Whether you’re planning to go on a vacation or hosting a party, you don’t have to bring a cooker with your dehydrated food. Dehydrating your chicken is an excellent alternative to enjoy a healthy meal. When outside, you’ll only need a water source to prepare your dry chicken.
How to Dehydrate Chicken
If you’re planning to dehydrate chicken and don’t know the proper steps, you can take help from this guide for a better understanding. With these five easy steps, you can dehydrate chicken and store it for future use. Let’s dive into the steps right away!
What Do You Need?
When it comes to dehydrating chicken, you’ll need the following items.
You can use canned or fresh chicken to add flavor when dehydrating chicken. It’s better to opt for the breast part of the chicken other than thigh or wing. Since dark meat contains more fat, it can spoil faster than white meat. Thus, the chicken breast is perfect for dehydrating purposes.
2. Meat Flavorings
Choosing the basics, such as salt and pepper, is always the best idea. You can even add herbs or spices or any other kinds of flavorings you prefer. Dressing raw meat with meat flavorings can intensify its taste and make up for a delicious brine.
A dehydrator is a perfect equipment to get the best results. But if you don’t have a dehydrator, you can switch to an oven. The results may vary slightly from a regular dehydrator. However, you can get a similar experience as it’s a better alternative.
4. Baking Pan and Electric Fan
You’ll need a baking pan if you’re using an oven to avoid any inconveniences. An electric fan will provide a better airflow if you’re not using a dehydrator.
5. Pressure Cooker
For best results, you can use a pressure cooker before dehydrating chicken. It’s optional and isn’t a mandatory part of the recipe. But cooking chicken lightly on the pressure cooker can expedite the whole process.
6. Cutting Board and Knife
You’ll have to place the chicken on the cutting board to make clean chicken pieces. Get a sharp knife and wear gloves while cutting the chicken to ensure safety.
7. An Air-Tight Container
Once you’ve managed to dehydrate chicken, you’ll require an air-tight container or a vacuum sealer to store your chicken.
Steps to Dehydrate Chicken
Now, you know the list of ingredients and essentials for the dehydration process. Once you’ve gathered them, you can follow these steps to dehydrate the chicken.
Step 1- Make Thin Chicken Strips
The first step is to separate all the skin and fat away from the chicken. It will prevent the chicken from spoiling faster and preserve its taste. Then, you can use a sharp knife to create thin chicken strips or cut the meat into small pieces. If you’re choosing to create thin strips, try cutting them about ¼ inches thick. For chicken cubes, try cutting them into 1-inch cubes.
Pro tip: Use a partially frozen chicken to cut down the chicken into thinner strips quickly.
Step 2- Season the Chicken
If you’re using raw chicken meat or raw chicken drumstick, it’s better to season your chicken first. This is optional if you want plain chicken or have other plans or recipes in mind for your dehydrated chicken. You can use herbs to dry run your chicken. Another step is to prepare a brine by mixing all the flavors and leaving the chicken for one day for flavor-soaking. Ensure not to overdo it. You can also try a chicken jerky recipe before dehydrating chicken.
Step 3- Use the Pressure Cooker (Optional)
Although this step is optional, it can create a vast difference when sealing all the flavors for the chicken. Using a pressure cooker will help you cook half of your chicken before dehydrating it. This way, you can save tons of your time and will not have to worry about under-cooking it. For this, you’ll have to put the chicken inside a pressure cooker for about 8 to 12 minutes. You can also use a regular pan instead of a pressure cooker. However, don’t forget to seal the top with a lid.
Step 4- Time to Dehydrate Chicken
If you’ve followed all the steps above, it’s time to put the chicken inside a dehydrator for further processing. This step requires you to lay the chicken strips on the tray evenly. Depending on the dehydrator, set the temperature between 125°F to 155°F. Then, follow proper instructions to get effective results. Remember, the time require to dehydrate chicken depends on the equipment, and it can take around 6 to 16 hours.
Pro tip: If you’re planning to go for a vacation or trip, schedule the process keeping the time limit in mind.
Step 5- Use an Oven (Alternative)
If you don’t use a dehydrator and aren’t planning to buy it anytime soon, you can use an oven to dehydrate chicken. For this, you have to cut the chicken into pieces and place them on a pan. If you’ve brined it, you can use paper towels to pat dry it. After that, set the temperature of your oven to the lowest possible setting between 122°F to 275°F. Make sure to slightly open your oven door and place a fan in front of the door for air circulation. To prevent over-browning, monitor the whole process every 30 minutes. Remember, it can take around 4 to 5 hours to dehydrate it completely.
How to Contain or Store Dehydrated Chicken?
After dehydrating chicken, the main concern is to store it for future use. If you have an air-tight container or a vacuum sealer at home, you can use them to place the chicken strips for a longer time. If you’re planning a trip in future, you can use your dehydrated chicken for emergency purposes. It can last for around 1 to 2 months. However, keep it at room temperature or in your fridge to preserve its freshness. For packing, you can use zipper bags to carry your dehydrated chicken along with you when going for a camping trip.
Now, you know these magical five steps to dehydrate chicken quickly. Investing in a good dehydrator can work wonders for you as it can help in dehydrating various foods. However, if you have a limited budget, you can always use an oven and follow the above mentioned steps.