If you can’t tell by my recent posts, I’m getting ready for summer camping and road tripping. 🙂 We have several dietary restrictions in our family so being away from the safety of our kitchen can be a challenge. Last summer, in an attempt to control food costs and not having to grocery shop, I took meat for an entire weeks work of meals. Our cooler plan failed us and the meat thawed almost immediately. We ended up throwing away some food, which is such a waste. I am determined to figure out the food thing so for Christmas I asked for a dehydrator. While we are not backpackers, dehydrated food is a great way to control costs and safely keep food for longer periods of time.
The first thing I attempted to tackle was beef jerky. I’ve figured out the type of meat I like and the proper thickness but I haven’t found a recipe I love. Once I nail that down I will share the recipe.
Enough about beef jerky, let’s get to dehydrated ground beef! Let me just say…dehydrating ground beef is so easy. I have read that lean beef works best for dehydrating as fat makes dehydrated food spoil faster. I typically buy my ground beef from Costco so that is what I used. It’s 88% lean and worked perfectly. I started by browning two pounds of ground beef.
Next I drained the fat and let the beef cool. Once cool enough to touch I ran it under cool water to get any excess fat off. I also broke up any large chunks. Dehydrating works best when everything is evenly sized.
I laid the beef on the trays and set the dehydrator to 165.
5.5 hours later I had ground beef rocks.
Since I had browned two pounds, I split the meat, put each pound in a freezer bag, and threw them in the freezer.
I knew I was going to make spaghetti over the weekend so I took the beef out of the freezer a day early and left it on the counter. When I was ready to rehydrate the beef, I added just enough water to cover the beef in the bag. I let the bag sit for 20 – 30 minutes and next thing I knew it looked like it did prior to dehydration.
I put the beef in a pot with a little extra water and turned it on high to warm up the beef. Once it was ready to go we made our spaghetti bowls. Everyone agreed that it didn’t taste any different than it normally does. Success!
So now I know I can dehydrate ground beef for vacation! Not only will this save on cooler space, we won’t have to buy ground beef on our trip so we will better be able to control food costs. I’m currently dehydrating the leftover spaghetti sauce. If it works out I’ll let you know. 🙂