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For freeze dried ground burger, we use venison or elk. This is because of a couple reasons:
- Lean. This is as lean as you can get. Game meat is leaner than the 93/7 lean meat they sell in the store. In fact, some times, I have to add fats to the meat that I use because it’s too lean to do much with, like make meatloaf, meatballs, etc. Lean is good for the freeze dryer. Less fat is better product to avoid anything possibly going rancid later.
- Organic. Yeah, there’s nothing more organic than the way we get our meat. My husband hunts them down, not on a ranch or anything else. Not guided hunts. He does his own. He takes the boys out and they hike and sit in the snow and cold and sometimes rain. They earn every ounce of that meat and we’re grateful for it.
- Controlled butchering. We butcher our own meat and package it. We double wrap it and stack it in 1 to 1.5 lb packages. My husband and his family prefer 1 lb packages, and I used to. Lately, though, I prefer larger packets because I do have a large family to feed and it takes less butcher paper to wrap a two-pound packet in one versus two packets of one-pound burger. We also know what is in the product, as well. There is no extra bone, ligament, or other unidentified body parts.
- This is what we eat. We want to be able to keep our food good over a long period of time, so we freeze dry the food that we store or want to store. Freeze drying our the meat we get is a great way to extend the life of the meat we take.
In this specific post, we’re going to talk about how to freeze dry ground burger.
No matter what kind of meat you buy, you can get it leaner than what you have in the package. We like to cook all meat that we freeze dry. Not everyone feels this way. But here are some arguments why this is what we prefer.
- If we do pork chops, pork sausage, bear sausage, antelope, hot dogs, burger that is not as lean as we can get, or something else that is a little bit higher in fat than we’d want to freeze dry, we cook the product to get the most fat out of the meat that we can.
- Food storage has multiple uses. Most of the time you need a freeze dried food because the power went out, you had to flee or evacuate fast, you’re going hunting/camping/hiking, the end of the world has come and you’re just trying to survive. In most of these situations, efficiency is the name of the game. If you can work with a meat that is already cooked, it takes more than half of the energy needed to prepare your dish. With freeze dried meat, you can reconstitute it with the juices of the other foods you’re cooking it with like a sauce in spaghetti, or the vegetable juices in a casserole.
- Pre-cooked can also get rid of the majority of the bacteria that might be in uncooked meat. Freeze drying doesn’t kill contagions, but if you get food prepared as well as you can, you can help stop the breakdown process of the food that you’re trying to stop.
- As with chicken and burger and steak pieces, sometimes you need to eat freeze dried meat straight out of the bag. Nothing wrong with that! Just another way to get meat more efficiency when you’re trying to get nutrients fast. PS. This is why a lot of our meat is pre-seasoned with salts and seasonings and clearly labeled.
So we cook our burger and rinse it with cool water when we’re finished. We rinse it because game meat can sometimes have a gamey taste to it. This tends to rinse the majority of that flavor out of the meat.
There are different ways to prepare the meat
When we prepare the meat for freeze drying, we sometimes add things to it like cooked, chopped onions as pictured below, or chopped peppers, or even seasonings like taco, Italian, or BBQ (not the sauce).
To make sure the meat gets fully dry, in our medium freeze dryer with four trays we do 1 1/2 lbs of ground burger in each tray.
When we put them in, I select Start, non-liquid, not frozen (even if pre-frozen). Ground burger seems to take about 24 hours from start to finish. This can take longer, if I add more meat or use a meat that isn’t as lean. Again, check it by testing the product with the back of your hand and feeling for a cooler temperature than the tray it’s on.
I usually line my trays with parchment paper. I’m torn on the necessity of lining the trays at all with ground burger since I use a spatula to unload the trays. I think either way is as effective as the other. I’ll probably stop using parchment paper simply because, if it’s not necessary, then why waste the paper?
You can see how the meat is lighter with water in the meat.
The coloring gets darker the more it dries. I think that’s a pretty color to package the freeze dried ground burger in. This would look nice in a Mason jar or something else, if you want to store it that way.
Here are some ideas for dishes I would make with a package of cooked freeze dried ground burger:
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Chili con carne
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Sloppy Joe’s
- Vegetable beef soup
- Meat pies
- Pot pies
- Loose meat burger/sandwich
There are even more you can use them for. Do you have any favorites?