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How To Tell When Ground Beef Jerky Is Done? Best Tips

Ground beef jerky is a special type of ground beef that has been dried and can be eaten as a snack. Ground beef jerky has become popular among many people due to its consistent tenderness compared to whole-muscle jerky.

Other ground beef jerky advantages include being easy to chew and make. Additionally, it has one of the best meat flavors you never want to miss. So, if you’re looking for a breakfast snack with enough protein, I recommend you include ground beef jerky in your diet.

How To Tell When Ground Beef Jerky Is Done?

If the ground beef jerky shows a dry, leathery appearance, it is done and is ready for consumption. The jerky should easily bend under a bit of pressure when well-cooked and not crack or tear. If it tears or breaks, it was left in the heat for too long, thus deteriorating texture. On the other hand, if not fully dehydrated, a slight bend at an angle of about 90° will show moisture squeezing out. If you notice vapor, put it back into the dehydrator and let it continue to lose the excess water.

How To Tell When Ground Beef Jerky Is Done?
How To Tell When Ground Beef Jerky Is Done?

How Long Does It Take to Dehydrate Ground Beef Jerky?

How long it takes to dehydrate ground beef jerky depends on several things.

  1. Cooking Equipment: The equipment you are using for the dehydration process. If using an Excalibur Dehydrator, it would take you about four hours. If using an oven, the time could vary from about four hours to six hours.
  2. Temperatures: The time taken will also depend on the heat applied. The average heat temperatures are about 160°F, which would take you approximately 3 to 4 hours to have your ground beef jerky dehydrated. If the heat is increased, that could take shorter. However, it could overcook the jerky. On the other hand, if the temperatures are too low, it could take too long and ruin the texture and taste of the jerky.
  3. Size: The size of your jerky will also impact the time taken to dehydrate it completely. The right size of a ground beef jerky is about 1/8 of an inch. If too thin, it could overcook and get ruined. On the other hand, if too thick, it could get undercooked on the inside.
It may take anywhere from 4-6 hours to dehydrate ground beef jerky in an oven.
It may take anywhere from 4-6 hours to dehydrate ground beef jerky in an oven.

Why is My Ground Beef Jerky Tough When Chewing?

Although the dehydration process makes the meat dry, it shouldn’t be crunchy when chewing. If your jerky is crunchy when chewing, something must have gone wrong during its preparation. Here are the common reasons your ground beef jerky could be crunchy.

  • Using the Wrong Meat: The best parts of a cow to make jerky include sirloin, short loin, bottom and top round, and flank. The worst parts are ribs, shank, tenderloin, chunk, and skirt. Most meats are considered the worst because they are fatty, boney, or have muscles that harden the meat when dried.
  • Improper Slicing: If you slice the ground beef jerky into very slim slices, there are higher chances that they will overcook, becoming harder, thus toughening when chewed. Again, too huge pieces mean the inside of the jerky will not be properly cooked, which hardens the meat.
  • Overcooking: When overcooked, the jerky hardens and crumbles as you eat it. Chewing becomes difficult.
  • Smoking at High Temperatures: Smoking at high temperatures will dry the meat too fast and could lead to the toughening of its surface, thus making it crunchy.
If your jerky is too tough, it could be because of the cut of the meat, improper slicing, overcooking and smoking at too high a temperature.
If your jerky is too tough, it could be because of the cut of the meat, improper slicing, overcooking and smoking at too high a temperature.

Can I Fix a Crispy Jerky?

If the jerky is too crispy, you don’t have to throw it away. There is something you can do to try and rehydrate it. However, it will not have the same taste as it would have been if appropriately cooked in the first place.

To rehydrate the meat, lightly brush a liquid on the jerky. The most common liquids used for this purpose include Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth, liquid smoke, water, vegetable soup, or soy sauce. All these works perfectly well, and you can choose one based on your preference.

You can rehydrate too dry ground beef jerky by brushing a liquid like Worcestershire sauce.
You can rehydrate too dry ground beef jerky by brushing a liquid like Worcestershire sauce.

Is Ground Beef Jerky Healthy?

Ground beef jerky is one of the healthy snacks you can have in a day. That’s because it has several benefits to your health. For a start, ground beef jerky is seen as one that could assist in weight loss.

Again, it is a decent ingredient to include in your diet as it has low calories and is rich in vitamins. Other benefits include high protein levels and various beneficial minerals, including choline, zinc, and iron. As such, ground beef jerky is a snack, you shouldn’t miss.

Beef jerky can be a healthy snack.
Beef jerky can be a healthy snack.

If Ground Beef Jerky Isn’t Well Dehydrated, Is It a Health Risk?

Ground beef jerky is healthy and safe when properly dehydrated. However, if not, it would provide a suitable environment for the growth and multiplication of bacteria, which means a potential health hazard to anyone who eats it. Some key symptoms one could show from eating raw ground beef include;

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea, and
  • Headaches

How Can I Tell Ground Beef Jerky Has Spoilt?

If the ground beef jerky has gone bad, it will change in color and get darker. Again, it will also change in texture, becoming harder than before.

Besides the change in color and texture, spoilt ground beef jerky will also have a slight terrible odor and may have a sour taste.

Frequently Asked Questions to How To Tell When Ground Beef Jerky Is Done?

How Can I Tell Ground Beef Jerky Is Done?

It is done if the ground beef jerky has a dry, leathery look and does not produce moisture when lifted. However, be sure not to overcook.

At What Temperatures Should I Dehydrate Ground Beef Jerky in An Oven?

The most common temperature for dehydrating ground beef jerky in an oven is 160°F. You should dehydrate the jerky for approximately 4 to 6 hours.

If Ground Beef Jerky Becomes Crunchy, Should I Throw it Away?

You shouldn’t throw away the jerky just because it is crunchy. By brushing the jerky with water, soup, or sauce, you can rehydrate it, and it’s safe to eat.

Conclusion to How to Tell When Ground Beef Jerky Is Done?

It is easy to tell when ground beef jerky is done. If it is dry and leathery in appearance and is a bit elastic or bends under slight pressure, it is done. If it breaks when you bend it, it means it has been left on for too long, and if moisture leaks out, it means it still needs to dehydrate for a bit longer.