How To Dehydrate Chicken: Tips And Methods
Hikers and backpackers frequently bring dehydrated foods on their adventures in the wild because of the low weight and mass of dehydrated foods. Dehydration allows food preservation by getting rid of the moisture in it.
The food environment isn’t conducive for the bacterial growth when moisture is eliminated. Vegetables, fruits, and meats can be dehydrated and don’t need refrigeration. Chicken meat can be seasoned as wanted and dehydrated in jerky or dried form. Having chicken as part of your outdoor meal would make a huge difference.
In this post, we will teach you how to dehydrate chicken. While there may be several ways to dehydrate chicken, we want to keep things simple by focusing on the basics while giving you a couple of other unique options at the same time.
So keep reading!
Materials And Procedures
Things You'll Need
I know you’re excited to try dehydrating your chicken. But before we can get into the fun side of things, you must fist have all the necessary materials. You will need the following:
- Meat thermometer
- Paper towel
- Flat baking pan
- Airtight container
You can find more information the different materials needed to rehydrate chicken.
Dehydrating Chicken Is Not Like What You May Think
Dehydrating chicken that rehydrates well isn’t as dried and cut as you may think. I’ve tried poaching, baking, grilling and frying it, the result is the same - tough dried chicken!
During my search to find a method to dry chicken that’d retain its tenderness on the trail, I placed some canned chicken within the dehydrator and it solved my problem. Canned chicken rehydrates rather well in meals.
The distinction has something to do with the pressure-cooking of canned chicken inside the can through a process known as retort cooking. I’ve dried various brands such as Tyson, Hormel, Target, and Swanson.They’ll turn out rather tender when rehydrated.
Also, you can rehydrate a few brands of pouched chicken which is pressure cooked as well. The pouched chicken turned up tenderer than the home-cooked chicken, yet was a bit chewier than the canned one.
How To Rehydrate Chicken (The Steps and Methods)
Step By Step Process
This section will show you a step by step process of rehydration chicken along with other methods that people may not be commonly familiar with.
- Step 1: Cook the chicken as desires until the temperature inside reaches 165° Fahrenheit.
- Step 2: Cut the chicken into a quarter-inch- thick cubes or strips. Remove any chicken fat and discard.
- Step 3: Season or marinate the chicken as desired. Refrigerate the chicken for an hour or two.
- Step 4: Blot the chicken using a paper towel until it’s completely dry. Put the chicken in a flat or shallow baking pan. Don’t let the chicken pieces touch each other.
- Step 5: Dehydrate the chicken in your oven or in a dehydrator. Follow the guidelines on the dehydrator and ensure that the chicken reaches a 140°F internal temperature. For oven dehydration, heat the oven to 275°F and cook until your chicken reaches a 160°F internal temperature. Leave the oven door open a few inches. Put a fan in front of the door for dry air circulation.
- Step 6: Monitor the chicken for every thirty minutes. Turn and flip the chicken cubes or strips occasionally if you’re using the oven. The cooking time could range from 4 to 5 hours, depending on the method you use for cooking. Dehydrated chicken must be dry, not brittle or flaky.
- Step 7: Let the chicken cool completely. Store and package it in an airtight bag or container. Add warm chicken broth or water to the dehydrated chicken once you’re ready to eat.
Consume the unrefrigerated dehydrated chicken in two weeks from the drying process to make sure that the chicken is bacteria free. Freeze or refrigerate the dehydrated chicken for storage life extension.
Pressure Cooking Chicken For Dehydration
If you have a pressure cooker or is just interested pressure cooking your chicken for drying, I’ve developed a recipe and method that tastes great and is equivalent to canned chicken in tenderness.
Drying Chicken From Pouch Or Can
- Drain the liquid from can. If fat is sticking to the chicken, then rinse away under warm or hot water
- Pull chunks separately into small pieces and spread out on the dehydrator tray
- Dry at 145° for around eight hours
- When dry, a 12.5-oz can produces a little less than one cup and will weigh around 2 oz
- Refrigerate the dehydrated chicken until you’re ready to pack for a trip or use it
Canned chicken isn’t widely available outside U.S. – something I learned when I went searching for it in Switzerland. If you cannot find it, then there are two other techniques - buying broasted chicken or steam cooking.
Dried Chicken Recipes And Tips
- 1. Substitute chicken for ham ground or beef in any of the recipes to include variety to the backpacking menu.
- 2. Chicken goes well with vegetables and rice in backpacking meals.
To add more flavor, pre-cook the rice in chicken broth before dehydrating it.
For an Asian flair, include a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce to the pre-cooked rice before drying it.
There are other methods of dehydrating chicken that many may not be familiar of and we will cover it in the next sections of this post, so keep reading...
Dehydrating Steamed Chicken
- Purchase a large chicken, but not extra-large, you don’t want a fatty bird
- Trim and skin the fat
- Cut in half and steam for an hour until they fall apart
- Remove the bones and pull the meat apart into smaller pieces
- Hit with seasoning a little soy sauce or salt
- Dehydrate at 145° to 155° until dry
- Yield: 15 to 20 cup portions for just the price of two cans!
Broasted Chicken Dehydration (Store and Restaurant)
Broasting is just like pressure cooking but with oil. Famous restaurants like KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) cook their chicken in this manner. Don’t cook with oil in your home pressure cooker though. Since the meat is pressure cooked, much less oil goes into the meat unlike open frying.
Thigh meat has almost twice as much fat as breasts, so it’s less wanted for long-term storage.
Pressure Cooking Chicken
Pressure cooking chicken lets you tenderize and fill the meat with aromatic herbs and ingredients.
If you’re dehydrating food for your next trip, then chicken should be on top of your menu. As we have seen in the procedures in this post, dehydrating chicken is not a difficult thing to do as what most people think.
While dehydrated chicken can be so expensive if you buy them in the grocery store, you can always make one for yourself and have a healthier and more delicious camping meal.