Beef jerky has got to be one of your favorite food items if you are a foodie!
From using it in different recipes to just snacking on it, jerky is one of the most versatile food ingredients. Plus it is just incredibly delicious!
However, you might have neglected it and kept it in the dehydrator for too long or overcooked it. Then it may have become quite hard and unappetizing.
So if you have hard pieces of beef jerky at your home and are wondering what to do with them, you are in the right place. In this article, we have gathered six clever (and tasty) ways in which you can rehydrate and soften beef jerky.
Pop It in the Microwave
You might have the best flavored original beef jerky in hand but it won’t taste good if it is too hard.
If you don’t have much time in hand and want a quick fix, pop the hardened jerky in the microwave for a minute alongside a small glass of water. Alternatively, you can also place a damp towel with the jerky in the microwave. The moisture from the water or the towel will turn into steam and rehydrate the hard jerky and soften it.
However, you should be extra careful with this technique as microwaving for too long will crisp your jerky further and then there would be no way to fix it.
Saute the Jerky
Add a bit of oil into a frying pan and saute the hard jerky with some onions.
The oil and moisture from the onion will soften the jerky and you can enjoy this directly as your meal. You can saute them for as long as you want, depending on how soft you want your jerky.
So if you want a soft, tender sauteed jerky meal, opt for this option to get the best of both worlds!
Liquids to the Rescue
What are liquids for if they can’t make your hard food softer? You can revive your hardened jerky with water, broth, soup, or wine.
The liquid to jerky ratio should be 1:1. It should completely submerge the jerky.
Rehydrating jerky takes 10–30 minutes, depending on how soft you want the jerky to be as well as how thick the piece is.
It will take around 10–15 minutes to soften the beef using boiling water, broth, soup, or wine. However, it will take 15–30 minutes to soften if you use cold water or other cold liquids.
Place your jerky on a clean and dry towel after removing it from the liquid to allow the evaporation of moisture off the skin of the meat.
Put it in the Fridge
Your refrigerator can work magic for rehydrating beef jerky. Although the process takes a little while, it’s definitely worth it.
So if you have a brunch party at your home the next day and you want to have some jerky, this is the perfect method to rehydrate. There are a couple of ways to soften jerky in the refrigerator.
Put it in a Ziplock Bag
Simply put the jerky pieces in a ziplock bag and make sure you seal them properly. This will allow the jerky to retain its moisture and eventually get soft.
You can add a few chunks of potatoes, celery, or carrots to the bag as well. These vegetables will transfer their moisture into the hard jerky and speed up the softening process more efficiently.
Use Paper Towels
Wet a paper towel and squeeze to remove excess water. Wrap your jerky pieces with a damp towel and put them in the refrigerator. Keep it overnight and voila! In the morning, you’ll find soft and juicy jerky pieces.
Use Some Sauce
Using sauces to rehydrate your jerky is a fantastic idea. Not only will this fix your jerky but also give it a boost of flavors.
If you had marinated the jerky with soy sauce or Worcester sauce before it got hard, you can use the same sauce to soften it to retain the original taste.
Just dip the jerky in a bowl of sauce for a while until it becomes soft or brush the jerky with the sauce for about 20 minutes. You can also add a little water to the sauce if you want to tone down the excessive taste of the sauce or if you don’t like it too spicy or if the sauce is too thick.
The Good Old Noodles
Noodles are a staple food in almost every household. If you want something quick yet tasty, then noodles are almost always the first choice.
Did you know that they can be amazing solutions when it comes to softening dehydrated jerky?
All you need to do is throw the jerky pieces when the noodles are boiling. The hot water adds moisture back to the hard jerky and in the end, you will end up with a delicious noodles and jerky meal!
Best Way to Store Jerky
It’s all about refrigeration when it comes to storing beef jerky once it’s been opened. To keep its texture, flavor, and freshness, you must keep the beef jerky refrigerated once you break the seal.
Pro tip: Place your jerky in a sealed bag and push out all of the air before refrigerating it to keep it fresh for up to a week.
It’s preferable to freeze beef jerky if you’re not planning to consume it straight away. If frozen properly, the shelf life of beef jerky can be prolonged to 7–12 months.
Jerky is among the most frequently consumed snacks. It’s tasty, nutritious, and easy to transport. However, dehydration is the key to its popularity.
Beef jerky requires no special handling because the fluid is removed to form a dried product and hence has a long shelf life.
When too much moisture is lost from beef jerky, you’ll have to work a little magic to rehydrate it. That’s where our six clever ways to rehydrate beef jerky come in handy.
Each approach works in a different way, but they’re all excellent ways to soften your dehydrated beef jerky.