How To Soften Beef Jerky? Simple Ways To Enjoy Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a lightweight snack with rich nutrition for a long hike. It is savory like deli meat and chewy to the taste with a high source of protein that can boost your energy with just a few bites during a short break. Or if you are a hobo, beef jerky is a best friend ever on your way to discovering the world.

Beef jerky will be served with the best taste when was bought at the store, but you want to make a DIY piece at home. Sometimes, beef jerky can be too chewy and dry to enjoy. So, can you rehydrate beef jerky and how to soften beef jerky?

Let’s find out the answer below!

Why Is Beef Jerky Too Dry?

How To Soften Beef Jerky

It might take some practice to make the perfect chewy beef jerky. You can refer to a lot of video sources teaching how to cook this dish on the internet. Here is a great video demonstrating a good beef jerky cooking process you can consider.

For a jerky-making beginner, it can be difficult to know whether the jerky is done or not. Many people tend to make certain mistakes while cooking jerky.

When making beef jerky, timing is an important element leading to good beef jerky. If you pull the raw meat out while dehydrating sooner than expected, the beef will be too moist, leading to spoilage.

On the contrary, if you leave it in the dehydration process for too long, the beef jerky will become too dry and chewy.

Another reason for making beef jerky too dry is excessive heat. The FDA recommends heating beef jerky to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too high, you might risk dehydrating your beef, making it too chewy.

When making beef jerky, you must maintain a space for each slice of beef jerky. Sometimes, we can have certain pieces overlapping on each other to leave enough space for pounds of meat. However, these slices also need enough air to circulate and dry them properly and evenly.

Leaving them overlapping on each other might increase the chance of having dehydrated beef jerky.

How To Soften Beef Jerky?

Whether you’re preparing for a hiking trip or a family hangout, dry jerky is always an easy and delicious snack to enjoy. A good jerky should have a decent dryness and moisture that gives you a slightly chewy texture.

Often over time, similar to hard sugar, beef jerky can lose its moisture content and become tough. Maybe you have over dehydrated it, or the jerky is exposed to the physical forces instead of staying in a container.

No matter what happens, there is always a way to resolve your beef jerky problem. So, can you rehydrate jerky and how to make beef jerky soft again? Here are how to make beef jerky softer:

Microwaving Beef Jerky

Microwaving beef jerky

Microwaving is such an easy way to reheat frozen foods like dry tamales. It can also be a great method for rehydrating jerky.

How to rehydrate jerky:

  1. Use a microwave-safe bowl to contain the beef jerky.
  2. After that, you can put on a lid loosely to cover the bowl. Take out a glass of water and put them all together inside the microwave. Turn the microwave on for one minute.
  3. Then, take another bowl of water and put it inside with the jerky. You can flick water onto the beef or wet them with a paper towel instead of a separate bowl. If you use a wet paper towel covering the beef, it can be easily burned by overheating.
  4. Now, microwave the beef for 1 minute to allow the water to boil and rehydrate the jerky. Once it is moistened, take out the jerky and enjoy your tasty jerky. You should eat the microwave beef jerky soon as it can dry out more if you leave the jerky out for too long.

Liquidating Beef Jerky

Dried beef jerky can be moist again with a touch of liquid. However, it will take a longer time for rehydrating beef jerky than the microwaving method. If you have the patience, the result will be splendid.

The traditional liquid mixture to soften beef jerky is using soy or Worcestershire sauce. But you can also use water, broth, wine, or soup to rehydrate the jerky. In this way, the most jerky will have stronger umami and savory taste.

How to soften hard beef jerky:

  1. Take out a large bowl to rehydrate beef jerky. You need to pour in the liquid at a ratio of 1 liquid for one jerky to ensure that the jerky is submerged in the liquid.
  2. You can choose cold water or hot water for this method. The overall process will take about 10 to 30 minutes for the jerky to rehydrate. You can check during the process to see if the texture is favorable for you.

If you like to boost this process faster,  use boiling water instead of having cold water. When the mixture is boiling, the beef rehydrating process will be only 10 to 15 minutes.

  1. Once the jerky achieves the desired soft texture, you can use a dry paper towel to absorb the excess moisture on the cuts of beef jerky. This would help the jerky stay in the right texture for a longer time.

Sauteing Beef Jerky

Sauteing beef jerky

If you like to have your beef jerky soft and moist, you can also sauté it with some vegetables for a flavorful dish.

How to soften jerky:

  1. Firstly, you need to slice your onions. Then put on a frying pan at medium heat and sauté the onions with black pepper for a few stir.
  2. Then, you can put in the beef jerky. You can also put in some oil or butter for extra moisture. Then, put on a lid loosely for half a minute.
  3. Open the lid and flip the jerky’s other side. Then leave it sautee for 30 seconds.
  4. Once the tough meat is soft enough; you can place them on a serving dish.

Can You Over Dehydrate Jerky?

Beef jerky is a tasty snack that needs a balance of dryness and moisture for a good chewy and savory bite. Although jerky is dried beef, it can be even over dehydrating if you don’t know how to tell when beef jerky is done.

When making jerky, don’t forget to check the fresh meat by bending it. If you’re unsure whether the beef is done, you can take out one slice for an experiment.

Please note that it can be extremely hot, so you need to let it rest for a while. Once the jerky is cool, you can bend it at 90 degrees. If the beef is dry and broken, it might be over dehydrated jerky.


Beef jerky is one of the most common and tasty snacks to have for a long hiking trip. It is portable and full of protein to provide enough energy for you during a short break.

Sometimes, beef jerky can be too dry and tough to chew on. Learning how to soften beef jerky and rehydrate tough jerky will help you enjoy them better instead of throwing away the whole batch.

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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What Are the Different Types of Beef Jerky That Meat Lovers Eat Today? - Eat With Me - a couple of months ago

[…] Common sweetening ingredients for jerky include sugar, corn syrup, and honey. Sugar is an especially popular ingredient because it adds weight and texture to the jerky, helping soften the meat. […]


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