I doubt anyone has ever done this besides my carnivorous husband, but have you ever left your jerky in the dehydrator for an extended period of time without eating it?
Jerky that has been neglected is not very palatable. Its flavor may become powdery or bland due to the lack of moisture.
I don’t have a golden retriever or three, so what can you do?
There are a few ways to re-soften beef jerky so you can use it in recipes or have it as a quick snack, but the simplest method is to avoid letting it become overly hard in the first place. In this post, I’ll explain how to do that in detail.
But don’t give up if your jerky is already as hard as a rock. In this post, I’ll also offer you some advice on how to revive it!
Brushing your beef jerky with a liquid and letting it sit for a day is the simplest method for making it softer. However, there are a few different approaches, so in the paragraphs that follow, I’ll get specific.
Why Does Beef Jerky Become So Hard?
When making beef jerky, you must take dehydration time into account. A perfectly dried piece of jerky should be flexible enough to bend, not break in half. On the other hand, if store-bought jerky isn’t kept in an airtight container, it can turn hard. Your jerky will lose moisture if the bag isn’t properly closed, and in a few days it will become extremely dry and hard.
One of the factors contributing to the popularity of beef jerky is its chewy texture. Hard Jerky can be appetizing up to a certain point. Once it reaches that point, it becomes less alluring to eat. The good news is that you don’t have to throw away your jerky even if it becomes hard. You can rehydrate it and enjoy it.
Three Methods to Soften Beef Jerky
Time: 2 minutes
Your beef jerky can be softened most quickly and easily by microwaving it. It only takes two minutes, a glass of water or a cloth towel, and a microwave-safe container with a lid.
Place a glass of hot water and your dry beef jerky inside the container, then secure the lid. You can substitute a wet towel for the glass of water as an alternative. Place it in the microwave on high for one minute, then remove it to examine the texture. If your jerky is still hard, give it another minute in the microwave. Then, take it out and enjoy.
Advice: If you decide to use a towel, make sure it is cloth and that it is completely wet. A dry towel can be easily burnt.
Method 2: Rehydration by Liquid Transfer
Time: 15 to 60 minutes
By using this technique, you are adding moisture once more to soften beef jerky. You can do this in a number of ways, such as by enhancing the flavor or reducing the intensity of your jerky.
With a sauce, such as soy sauce and Worchester sauce, you can rehydrate your jerky. If you made your own jerky and used one of these sauces, using them again will enhance the flavor.
Put your jerky in a Tupperware container or plastic bag, seal it, and refrigerate it for 30 to 60 minutes after liberally brushing on the sauce.
Take out your jerky and wipe off any excess moisture with a paper towel. Then, your jerky is ready to eat.
Rehydration With Water or Broth
You can rehydrate your beef jerky with additional liquids, such as water or broth, in addition to the sauce. Whatever you prefer, it can be vegetable, chicken, or beef broth. Your chosen liquid may be either hot or cold. In both cases, it has a similar effect.
Place your jerky in a container and top with broth or water. The liquid must be enough to cover the jerky. Pop the lid on and seal your container. Allow your jerky to hydrate in the liquid for 15 to 30 minutes. It is better if you leave it inside the fridge.
To achieve different degrees of softness, experiment with different times. When the jerky has reached the desired texture, thoroughly drain the liquid and continue to let it sit for a few minutes. As we did with the sauce, you can use a paper towel to absorb any additional moisture if there is more liquid on the surface.
Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. The sauce method will result in less tender but flavorful jerky. It takes a little longer, but your beef jerky won’t lose any of its flavor. On the other hand, a lot of the flavor may end up on the liquid with the broth and water method, but the beef jerky is softer and less salty.
Pro tip: You can rehydrate your jerky using either of those two methods while also adding finely chopped fresh vegetables to give it a unique flavor.
Method 3: Sauté Your Beef Jerky
Time: 20 minutes
With this technique, we cook our jerky in a pan that also contains oil and vegetables. Vegetables like carrots, broccolini, or asparagus should be cooked in two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
As the vegetables slowly begin to cook, their liquids will be released. At that point, you add the dry beef jerky. The moisture from the vegetables will cause it to become softer, and it will also give your dish fantastic flavor without the need for additional seasonings.
The most inventive and flexible way to soften beef jerky is to sauté it. Since you can use it in a variety of dishes, including stews and soups, after cooking it in the pan. Additionally, beef jerky and legumes like lentils and cheekpieces can make for a delicious winter meal.
Can I Rehydrate Dry Beef Jerky Overnight?
Yes! It is a fantastic idea. Brush your jerky with the liquid of your choice. Use a little liquid so it doesn’t become too soft. Keep it then tightly sealed in a cold environment, ideally a refrigerator.
Can I Cook Dry Beef Jerky With Other Dehydrated Foods?
Yes, you can add beef jerky to instant noodles or pre-seasoned dehydrated rice if you are going camping or hiking. With more protein and a variety of textures, you are getting a filling meal.
How To Soften & Rehydrate Dry/Tough/Hard Jerky In Minutes
How do you soften up beef jerky?
It still needs more time in the dehydrator if it feels soft to the touch and has a greasy appearance. The best jerky should feel dry to the touch and look very leather-like.
Should beef jerky be soft or hard?
Jerky that is removed from the dehydrator too soon will be too dry and difficult to chew, while jerky that is removed too soon will be moist and prone to spoilage.
Why is my beef jerky so chewy?
Factory made jerky is mechanically tenderised. You could also beat (excuse the pun) your meat to make it more tender, or you could even use burger, which should be more tender. When making homemade jerky, if it isn’t dry, it hasn’t finished. The amount of time the jerky spends in the oven determines its texture.