it out on paper towels or a clean dishcloth and then press out any extra moisture with more paper towels or the dishcloth.
Then place your ground beef on fruit leather trays or dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper to dehydrate.
Dehydrate at 155 degrees F for 8-10 hours or until the biggest pieces are completely dried and crunchy.
Let cool and store in an air tight container or Ziploc bags. Just to be safe, I store mine in the freezer until I’m ready to use, or I might feel comfortable storing dried ground beef at room temperature if I had a vacuum sealer, but I do not.
Dehydrating Ground Beef In A Nutshell:
- Brown the ground beef in a pan until cooked through, breaking up into small pieces.
- Rinse the ground beef with very hot water to remove excess fat.
- Pat the ground beef dry with paper towels or a dishcloth.
- Spread the ground beef out on fruit leather trays.
- Dehydrate at 155 degrees for 8-10 hours.
- Let it cool, then store in an air tight container or Ziploc bags.
Pro tip: make sure you know how many servings of beef you are dehydrating before you dry it up into tiny pieces, then you’ll know how to divvy it up once it’s dehydrated, or at least label your container with X servings ground beef.
I like to measure out a serving of dehydrated ground beef per quart sized Ziploc bag and then also add any dried vegetables to the bag and store in the freezer until I’m ready to take it on a trip. Then while I’m prepping my gear and food, I’ll add any spices or dried sauce mix to the baggie and call it a backpacking meal!
Dehydrated ground beef is great for tacos, hamburger mac or even beef stroganoff while backpacking.
If you try dehydrating ground beef for yourself, let us know how it goes in the comments below.
For more backpacking recipes and meal ideas, check out:
- How To Dehydrate Chicken
- Keto Granola Bar Recipe For Backpackers
- 3 Tasty Keto Beef Jerky Recipes
- Backpacker’s Pad Thai Recipe