How to Soften Jerky After It Dried Out

Written by sam grainger
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How to Soften Jerky After It Dried Out
Reviving Jerky (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Jerky is a popular and easily portable dried, flavoured meat. But there is the dryness we expect of jerky and then there are times where it has lost too much moisture to be appetizing. This can happen if you are making your own jerky and dehydrate it for too long, or if the jerky is not kept in an airtight container. However, there are strategies for bringing your jerky back to form. The specific method you chose depends on how quickly you need the softened jerky, and what you are planning to do with it once it is softened.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Jerky
  • Microwave
  • Liquid (soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, water or a combination)
  • Pastry brush
  • Butter
  • Frying pan
  • Airtight container
  • Vegetable (carrot or celery)

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  1. 1

    Microwave jerky for five seconds at a time until pliable. This is the quickest method, but also the riskiest. If the jerky cooks too long it will burn. Jerky softened by this method will not stay soft for long so eat right away.

  2. 2

    Brush a little soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, water, or a mixture of these on the jerky and let it sit for an hour. Worcestershire and soy are the classic liquid flavours used in making jerky, so they are well-suited to softening it without diluting flavour.

  3. 3

    Sauté jerky if you are going to cook with it. Sauté four ounces of finely chopped beef jerky in butter for a few minutes to soften. To completely rehydrate jerky for cooking, you can soak it in water for an hour.

  4. 4

    Place the jerky in an airtight container with a moist vegetable such as a carrot or a stick of celery overnight. Just as a slice of bread softens brown sugar by transferring its moisture slowly, the vegetable will help soften the jerky. This is a slow method, but it is easy and safe.

Tips and warnings

  • Before microwaving the jerky, you could try laying a damp paper towel on top to further moisten it. However, make sure the towel is damp all over to prevent burning.

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