Friday, January 20, 2012

Cheap, Lightweight Backpacking Food Part 5-Mixing it Up

As you might have seen from my other posts on food, I like dehydrated food. It is light weight, it last a long time, and if done right, is very cheap. In particular, in Part 4, I talked about dehydrating your own meat.

Here I decided to do it with ground beef. I find that it is the easiest meat to add to your food due to the fact that it crumbles into small pieces, it is easier to dehydrate, and easier to cook/re-hydrate.

To start out, buy a pound of ground beef. Try to get it as lean as possible. Fat will not dehydrate.


Put it in a frying pan without any oil, and cook it.


When done, drain all the liquid that has been released by the meat, and rinse it with hot water.


Just like before, place it in the dehydrator. Wince the pieces of meat are small, you may have to place some paper towels on the dehydrator to keep them from falling through.


After a few hours, the meat should be dry. It will crumble between your fingers, and with some pressure you should be able to grind it into dust. If it is too wet to do that, leave it in the dehydrator for a bit longer.


Now, take a box of rice and beans. The one I am using here is Zatarain’s. I like Goya as well, but any brand will do.


I like to divide the box into two parts. I find the whole box to be too much food.


Mix in about three tablespoons of the dried meat, and you should have a very good recipe for the woods. Keep in mind that the rice has more calories that the meat. If you want more calorie dense food, you should keep a higher rice percentage.


To cook it, put two cups of water in the pot (or as many as the directions on the box indicate). I find that the meat does not require that much water to re-hydrate. Half a cup more than what is required by the rice should be enough.

Place the contents of the mix in the pot, and put it on the flame. Keep it boiling until the water is absorbed by the rice. It usually takes about ten (10) minutes after the water starts to boil.


I usually remove the pot from the flames when there is still a bit of unabsorbed water in the pot. I find that this keeps the rice from sticking. Leaving it to cool will give the rice a chance to absorb the rest of the water.

This is one of the best cheap, lightweight foods I have been able to find. It tastes good, and does not require any complex cooking. The amount of ground beef you see above was enough for five (5) portions, bringing the cost per portion (including the rice and beans) to less than $2.50 per meal. The total weight of each packet, stored in a ziploc bag is about 4.8 oz, and contains about 400 calories.

1 comment:

  1. Cool! Never would have thought of that. Those of us that hunt could use venison as well.