How to Dehydrate Beef
Using Pre-Cooked, Pre-Sliced Deli Roast Beef!

I'm going to show you just how to dehydrate beef!

Roast Beef BEFORE Dehydrating

Roast Beef before dehydrating, on a Nesco dehydrator trayStacked roast beef on Nesco Dehydrator BEFORE dehydrating.

Here are some photos of the sliced roast beef on the dehydrator trays 'before' and 'after' dehydrating. Look at how much the roast beef slices shrink!

Shrinkage is normal during the process of dehydrating just about all foods.

Roast Beef AFTER Dehydrating

Roast Beef after dehydrating, on a Nesco dehydrator trayStacked roast beef on Nesco Dehydrator AFTER dehydrating.

TOP Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you dry aged roast beef?

IMHO there is no point in dehydrating "aged" roast beef; it's ready to go. Simply vacuum-seal it, and store it with oxygen absorbers tucked inside the bag before drawing the air out.,

Do you cook beef before dehydrating?

I use cooked beef to dehydrate. However, if you're wanting to make jerky, you'll need to add the necessary seasonings that act as a preservative. Check out this Beef Jerky recipe on our "How to Dehydrate Meat" page, towards the bottom of that page.

Can you dehydrate beef liver?

Great question!

Yes, you can dehydrate beef liver. Dehydrating is actually a great way to preserve the nutritional properties of beef liver so it can be enjoyed over a longer period of time. Here are some pointers if you want to dehydrate beef liver:

  • Slice the raw liver very thin, about 1/8 inch thickness. This allows for fast and even drying. Partially freeze it first to make slicing easier.
  • Use a marinade or just sprinkle with salt and spices like garlic powder before dehydrating for extra flavor. Pat off any excess liquid.
  • Arrange slices in a single layer on dehydrator trays without overlapping. Dehydrate at a minimum of 145°F to 160°F for 6-12 hours, flipping halfway through.
  • Liver is fully dehydrated when slices are very firm yet still pliable enough to bend. They will be much darker in color.
  • Store dried liver slices in an airtight container in fridge for up to 1 month or freezer for 6 months rehydrate before eating by simmering in broth until tender again.

Dried beef liver makes an excellent high protein treat for dogs as well! Just be sure to cool fully before giving to avoid burn risk. Follow portion guidelines appropriate for your dog’s size. Check out this dehydrated liver for dogs page too.

Dehydrating Beef is Easy to Do!

Let's get busy learning all about how to dehydrate beef. The first step is to slice your cooked beef. I find it hard to slice and I don't have an electric slicer, so I do the next best thing: buy the beef pre-cooked and sliced!

NOTE: As with leftover beef from your Sunday roast dinner, slice it—as evenly as possible—and make the slices/pieces similar in size. This way, your beef dehydrates at the same rate of time.

How to Dehydrate Beef Using Sliced Roast Beef on a Dehydrator

1. Arrange your pre-cooked, pre-sliced roast beef slices on your dehydrator trays.

2. Don't overlap the slices.

3. Dehydrate on the HIGHER temperature of 160°F until "done" - about two hours.

Rotate your trays for even drying. Yep, I know that's not in the "owner manual" but I do it anyway.

The beef, when fully dry, will feel quite crisp. Store in food vacuum-sealer bags with a 100cc oxygen absorber added before drawing out the air.

How to Dehydrate Roast Beef Using a Regular Oven

To dehydrate roast beef in a regular oven, start by preheating the oven to the lowest setting. Then, place the roast beef on a wire rack and set it inside the oven. Leave the door open slightly to allow air to circulate.

TIP: Use a wooden spoon handle to keep the oven door ajar!

Check on the roast beef every few hours, and remove it from the oven when it is dehydrated to your desired level.

Keep in mind that it will take longer to dehydrate roast beef in a regular oven, so you'll need to be patient. And please remember this: We are NOT dehydrating RAW roast beef. We are dehydrating cooked roast beef.

Just like the sliced turkey and sliced chicken, beef dehydrates beautifully AND rehydrates very well too! For the record, I used a 7 oz. plastic tub of pre-cooked roast beef from Target Stores. Walmart and Publix brands are equally as good.

If you've got time to spare then by all means stand in line at the deli and get your freshly-cooked roast beef sliced for you!

The beef slices filled all four of my Nesco Dehydrator trays, with about three slices on each tray. Just two hours later, it's fully dehydrated!

Quick Question: "Where's The Beef?"

Quick Question:
"Where's The Beef?"

If you're wondering, "Where's the beef?" I'm gonna test your knowledge of where that now famous line was used in a very successful ad campaign.

Was it

a) McDonalds

b) Wendy's

c) Burger King

Answer: at the very bottom of this content column.

REMEMBER to turn
the heat UP to 160°F

never dehydrate meat
on a lower setting,
that's not safe

REMEMBER to turn the heat UP to 160°F
never dehydrate meat on a lower setting,
that's not safe (germ-wise).

Ideal Temperature to Use for Dehydrating Cooked Roast Beef

Cooked roast beef is best dehydrated at 160°F as mentioned above—but please consult your food dehydrator's owner's manual for their specific instructions.

A slice of thin roast beef "before" rehydrating

Shown above is a slice of roast beef held by its corner, to show you how stiff the roast beef was after dehydrating.

I then took another photo, just an hour later, of the same piece of beef to show you how limp it was after rehydrating!

A slice of thin roast beef "after" rehydrating

Rehydrate in Beef Stock for Added Flavor!

Sliced Roast Beef after rehydrating. You can use beef stock to add flavor back in!
Sliced Roast Beef in a tub of water. You can use beef stock to add flavor back in!

IMPORTANT: rehydrate beef in the refrigerator in CLEAN water - or in beef stock. Don't leave it out on the countertop and let the expensive roast beef go bad!

Eating dehydrated beef is a great way to get your protein, but it can be tough to chew if it's not properly rehydrated. The best way to rehydrate beef is to soak it in water (or beef stock, as mentioned) for 30 minutes, or until it's soft enough to eat.

You can also add extra flavor to the water by adding soy sauce or BBQ sauce, or Better than Bouillon stock, to make it even more delicious. Once it's softened, you can eat it as is or add it to your favorite recipe(s).

A Cute and True Story:

Years ago, I recall this story about a granddaughter who wanted to learn how to cook beef. She asked her mom how to do it.

They went shopping and picked up a beautiful chunk of beef. She then proceeded to cut off the end. She then added the beef to the roasting pan.

Cutting off the end baffled the granddaughter, so she asked her mom why she did that.

Her mom replied, "That's how your grandma always does it."

That wasn't the answer she was looking for, so the young lady called her grandma. "Hey, Nanna, I need to know something. Today, Mom is teaching me how to roast beef in the oven. I asked mom how to make it and she cut off the end of the beef! She said you always do that. Why do you do that?"

Grandma giggled and replied, "I cut off the end of the beef because it doesn't fit in my small roasting pan!"

The ladies laughed at their assumption that cutting off the end of the beef was the magic trick to great roast beef!

There was no hidden secret to the best beef after all...

* * *

I've also learned, over the years, that the less you do with the beef, the better. Just pat it dry, salt it lightly, and roast it.

Thanks for stopping by to learn how to dehydrate beef. Now get at it!

The Answer to the "Where's the Beef?" question is:
b) Wendy's, way back in 1984!
Read about "Where's the Beef" here on Wiki