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How to Dehydrate Beyond Beef for Backpacking Meals

How to Dehydrate Beyond Beef for Backpacking Meals

If you want to start creating your own dehydrated backpacking meals, you’ll need a few key elements that taste fantastic every time.  You should dehydrate Beyond Beef to level up any backpacking meal you make!  Trust me on this one…if we have a meal with Beyond Beef in it while backpacking, we always make it first.

I’ve thru-hiked on a plant-based diet for over 14 years and my backcountry meals became way more epic when I began to dehydrate Beyond beef.  Gone were the days of choking down mediocre backcountry dinners because they had no flavor!

Seriously, adding this dehydrated Beyond Beef to my thru-hiking dinners makes me want to cook dinner, even after a long day.

Plus, dehydrated Beyond Beef adds a significant amount of protein to your meals which helps your muscles recover after a long hiking day.

Come on into my kitchen where you’ll cook Beyond beef with great seasonings, dehydrate Beyond beef, and vacuum seal it up for your next hike!

What to Know BEFORE You Dehydrate Beyond Beef

Cooking dinner next to the tent on trail in the desert.
Cooking a Dehydrated Dinner on Trail

You will dehydrate Beyond Beef almost exactly the same way as you would dehydrate ground beef.  For once, this process is almost interchangeable with dehydrating meat!

The biggest trick to dehydrating Beyond Beef (or dehydrating ground beef) is adding the breadcrumbs!

✨ This might sound strange, but the breadcrumbs are VITAL. ✨

If you dehydrate the Beyond Beef without breadcrumbs, it will appear fine…until you go to rehydrate it in the backcountry. 

During the rehydration process, the breadcrumbs are what help the dehydrated Beyond Beef actually rehydrate.  Without them, the ground Beyond Beef stays hard and becomes virtually inedible. 

Therefore, dehydrating Beyond beef IS plant-based, but is NOT gluten-free.  If anyone experiments with gluten-free breadcrumbs, tell me how it goes in the comments!

Equipment Needed

You will need some equipment to dehydrate Beyond Beef.  This is the setup that I’ve used to dehydrate everything my partner and I eat on long-distance thru-hikes like our three most recent trails: the Continental Divide Trail, the Grand Enchantment Trail, and the Desert Winter Thru-Hike.

You’ll need:

  • Large frying pan
  • Stirring and spreading spoon
  • Dehydrator*
  • Non-stick drying sheets
  • Vacuum sealer
  • Pint, quart, or gallon-sized vacuum seal bags (depending on how fast you’ll need them)

*If you’re going for production-level dehydrating for a thru-hike, I recommend a dehydrator with at least 5 trays.  This was sufficient for cooking up batches of items for two people over several months.

Dehydrated Beyond Beef Ingredients List

You’ll need to gather a few ingredients for this project.  Keep in mind that you can easily change the spices to your liking or shift them if you’d like different flavors!

These portions are for 3 lbs of dehydrated Beyond Beef and will use all 5 trays of your dehydrator.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb Beyond Beef
  • 1.5 cups Panko*
  • Avocado Oil (minimal)
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Fox Point or Mural of Flavor Penzey’s Seasoning
  • Vegetable Bullion

*Panko is a brand of breadcrumbs made from white bread that’s plant-based.  It is not gluten-free.  If you use other breadcrumbs, be sure to check their ingredients because most contain dairy.

Step by Step Instructions to Dehydrate Beyond Beef

Here is exactly how I dehydrate Beyond Beef which has my partner and me drooling in the backcountry.

My Mom helps significantly with our backpacking food dehydration. If you can get a retired parent to help you, I highly recommend it! 😉

Step 1: Fry the Beyond Beef

Beyond Beef frying in a skillet on the stove.
Frying Up Beyond Beef

You’ll start by coating your large fry pan with a *light* coat of avocado oil.  This is simply to prevent your Beyond Beef from sticking to the pan…don’t go nuts here.

Drop in 1 pound of dehydrated beef and use your stirring utensil to break it up into smaller pieces as you fry it.  Smaller pieces dehydrate and rehydrate better.  If you can, try and make your small pieces roughly uniform size.

Step 2: Add seasonings, Bouillon, and Breadcrumbs

Better than Bouillon, Fox Point Seasoning, Salt, and Pepper.
Spices and Bouillon

Once you have it broken up, add in your seasonings and bouillon to taste.  I often use about a tablespoon of Beyond Bouillon, a little seasoned salt (careful here because most bouillons have a lot of salt), ground black pepper, and some hefty shakes of Fox Point or Mural of Flavor.

If you don’t have any Penzey’s Seasonings, you can sub in any number of other spice combos you like.  Basil and Oregano work well with pasta or garlic and onion powder works well with Chinese food-themed meals and most other flavors.

After you mix in the spices, but before the Beyond Beef is fully cooked, add in ½ cup of Panko. 

Your Beyond Beef is ready when you can’t see the panko anymore and the Beyond Beef has shifted color from red-ish to brown. 

Step 3: Repeat for all 3 lbs and Let it Cool to Room Temperature

Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make all 3 lbs. 

If you’re going to do a lot of hiking, it really is worth it to dehydrate Beyond Beef in 3 lb segments!

Step 4: Spread Cooked Beyond Beef onto Silicone Dehydration Trays

When you dehydrate beyond beef, you need to spread it out over the whole tray.
Spread Out for Dehydration

Once you’ve cooked all 3 lbs of Beyond Beef, spread it over 5 dehydrator trays with non-stick sheets. 

The non-stick sheets are key in case a few of your pieces are small.  Trust me…you don’t want them falling through the grate to the bottom.

Make sure to make each tray have an even amount of Beyond Beef.  Also, spread it out as much as possible to give the pieces space.

Note: the Panko did not mix in as well in the photo above because we added it later than normal. It still rehydrated just fine in the backcountry, but mind when you put it in while cooking it!

Step 5: Dehydrate (*Don’t Forget to Break Apart & Rotate Halfway Through)

Putting the beyond beef into the dehydrator.
Going into the Dehydrator

To dehydrate Beyond Beef, you’ll place your five trays into the dehydrator at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 hours.

HOWEVER, halfway through, open the dehydrator to:

  • Rotate each tray 180 degrees
  • Switch the tray positions (move upper ones toward the middle, bottom to the top, middle to the bottom, etc.)
  • Break up any larger chunks so they dehydrate in the middle

Step 6: Let Beyond Beef Cool to Room Temperature

After 6 hours, you can turn off the dehydrator and pull the trays out.  Let all of your dehydrated Beyond Beef come to room temperature.

This may take an hour or more depending on your house temperature.

Step 7: Vacuum Seal for Later Meal Distribution

A table full of dehydrated backpacking meals.

Lastly, you’ll want to preserve your dehydrated Beyond Beef by properly storing it. 

How long will your dehydrated Beyond Beef last?  This depends on how you store it.  Vacuum sealed, your dehydrated Beyond Beef can last at least a year to a year and a half.

Personally, I like to double bag it into two one-gallon size Ziplock bags.  Then, as I make meals out of all the individual elements, I vacuum seal them into 2-person dehydrated backpacking meals to eat on trail.

I’ve found this method to work fantastically if I’m going to make the meals within 2 months of the initial dehydration. 

If I’m not going to make it into meals in the near future (2+ months), I vacuum seal larger amounts together until I distribute them into backpacking portions.

How to Add Beyond Beef to your Plant-Based Backpacking Meals

Woman holding 3 lbs of dehydrated beyond beef in a ziplock bag.
3 lbs of Dehydrated Beyond Beef

Hands down, if you dehydrate Beyond Beef, it will make your backpacking meals better.

The flavor and the protein content are STELLAR for thru-hikers on a plant-based diet. 

You’ll want to pair this with a flavored dehydrated rice and some vegetables.  Some of my favorites include pairing it with dehydrated Spanish Rice as well as making Chinese-inspired meals. 

Dehydrated Beyond Beef literally goes well with almost anything. 

Lost on the portions? Head over to my post about how we create homemade two-person dehydrated backpacking meals and get some inspiration!

Final Thoughts

If you’re tired of paying for the same dehydrated, overpriced backpacking meals, try making some of your own.

If you dehydrate Beyond Beef, it will elevate your life on trail with good nutrition AND make it taste better. 

Just don’t forget to add the Panko!

I know we look forward to every meal that we add it to!