Forum Index » Food, Hydration, and Nutrition » Shelf life of fatty dried ground beef


Display Avatars Sort By:
Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Shelf life of fatty dried ground beef on 06/29/2013 10:09:49 MDT Print View

I just picked up 3 pounds of organic, grass-fed, ground beef.  It has a claimed 20% fat content.  On a backpack trip I'm happy to consume that fatty goodness...

Conventional wisdom says to remove meat fat as much as possible before dehydrating.  I was planning to fry the beef, simmer a few minutes in stock, then refrigerate so I could remove the fat that floats up.  After that drain and dehydrate into "gravel".

Is rinsing the fat out really necessary?  From my reading, spoilage in dehydrated meat fats is mostly rancidity caused by oxidation.  Do any of you experts know if vacuum sealing would the meat give at least 4 weeks' backpacking shelf life?  Do I just need to be worried about bad flavors (rancidity) or more dangerous stuff?

I plan to season the meat with 1 TB McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning per pound which will add 270 mg. sodium per 2 ounce portion of meat.

Thanks in advance,
Jim

Heather Hohnholz
(Hawke) - M
Fat on 06/29/2013 11:09:10 MDT Print View

My understanding is that the primary concern about the fat is indeed the rancidity. If you're planning on consuming relatively quickly, you should be fine. That being said, the fat does inhibit dehydration, so you may need to take that into account with your dry times. In my experience, meat rocks (aka dehydrated hamburger) don't rehydrate very well. I had much better luck when I mixed some (I dunno, 1/2C per lb?) dried breadcrumbs in with the already-browned burger before dehydrating. I tried to drain off most of the fat, but didn't do any of the rinsing etc that some others talk about. Seemed to work very well. YMMV

Edited by Hawke on 06/29/2013 11:10:11 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Fat on 06/29/2013 11:29:53 MDT Print View

Oh crap, really? How long will dehydrated ground beef "gravel" keep? I've got two pounds in the dehydrator now for my 3-week JMT trip. Should I not send it in my resupply packages??

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Panko in ground beef before dehydrating on 06/29/2013 11:48:15 MDT Print View

I was planning to mix in Panko crumbs before cooking. Do you think after works as well? Good point about fat inhibiting drying. Maybe I'll try to remove it after all.

Chef Glenn was my source for the bread crumb idea: http://www.backpackingchef.com/dehydrating-meat.html

Jennifer: I think you are probably starting about the same time as us: July 29 if I can get a walk-up permit the day before (get in line at 4:00 am for the 11:00 distribution). If you follow Muir Trail Ranch's latest advice they say send it 2 weeks in advance via Priority Mail. It may get hot on the way, but once at MTR they keep the buckets in a cool stone building- unless they are quite busy then the overflow goes outside (surrounded by electrified fence to keep bears away).

I plan to make the "gravel", then vacuum seal and freeze until ready to mail.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Panko in ground beef before dehydrating on 06/29/2013 12:49:06 MDT Print View

summer sausages contain a lot of fat, but they also balance out with:

extreme high sodium
compressed content, no air pockets
and vacuum sealing.

Also it's expected to be either refrigerated or kept in reasonably cool temp around low 72F

Years ago, a summer sausage fell out of the grocery bag and rolled under the car seat. The following year I discovered it, the vacuumed seal was not broken (that is why it didn't stink) but air pockets formed and it was plump like an American football.

Be mindful of the temperature, the duration before consumption, light exposure, and air pockets, and over salting is necessary. Also, altitude may affect the air pockets expanding.

Edited by RogerDodger on 06/29/2013 12:50:55 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Fat on 06/29/2013 13:30:05 MDT Print View

I've never had the nerve to try to dehydrate any meat other than very lean meat.

Many of us seem to get plenty of saturated fat as it is, so I try to stick with lean meat. Rancid meat doesn't seem very appealing.

--B.G.--

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Re: Fat on 06/29/2013 13:39:12 MDT Print View

remember that Seinfeld episode with Frank Costanza as a young army cook, adding too much spices to cover up the rancid meat. "I sent twelve men to the latrines that day, one went home with a cork in his bottom"

Jim Arzigian
(Renais) - M
Fat and drying on 06/29/2013 13:44:48 MDT Print View

In my experience, if you do not remove the fat before dehydrating, you can end up with three issues later. 1) The fat seems to inhibit the drying process. This is not very surprising since a layer of fat on the meat will block moisture movement out of the meat. 2) I found that meat that was dehydrated with the fat became rancid within a week, and had such a foul smell that it was not edible. 3) Meat that is dehydrated with the fat is much harder to rehydrate. Again, I think this is due to the layer of fat inhibiting the movement of water, this time into the meat.
I brown my meat and then quickly rinse it in hot water. The resulting product dehydrates readily. When I cook hamburger helper with it, I don't even bother to soak it first; it goes in with the cooking water and everything is cooked at once. The resulting product is hard for me to distinguish from that made with fresh meat. Regarding adding bread crumbs: I would consider that very carefully. You would be adding a material that is much more likely to absorb moisture in storage that the meat on its own would. In addition, you are providing an inviting substrate for mold and other interesting things to grow. Dry meat on its own is as attractive a growth medium for bacteria and mold.
Jim

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Fat and drying on 06/29/2013 14:34:32 MDT Print View

Thank you all for the wise counsel.

I will defat the meat after cooking with my initial proposal- simmer in broth to cover, chill, lift off fat, drain, dry.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Shelf life of fatty dried ground beef on 06/29/2013 16:08:54 MDT Print View

Ok. I'm being VERY dense here. Humor me.

I have 92% lean ground beef, browned. Drained. Stirred and drained again. I did NOT rinse it :(
It is currently dehydrating into nice, small gravel.

I did this before and it worked like a champ - it was awesome actually. But now I'm worried that I shouldn't put this in my JMT resupply boxes because I won't be able to control the temp in transit, and it will sit unrefridgerated for about 2-3 weeks. I do NOT have a vacuum sealer.

Should I just take a few baggies worth for the first food leg and give up on putting it in my resupplies??

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Re: Shelf life of fatty dried ground beef on 06/29/2013 16:20:14 MDT Print View

Jennifer,
Trader Joe's has 96% lean (4% fat) ground beef.

Also if you want to get close to 99.99% fat free, ask the butcher at regular grocery store to clean and ground up a London Broil steak, fairly cheap because it's a tough cut, but for ground it's perfect.

Ok you will need a vac sealer. cheap kind at Wally is $50, you can get a deal on a good quality product for about $100 at Bed bath and Beyond with those coupons they send weekly.

also, you can invest in a dehydrator like the ones for beef jerky. or go on the cheap in your oven on the lowest heat setting, with the oven door slightly open, usually range 150F to 180F. Best to do this in the winter, because the summer it makes the house an inferno.

Edited by RogerDodger on 06/29/2013 16:23:59 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Shelf life of fatty dried ground beef on 06/29/2013 16:33:08 MDT Print View

"you can invest in a dehydrator like the ones for beef jerky."
"Best to do this in the winter, because the summer it makes the house an inferno."

In the winter months, I do almost 100% of my home heating just with the food dehydrator running every evening.

--B.G.--

Jim Arzigian
(Renais) - M
Heat and transit on 06/29/2013 17:21:44 MDT Print View

Jennifer,
I would not worry about the temperatures in transit, or the time before you pick up your resupply. I've found that without the fat the dried meat stays good for quite a few weeks. I would just dry it as you are, and put it in ziplocks. Have fun on the hike!
Jim

David Poston
(dgposton) - F - M

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Is rinsing ground beef really necessary? on 07/09/2013 08:42:20 MDT Print View

I'm a little confused by some of your posts. When you mention that you are rinsing the ground beef, is that before or after adding seasoning? The concern would be that if you add the seasoning (dry or wet) to the beef and then cook, rinsing afterwards, you are going to lose all that seasoning down the drain. It seems then the only option is to add the seasoning afterwards. But then it's hard to get the seasoning to blend because all the fat is removed. What to do?

Another worry is if you are doing some sort of casserole, how will you drain the fat?

For instance, I was thinking of doing this recipe here:

http://blog.trailcooking.com/2009/03/22/shepherds-pie-for-the-trail/

Sarah, do you have any thoughts on this?

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
beef on 08/01/2013 00:09:02 MDT Print View

I just ate some Chili mac that i made LAST summer(2012) on the wonderland trail a few weeks ago. it looked, smelled and tasted fine and didn't get sick...

For prep I browned it well, rinsed it, chopped it in a food processor and browned it a little more and then added it to the Chili Mac..