In this article, I’ll share with you a few ways on how to rehydrate jerky to make it palatable again both at home and outdoor. I have also included a few recipes of some meals that you can add your rehydrated jerky into.
Jerky is meant to be chewed like gum that is, if you like having it in the original Old West style. However, jerky chew is quite tough and fibrous. That’s why most people prefer rehydrating it for use in other dishes.
But can you rehydrate jerky?
Short answer: yes of course!
Long answer: unfortunately, rehydrating dry jerky isn’t as easy as it seems on paper. If you scour several online forums, you’ll come across lots of complaints about jerky pieces that either remain too hard even with prolonged rehydration or become soggy and unappealing.
How To Rehydrate Jerky?
After storing jerky for some time, there comes a time when you have to open the can or package and have the dried meat for your next meal. There are 2 options here: you could simply eat it as chewy jerky or rehydrate it to make a meal out of it.
Jerky can be rehydrated with any liquid that you consider good and healthy to drink; water, broth, juice, milk, wine, and of course, cold beer.
This versatility is what makes jerky a good meal almost anywhere whether you are at home or hundreds of miles in the wilderness.
So, how do you rehydrate jerky?
1. Rehydrating Beef Jerky With Water
Using water is the most straightforward way of rehydrating beef jerky and making it eatable again. You could use either hot or cold water for this. For backpackers who have no access to fuel, cold water seems like the best option for them. You only need to put your meat in a dish of cold water and let it sit and soak for some time.
Note that using cold water might take quite some time.
That being said, if you wish to have it for lunch, it might be a good idea to start rehydrating it, let’s say, 2-3 hours earlier for small to large pieces of meat. If you have ground jerky, it might take an hour to an hour and a half.
Using hot water is notably faster. It might take 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of your meat. Ground jerky will take even lesser time at utmost 15 minutes.
Whether your jerky is in portions (small or large) or in ground form, you’ll need to keep on checking it as it absorbs the water to ensure that you get it out after reaching your desired consistency.
One thing that makes water superior to alternative rehydration liquids is that it does not alter the original taste of your jerky so much.
In addition, if you have store-bought jerky which tastes more of beef candy debit to the corn syrup and sugar among other preservatives used in its ingredients, water helps in diluting this sugariness.
2. Rehydrate Jerky Using Soup
Soups keep us warm, especially in the cold seasons. If you are backpacking in winter conditions, the chances are that you’ll bring along some soup or make it on the go.
Either way, as you cook or warm the soup, throwing a few pieces of jerky will help soften them a bit. The best thing here is that you can use virtually any soup. If you’ll be using ready soup, you’ll need to let it simmer slowly. The jerky pieces will soften as the soup gets warm.
3. Rehydrate Jerky Using Broth
Next time you have leftover broth that you aren’t exactly sure what to do with it, remember that you can use it to rehydrate jerky.
Similar to rehydrating the pieces with soup, all you do is immerse them in a pot of broth and let it simmer for some time (1-2 hours). The jerky will slowly soak and swell with the liquid.
4. Rehydrate Jerky Using Noodles Or Ramen
Noodles and ramen are super easy and fast to cook. Either of them also makes a quick meal when cooked with jerky both at home and on the trails.
To prepare a ramen or noodle jerky dish, add jerky pieces into a pot 2/3 or ¾ full of water and simmer slowly. When the jerky is about to attain your preferred consistency, add the noodles and let them cook till soft. Serve hot.
5. Rehydrate Jerky Using Wine
Jerky can be darn dry to chew sometimes. But it’s never so tough for wine to soften it up. If you like trying out new ideas, then you need to try soaking a few pieces of jerky into wine for an hour. This offers a high-class experience by balancing the spices used to prepare the jerky. The jerky also gives your wine a whole new taste.
Not sure what wine would go well with jerky? Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche and Knights Valley are some good recommendations here.
Best Dishes To Prepare With Rehydrated Jerky
After successfully rehydrating jerky, most people do wonder what exactly to do with it? Well, there are a whole lot of dishes that you can make with your rehydrated jerky ranging from salads (you read that right) to soups.
In this section, let me show you a few exquisite ways to eat your jerky.
1. Curried Fried Rice With Chomps Beef Jerky
What you’ll need:
- 3 oz beef jerky cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1-1/2 cups water (for the rice)
- 2-1/2 cups boiling water for the jerky and mushroom
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms or I large tree ear mushroom (dried)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup toasted whole almonds
- 1-inch ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 medium carrot chopped in 1-2 inch pieces
- 1-1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 scallion
How to prepare:
- Rinse and drain the rice and put it in a medium-size saucepan. Add 1-1/2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. After boiling, cover the rice and let it simmer over low heat for 10-12 minutes. When cooked, remove it from the heat, fluff it, and let it cool down.
- As the rice boils, put the beef jerky chops in a medium bowl and pour 2-1/2 cups of hot water over it. Let it stand for 30 minutes. Drain the water and coarsely chop the jerky pieces.
- In a small bowl, put the mushroom and pour the ½ cup of boiling water to cover it. Let the mushroom stand for about 10 minutes or until soft enough to your liking. Drain the water, cut and discard the stems and chop the caps.
- Put the onion, carrot, and ginger in a large skillet and drizzle the vegetable oil over the mix. Cook over low heat for about 4 minutes or until the onions are soft.
- Add the curry powder and stir until it is nicely mixed.
- Add the almonds, beef jerky, and mushrooms and raise the heat to high. Continue stirring.
- Add the cooked rice and soy sauce and season with salt.
- Continue stirring to break up the rice.
- Stir in the scallion and remove from heat.
- It’s ready to serve.
2. Roasted Brussels Sprout
What you’ll need:
- Chopped beef jerky (rehydrated)
- Sliced Brussels sprouts (2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Pepper (optional)
How to prepare:
- Preheat oven to 400℉ (204℃).
- Add the sliced sprouts onto a baking sheet and drizzle some oil.
- Add salt and pepper atop and place the sheet in the oven. Let it roast for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn the sprouts. Add beef jerky and turn to mix well.
- Put the baking sheet back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the sprouts are golden brown.
3. Savory Oatmeal
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup coconut milk (you could also use almond milk)
- ½ kg Chopped Chomps beefy jerky
- ½ cup almond meal
- ¼ cup flax seed
- ½ cup Sriracha sauce
How to prepare:
- Heat coconut or almond oil to boil.
- Remove from heat and add almond meal and flax seed. Stir to mix well.
- Put chopped beefy jerky in a bowl and pour in the almond and flax seed mixture and stir.
- Drizzle with Sriracha.
4. Simple Beef Jerky Omelet
What you’ll need:
- 3 eggs
- Around 10 pieces of 1-inch rehydrated jerky
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Salt and pepper
How to prepare:
- Break the eggs in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper (to taste) and whisk thoroughly.
- Pour the coconut oil into a skillet and heat it in medium heat.
- Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet and spread evenly.
- As soon as the edges start forming, add the pieces of jerky spreading them evenly over the egg.
- Using a spatula, carefully hold the omelet from one side to fold it into two.
- Flip it carefully and let the other side cook.
- Remove from the heat and enjoy.
Jerky is fuel for long-distance hikers and virtually any other outdoor enthusiasts. It also makes a healthy snack at home and on road trips. For a good tasty jery, the trick is to use a special dehydrator for making jerky and you may also use a jerky cannon when you are preparing it . You can also make jerky using an oven.
While chewy jerky is great, rehydrating it opens the door to tons of mouthwatering recipes besides making it palatable.
If you are to rehydrate your jerky, remember to do so to just enough amount for that time. This is because similar to other cooked foods, rehydrated jerky can easily get contaminated by bacteria thereby rendering it unsafe for storing and later consumption.
In addition, it’s important that you keep a close eye on the jerky during the rehydration process to prevent overdoing it. This is vital especially if you’ll be boiling or simmering it in hot water, soups, and broths.
Worth mentioning, remember that homemade jerky always tastes great (if done the right way) than store-bought jerky. If you are not sure how to go about it, leaf through our other article on how to dry beef jerky in a dehydrator for an in-depth guide.
Eric MitchellEric is the owner, author, content director and founder of dehydratorlab.com. He is the lead architect and the main man in matters concerning dehydrators, their accessories, guides, reviews and all the accompaniments.Whenever he is not figuring out simple solutions (hacks) involving cookery and their eventual storage, you will find him testing out the different types of dehydrators, to bring us the juicy details regarding these devices.He is a foodie enthusiast, pasionate about making jerky has a knack for healthy and tasty food and won't hesitate to share out any ideas that might be of value around this subject.
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