Creating your own dehydrated meals is a great way to use wild game while pursuing wild game. Though it might sounds intimidating, it’s actually pretty easy—as well as superior to a lot of store-bought offerings. This recipe brings a lot more flavor than you would expect from a backpacking meal. It can be eaten right out of the pot or scooped on a tortilla and rolled into a burrito.
- 1 lb. 100% ground venison, no fat added
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp. cumin
- 3/4 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
- 10 oz. can of Rotel tomatoes
- 1 cup instant rice, divided
- 2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules (optional)
- Oxygen absorbers
- Resealable Mylar or Ziplock bags
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- Before cooking, prep all of the ingredients. Chop the onion and bell pepper into small pieces for easy re-hydration. Pat the meat very dry with paper towels. Blend the salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, garlic, and sugar in a small bowl. Set up the dehydrator by laying parchment paper on top of the racks so food doesn’t fall through.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, but don’t put any oil in the pan. Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until soft. Remove.
- Increase the heat and add the venison in a single layer. Cook for a few minutes to brown on one side, then flip. Continue for another few minutes, then start to break up the venison into small pieces. Add the breadcrumbs and stir until combined.
- Return the onions to the pan and add the spices, cilantro, and can of Rotel tomatoes. Mix thoroughly and remove from the heat.
- Pour the meat mixture evenly across the dehydrator trays. Spread it out in a thin layer so that it dehydrates evenly. Set the temperature to 140 degrees and dry for 4 to 6 hours. About halfway through, flip the food. If your dehydrator employs a stacking system, you will have to rotate the trays every couple of hours for even heat distribution. The meat should be thoroughly dehydrated, enough to break in half.
- Divide the dried food evenly into two or four Mylar bags. Add the rice and bouillon to the bags. If you divided that food into two bags, place 1/2 cup of rice in each bag, plus 1 tsp. of bouillon. If you divided into four bags, place 1/4 cup of rice in each bag, plus 1/2 tsp. of bouillon. Drop an oxygen absorber into each bag and remove as much air as you can.
- When ready to cook, remove the oxygen absorber and add roughly 1 3/4 cups of boiling water (12 to 14 ounces) to each half-sized portion bag. If using the quarter portions, add about 3/4 of a cup (6 to 7 ounces). Stir well, seal, and let the food hydrate for 15-20 minutes before eating.
Note: Mylar bags are food storage bags that can you can use to cook dehydrated foods. They’re convenient because you can pour boiling water in and eat right out of the bag. If you’re unable to get them, you can make the recipe and store it in a Ziplock bag. When ready to cook, you’ll need to boil water in a camp cooking pot that is big enough to hold all of the food. Once it reaches a boil, turn the burner off, stir in the dried food, and cover with a lid. Let the food rehydrate for 15-20 minutes before eating.