Jul 6, 2023
Steak is awesome, and there are so many things you can do with it. Unfortunately, if you’re a fan of this hearty meat, you will need a lot of storage space. And if you love camping, you’ll have to cook it when you get to the campsite. Also, if the power’s out, your meat’s storage life is as long as your freezer’s dying cold temp. Here’s how to freeze dry steak and prepare it several ways, so you have a supply when you don’t have access to meat.
Yes, you most certainly can! Harvest Right brings this technology to your home and makes it simple with just a touch of a button. All you have to do is to prepare the steak, put it inside your freeze dryer, and the machine will take care of it for you.
The Harvest Right freeze dryer comes with a cheat sheet of how to time your freezing and drying time. Or you can go fully automatic by choosing a preset, then let the machine do its work. You don’t have to babysit the food because there are sensors that lets the machine know that your steak’s done freeze-drying.
However, the success of your freeze-drying lies in your choice of meat and your preparation.
When you think about steak, you think about the fat and marbling. Fat makes the steak so juicy and tender and gives so much flavor as it renders and oozes down as it cooks.
Fat, unfortunately, is a problem when it comes to freeze-drying. Fat doesn’t freeze; your freeze dryer can only eliminate frozen moisture. That’s why the best steak to choose for freeze drying is lean like sirloin steaks. Or one that you can easily trim off excess fat.
Fatty cuts like prime rib can work, but they won’t have that long shelf life. Freeze-dried fatty steaks can last longer on room temperature compared to fresh ones, yes. But they won’t last for decades like lean cuts of meat could.
Thick cuts are a no-no when it comes to freeze-drying. Especially if you’re going to freeze dry big slabs of thick, juicy steaks. The reason is your machine can’t penetrate through that wonderful meaty thickness. Instead, you’ll get a partially freeze-dried piece of meat that you’ll still need to put in the freezer to store.
A steak that’s half-inch thick is good for freeze drying. Of course, you can go with 3/4 of an inch thick for a satisfying steak, but no thicker than that.
You can go either way for freeze-drying your meat. Cooked steak freeze-dried gives you the convenience of eating immediately after reconstituting. You don’t need to worry about seasoning or wait for it to marinade and cook.
Raw steak, on the other hand, gives you the flexibility of cooking your meat however you like it. You can cook it with salt and pepper or soak it in a Texan, Asian, or whatever marinade you prefer. Just remember to handle it like you would raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
Also, if you’re going to freeze dry raw and cooked steak simultaneously, use separate trays. For example, put cooked meat in one tray, and raw one in another. This will also make it easy for you to identify which one is raw or not.
If you want to freeze dry cooked steak, you can try doing:
Has an intense flavor and gives your meat a good texture. You can use your grilled steak recipe or choose among the 50 Grilled Steaks recipes here.
Many cooks attest to this because for one simple reason. This process allows the meat to cook in its own juices, so you get meat full of flavor. The surface remains smooth, so you can still sear it on the grill again to get a nice caramelization.
The first step is to remove any visible fat as you can without trimming off too much meat. If you have a thick slab of meat that’s close to an inch or more, you can split it into two to help freeze-dry it better.
Although it’s not necessary or required, pre-freezing before freeze-drying helps shorten the process. The cheat sheet in the Harvest Right freeze dryer says to freeze meat for 7 hours. If you’ve got a batch going, then it’s convenient for you to freeze the meat in your deep freezer until that batch is done.
Got your meat all prepared? Then let’s get freeze-drying!
Depending on how thick your steak is and how much fat it has, freeze-drying can take 37 hours. Others experienced going as far as 40-45 with their meat. Factors that affect length of time include weather, amount of food to freeze dry, fat content of the meat, and thickness.
The steak should be dry, cakey, and has the feel of Styrofoam. Snap the meat in half to check the center because this is where most meats get a problem with freeze-drying. If you don’t want to snap the meat, use a moisture reader to objectively measure moisture content.
If the freeze dried meat feels soft, cool, and a bit moist, put the trays back for an extra dry time.
Reconstituting is kind of a long process. Reconstitute it in a bowl of cold water overnight in the fridge. Use something heavy to keep the steak submerged, but nothing too heavy that you squeeze it down.
For better flavor, you can use cold broth. Or, if you’re going to use a wet marinade, use this instead and add a bit more water, so you brine the freeze-dried steak as it reconstitutes.
Someone also suggested beetroot juice. It said it doesn’t affect the taste but adds color to freeze-dried raw steak. It makes it more appealing when you cook it.
Rehydrated pre-cooked freeze-dried steak isn’t so bad. It’s what you would expect from left-over steak you stocked in the fridge overnight.
For raw freeze-dried steak that’s been rehydrated and grilled, it’s okay. It’s not restaurant quality, but it’s a decent meal, especially when you’re hiking or in a situation. It doesn’t look too appetizing, and the texture’s different. But it’s tender, and the flavor’s there.
If you sous vide a raw freeze-dried steak, you will have a tender meat. But quality-wise, the previous version is way better in comparison.
But with the freeze-dried sous vide steak that you rehydrated and grilled? You’ll have the most tender and moist meat with a lot of flavor.
Stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, your freeze-dried steak can last 10-15 years. Keep your containers in a dark, draft-free room with a temp not higher than 72°F (22 °C).
Freeze-dried steak is one of the most satisfying food you can have. It may not be as great as fresh steak, but it’s a good protein source when you need it the most.
How will you cook your freeze-dried steak? Let us know in the comment section.
Also, we’ve got some freeze-drying videos lined up for uploading so please subscribe to our YouTube Channel.