do you dehydrate your own trail meals? | High Sierra Topix  

do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby gary c. » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:02 pm

I second the pulled pork for dehydrating. We have been having computer problems but I'm going to try to link my recipe for pulled pork. Fat does not dehydrate or keep well so the important thing is to use the leanest cuts you can and trim what fat you can away before dehydrating. I use boneless loin chops. I mix this pork with dehydrated refries 50/50. Add cheese and salsa for some darn good burritos. One correction to the recipe is too skim any fat from the top of the sauce before you return the shredded meat to the sauce. I know the recipe reads kind of strange but it's one that I got from friend and then added some notes of my own without thinking of anyone else reading them but I would know what I meant.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby gary c. » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:22 pm

When rehydrating my shredded pork what I normally do is this. If I want a cups worth to make burritos with I put 1 cup of water in the pot and 1/2cp of the dehydrated pork and light the stove. Once the water and meat come to a boil I add my refries until I get the consistency I want and turn off the heat. Remembering that I can always add more refries if it's too thin.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby sheperd80 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:46 pm

That sounds great im gonna have to try that

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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby fishmonger » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:11 am

gary c. wrote:I second the pulled pork for dehydrating. We have been having computer problems but I'm going to try to link my recipe for pulled pork. Fat does not dehydrate or keep well so the important thing is to use the leanest cuts you can and trim what fat you can away before dehydrating. I use boneless loin chops. I mix this pork with dehydrated refries 50/50. Add cheese and salsa for some darn good burritos. One correction to the recipe is too skim any fat from the top of the sauce before you return the shredded meat to the sauce. I know the recipe reads kind of strange but it's one that I got from friend and then added some notes of my own without thinking of anyone else reading them but I would know what I meant.


I just printed up the recipe and will grab what I need next time I am at the store. Looks really good, and clearly, the slow cooker and the skimming of the fat off the top will make a big difference in how it will dry and rehydrate. I know my son will love this recipe. Will report back after first tests.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby longri » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:18 pm

gary c. wrote:Fat does not dehydrate or keep well so the important thing is to use the leanest cuts you can and trim what fat you can away before dehydrating.

Fat is already dehydrated. In my experience vegetable fat keeps pretty well. Animal fat might be more of a problem.

I would love to try your recipe but I'm not much of a pork fan. I'd rather eat chicken, beef or lamb. Or fish. I didn't even know what "pulled pork" was, despite seeing that term for years. From what I just read it's traditionally a crappy cut of meat that's been slow cooked at low temperature in order to render it tender enough to eat without snapping your head back to swallow it.

I really prefer fish, high quality (fatty) salmon especially. I wonder if fish is harder to dehydrate in a way that is acceptable in terms of texture.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby gary c. » Thu Apr 21, 2016 11:59 pm

longri, I guess it would be better to say that fat does not dehydrate and remains greasy making it more likely to spoil. I have not had any problems but I have read that fat in dehydrated meals will not keep as long and can become rancid. Also one of the reasons that it is recommended to use vegetable oil to wipe down and preserve dutch ovens. In the past when I think a meal needs some fat or oil I add a package of olive oil during rehydrating. As for pulled pork being traditionally made with the cheapest cuts that is true. For my backcountry meals I use the better cuts in an attempt to get the best results I can.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby fishmonger » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:57 pm

so I made a batch of the pulled pork burrito recipe. 18 hours in the crock pot, simmered down to perfect consistency. Loved it fresh, then dehydrated 1000 grams of it. Ran the Excalibur overnight for 13 hours at 155F. The result was 275 grams of crunchy dry non-fat burrito filling. I will test how it reconstitutes soon, having some dehydrated refried beans as consistency filler handy. If this works well, we shall have burrito several times this summer. 2 months to get my logistics ducks in a row...
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby gary c. » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:47 pm

fishmonger, I'm pretty sure that you will like the results. I love the burritos but have found that it goes well with other stuff as well. I really like it mixed in with the better quality rice noodle packages. Not the regular Ramen noodles that most of us buy but the better ones that come with the red chili oil.

As for being so good fresh from the pot I couldn't agree more. After smelling it cook all day everyone in the house is chomping at the bit to get some. I have to make sure they don't clean me out so I have some left to dehydrate.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby fishmonger » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:59 pm

I just made some of the dehydrated pork. hot water, 20 mins soak in fake mountain cozy. 90 grams of burrito mix with 250ml of water plus some dehydrated refried beans to get it to the right consistency. Near perfect, no changes necessary. Packed the rest into a vacuum seal bag for a meal in the mountains. Making more as soon as I can buy the missing supplies. I already have the meat.

The idea to stretch dishes like ramen soup has been around - we used to just add freeze dried chicken and dried veggies, but this may work, too. Around here you can't find anything with "the red chili oil" in it - either $0.15 packs or the "fancy" $0.89 packs. Neither have anything more than a seasoning pack and a sprinkle of tiny dried veggies. No big deal, because our kicked-up $0.89 Ramen have been a staple on previous hikes and we plan on taking a few of those with us again. I'll have to try it with the pork.

I also have to try it with Rousong, also called Ching Yeh Pork Sung - a "cooked dried pork product" you can find in the Asian food isle - looks like super shredded finely stringed pork, almost like the consistency of cotton candy. Probably rehydrates super fast. It is rather high in sodium, but keeps nearly forever without refrigeration. I bought it a year ago but never used it. It appears spoiled when you open the container, which is probably why I never dared to eat it... but it is very nutritious and doesn't even cost very much, plus in a bind, you can eat it as is - it is a very popular snack in its dry form.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby longri » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:03 pm

fishmonger,

Thanks for detailing your experience. I may have to develop a liking for pork.

It's funny, I was just looking at those packages of dried shredded pork in one of the local asian stores on Sunday and wondering if it could possibly be any good for backpacking.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby fishmonger » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:45 am

some related videos I just bumped into on YouTube. These are all with dehydrated hamburger

Some of the video comments are also useful, like on the first one the comment explaining how to best turn hamburger into "gravel" by adding water to the pan



another burrito recipe


And more beef here - I guess I have to try to dry some hamburger, although much of what these video show won't work with our single pot setup. Adding at least one bowl to our cooking gear may be worth it for some of these meals

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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby fishmonger » Tue May 03, 2016 9:48 am

I made another batch of the pulled pork burrito filling. Again, about 18 hours in the crock pot, different beans, more spice than last time, but very much the same meal. Protected most of it from being eaten by the kids, so I was able to dry over 4 pounds (wet) of it, resulting in three pouches that will rehydrate to about 1.5 pounds of delicious tortilla fillings somewhere in the Sierra this July

Some photos from the process after cooking

What it looks like out of the pot. Note box of vinyl gloves - treat the food like you're in a NASA cleanroom after cooking and the chance of it going bad before consumption a few months later is greatly reduced

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Spreading it thinly on the dryer racks (with Teflon sheets, parchment paper will do, too), breaking up the beans for better rehydration

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this is what it looks like after about 14 hours at 155F in the dryer and flipping over once. It probably was good at 12 hours, but I figured it can't hurt to run the drier a little longer. This is very easy to break into much smaller pieces, but it will also break the stringy meat into shorter buts. For better packaging, I choose to really break it up, about 1/4" max size. This stuff is really sharp at the corners, so use quality vac seal bags or double zip locks, because I had several of my no-name food vac bags leak right after sealing, being punctured by sharp corners of the dry pork poking a hole into them.

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Other things to dry while you have the unit out - here I have peppers and mushrooms on the racks, about 5 large red bell peppers and 2 packages of mushrooms. This makes great addition to soup mixes and anything else. Tastes so much better than the tiny morsel stuff you get out of commercial dry pepper or mushroom packages, and costs a fraction. All these peppers shrivel down to about 2 cups full of dry peppers.

Image

and a little off topic - here's one of the meat sources on our hikes - these packages contain 8 links of smoked/dried sausage and they last for months without refrigeration as long as not opened. I made the mistake of repacking some for our last trip and that resulted in spoiled sausage. Cajun is new this year, we usually buy their "original" - I think they do mail order, too, via their web site, but stuff costs twice as much there as here in the local grocery store. Strange business model.
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Does anyone have experience with Harmony House products ? I am about to get some of their freeze dried cheese, but their "backpacking kit" pack of soups and veggies does look like a decent deal. They also have a soup sampler pack, no sugar added freeze dried fruit like mango and papaya, great to add to a mountain breakfast smoothie with some protein shake and milk powder. Beats eating pop tarts every day, although we certainly will have pop tarts or cookies for a lot of our morning meals.
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