Author Topic: Hamburger gravel  (Read 9289 times)

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Hamburger gravel
« on: November 30, 2012, 12:44:22 PM »
Just for the fun of it, I thought I'd offer this little project we did today. There has been some mention of dried meats for trail, and other uses in various threads, so here's a look at drying your own ground meat.

If you are starting with home ground venison, beef or pork, you can eliminate a lot of this prep needed to render out as much fat as possible. But we're going to assume you got your burger from the grocery store, or meat processor and fat was added.

The first step is to crumble the meat into a skillet and cook it down a bit. At this point, just get the burger cooked completely. Blot or pour off as much water/grease as you can. When the meat is thoroughly cooked, transfer it to a colander. Rinse the meat under hot running water to flush as much grease as possible off.  After thoroughly rinsing, let it drain for several minutes, tossing occasionally.
When you get done, you'll have a pot of cooked ground meat with most of the fat removed.



Put the drained meat back into a DRY skillet, and cook some more over medium heat. Stir often to prevent sticking. You should see some more grease/liquid in the bottom of the pan as the meat steams. Keep cooking and stirring 1) until there is no more steam, of 2) the pan becomes dry and no liquids are noticeable.



Transfer again to a bowl lined with paper towels to catch any remaining liquid. Let it cool enough to handle.



 Now you can put it in your dehydrator. I used the fruit roll up trays, but you can line your trays with plastic wrap. The dried meat will be fine and crumbly, so you need something to catch it all. Since the meat is now cooked, process at 130o in your dehydrator until you have "gravel".



That's how I did it. I'll post a follow-up picture of the finished product in a few hours when it's done.

There are some other methods, which I'll mention.

Variation 1:

 
Instead of using the double fry method, if you have a big pressure cooker or pressure canner, put the RAW meat in a metal colander inside a metal bowl on the bottom of the cooker. Process a 10 psi for 90 minutes. The ground meat will be fully cooked, and virtually all the excess moisture/fat forced out into the catch bowl by the pressure. Proceed to drying.

Variation 2:

 
If you don't have a dehydrator, after the second cooking put the meat in a roasting pan. Place it uncovered in a 200o - 250o oven, and stir it every 15 minutes (like you would party mix, or pumpkin seeds) until you have a roaster full of "gravel".

You can put the finished product in freezer bags in the freezer, or you can do as we do and vacuum seal it in Mason jars. The shelf life is up to 4 years in the freezer, and about 1 year vacuum sealed at room temperature.

FWIW.... Any questions, please ask.

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Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 07:14:02 PM »
**raises hand**  I got one.. :)      Do you think I could season with taco seasoning before drying?    Or should I put that in when re-hydrating?

Shucks..got another one ..   What do YOU use this gravel in or for?  I could use some ideas.


WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline JTD

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 07:20:59 PM »
I learned about this from a fellow MT woodsman... Awesome stuff for hiking UL, add some ramen or mexican rice and its a very filling meal. 

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2012, 08:03:37 PM »
**raises hand**  I got one.. :)      Do you think I could season with taco seasoning before drying?    Or should I put that in when re-hydrating?

Shucks..got another one ..   What do YOU use this gravel in or for?  I could use some ideas.


WW.
You can absolutely season the meat while it's doing the first cooking. Taco seasonings work well, however this year we just made up the taco meat and pressured canned it. You can season the meat for chili with your favorite chili powdered ingredients, but don't add anything other than powders.

Our goal this year is to dehydrate about 20 pounds of beef, which will give us about 2 pounds of gravel. We plan on mixing it with dehydrated onions, carrots and potatoes and vacuum sealing the mixture for use as a soup or stew base. Open a jar, rehydrate for 30 minutes, simmer and add a thickener if needed.
Another use is in a trail mix for some real honest-to-goodness meat protein. When you chew up the dried meat, it blends right in with the rest of the granola. The unseasoned, dried meat has virtually no flavor of its own.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2012, 08:04:29 PM »
Works great in 'hamburger helper' type recipes 8)
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2012, 08:30:42 PM »
Works great in 'hamburger helper' type recipes 8)
Oh, yeah! Take a box of something like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, put the noodles in a ziploc, put in the packet of cheese mix (unopened), and throw in a cup of "gravel". When you're ready, add about 1 1/2 times the amount of water that you have mixture, boil until tender, drain and add the cheese.  The whole thing in your pack, less water, weighs less than a pound.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2012, 08:54:27 PM »
Thanks , guys!

I've dehydrated Tuna and canned Salmon before.    I used it up in chowder type soups.  I'd like to do that again too.   I like putting tuna in with mac n cheese. 

WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2012, 11:33:08 PM »
I had to come back and ask you another question. :)     I see up above you say a cup of gravel.. is that your normal measurement for a meal to re-hydrate?   Would that equal to be about a pound of ground beef per recipe?

WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2012, 09:55:38 AM »
I had to come back and ask you another question. :)     I see up above you say a cup of gravel.. is that your normal measurement for a meal to re-hydrate?   Would that equal to be about a pound of ground beef per recipe?

WW.
I had to do some math to really answer your question.
"Cups", etc. are really liquid measures. Weight (mass) has to be oz or pounds. A cup of rice doesn't weigh the same as a cup of sugar, right?
The stuff I processed yesterday turned 5 pounds of beef into 13 oz of dried meat. That means that 2.6 oz of the dried beef = approximately 1 pound of fresh stuff. It just so happens that 2.6 oz of MY dried beef = 1 cup in a liquid measuring cup.
I extracted about 76% of the weight in moisture. Other people may get a different yield, so their weight per cup may vary.  The "about 1 cup" I referenced was just an approximation. I really don't think a couple of tablespoons one way or another would be any big deal if you were trying to equal 1 pound of fresh meat.
Hope that wasn't too confusing.
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Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2012, 05:32:06 PM »
Nope, you didnt confuse me. :)      I found it interesting since when I cook fresh burger for the two of us I use 1/2 lb or less in hotdishes or with a box meal.     I just wanted an idea to work with if I'm using dried burger I'm obviously in dire straights on food supply, so knowing a small handful would do a meal just fine as far as having protien in a meal. :)
  Thanks OP.


WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2012, 05:43:04 PM »
I'm sure the 1 cu to a pound ratio would work for most things. Again, it depends upon how fully the dried meat rehydrates.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline chris97

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2012, 02:27:14 PM »
Can't wait to try it! I've been looking for things to try in our new dehydrator. Please forgive my ignorance, but how do you  vacuum seal in a mason jar?
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2012, 02:39:13 PM »
Can't wait to try it! I've been looking for things to try in our new dehydrator. Please forgive my ignorance, but how do you  vacuum seal in a mason jar?
One of these gadgets. Of course, your vacuum sealer has to have a hose attachment, like the FoodSavers.

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Offline chris97

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2012, 04:00:37 PM »
Thanks for the speedy reply, I'll look for one.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2012, 04:02:40 PM »
Thanks for the speedy reply, I'll look for one.
I stole that advertising picture from Bed, Bath & Beyond on-line. Try Amazon, if you intend to mail order.
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Offline Zig

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2012, 08:30:07 PM »
I do pretty much the same thing to my ground beef when I'm making freezer bag meals. I don't use a second cook. Well... I guess I sorta do since I put the meat back into whatever else I'm cooking (chili, shepherd's pie, etc.). Seasoning is definitely something to try. If dehydrating works with complete meals, it'll definitely work with just the seasoned beef.

One thing to remember when seasoning food that'll be dehydrated is to go heavy on all your herbs and spices. A lot of flavor is lost in the drying process... For example, my chili goes from "holy moly I can't eat this it's too damn hot!" to "where's the hot sauce?" after drying and rehydrating.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2012, 08:33:51 PM »
I do pretty much the same thing to my ground beef when I'm making freezer bag meals. I don't use a second cook. Well... I guess I sorta do since I put the meat back into whatever else I'm cooking (chili, shepherd's pie, etc.). Seasoning is definitely something to try. If dehydrating works with complete meals, it'll definitely work with just the seasoned beef.

One thing to remember when seasoning food that'll be dehydrated is to go heavy on all your herbs and spices. A lot of flavor is lost in the drying process... For example, my chili goes from "holy moly I can't eat this it's too damn hot!" to "where's the hot sauce?" after drying and rehydrating.
Heat is an herb/seasoning's worst enemy. Most of the essential oils are lost. That's why herbs get dehydrated around 80o, while meats and veggies are 130o +.  Loading up on the spices like Zig says is about the only way to compensate for the high temp damage.
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Offline WI_Woodsman

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2013, 07:32:21 PM »
I gotta get a dehydrator!   :P

Offline Professor

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2014, 02:14:18 PM »
Making the freeze-dried hamburger looks pretty easy.  Thanks WT and OP for reminding me of how to dehydrate it.

I have used the "gravel" in meals, and even made a video; but I had bought the hamburger already dehydrated and canned.

I may have to try this now; thanks for the threads.

Here's the video of how I used the hamburger.  I like Ross' recipe, too.  Maybe we can dream up several more and cook them outside...I am getting spring fever really bad today...two days in a row of 40 degrees!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UUs_-dsUIg




Boil 2 cups of water in a skillet or pot; I used my GI mess kit.

Add in 1 cup of small macaroni and 1/2 cup of hamburger gravel.  Cook over coals and low flames until macaroni and beef are soft.

Add in an 8-oz can of tomato sauce and a package of spaghetti sauce mix.

Simmer to reduce liquid to a thick sauce, add water as needed, be careful to stir and not burn.



« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 02:37:46 PM by Professor »
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2014, 03:41:16 PM »
Watched your vid, Professor.....nicel y done! :thumbsup:
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Offline bodhran4me

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2015, 11:11:10 PM »
I have read where adding bread crumbs prior to dehydrating allows for easier, more complete hydration.  Has anybody here tried it?  I have only ever dehydrated leftovers ,  sohave never added breadcrumbs to my recipes.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Hamburger gravel
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2015, 09:06:08 PM »
I have read where adding bread crumbs prior to dehydrating allows for easier, more complete hydration.  Has anybody here tried it?  I have only ever dehydrated leftovers ,  sohave never added breadcrumbs to my recipes.
Never tried it on purpose, but have done a lot of dehydrating. My best guess is that the bread in the mix would rehydrate faster than the cooked meat, and you'd end up with gravel in mush.  I add bread crumbs or oatmeal to hamburger when making meatloaf, but that's just as a binder, and to stretch the volume of meat.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.