Why Is My Beef Jerky So Tough? (And What to Do About It?)

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What is the very first image that comes into your head whenever you hear the word “jerky”? The incredible, robust taste of beef that the lean flesh possessed?

What is it about the seasoning on your favorite pack of this snack that makes it so delicious? Or might it be the chewing, which is organically tied to munching on dried beef and provides a strangely comfortable and pleasurable experience?

To our surprise, it is unquestionably the one aspect of jerky that we find the funniest. At least, that’s how we feel about it. But, if your jerky is too harsh, what was once a pleasurable exercise may abruptly turn into one that causes physical discomfort.

And that may leave you wondering; why is your jerky so tough? Your jerky is so tough because the jerky has been dehydrated for too long.

Having said that, this is only an attempt to simplify things. In addition, it is essential to bear in mind that even the toughest jerky is not always spoiled when it becomes too harsh.

So the question is, how can you rescue it? And, what should you be concentrating on the most in order to prevent it from happening again in the future? That is precisely what we are going to find out about in the following paragraphs!

Why is my beef jerky so hard to chew?

When the jerky you tried to prepare becomes rough and difficult to chew, this is a sign that the dehydration process was allowed to continue for an inordinate amount of time. It lost much too much moisture and water as a result of it, which is what caused it to become as brittle as it is today.

It is necessary to put it in the dehydrator for a period of time that is shorter in order to reduce the likelihood of it occurring again. If you aren’t quite certain how long that is, check on the jerky periodically while it dehydrates and end the process when it reaches a state in which you are pleased with its condition.

How to make beef jerky soft again?

You’ve probably already made the jerky too dry by the time you find this post, and you’re wondering whether there’s any way to bring it back from the brink of disaster. Alright, that’s OK. And sure, you can!

You only need to brush the jerky with some liquid (Winchester sauce or beef broth may be the finest possibilities, but the decision is yours) and then let it soak in for at least 20 hours, or perhaps even longer than that. It is not a difficult process at all. You may also choose to utilize the microwave, which is an alternative that is much more expedient; nonetheless, we are almost there.

How to soften beef jerky in the microwave?

It is possible to get a softer texture for your beef jerky by using the microwave; but, the quality of the final product will not be on par with that achieved using the traditional approach described above. Yet, despite the fact that it would unquestionably make your jerky more delicate, you may still go ahead and use it.

So how does it work? The easiest way to preserve your jerky is to place it in a container that has a cover and then add a glass of water or a damp cloth to the container as well. The next step is to replace the container’s lid (but don’t really snap it shut!) as well as begin using the microwave.

Check the consistency of the jerky after each interval of one minute (or maybe even a little less) that the jerky spends in the microwave; once it is no longer tough, the jerky is ready to be eaten.


Beef jerky that has been dehydrated for an excessive amount of time may become tough and difficult to chew on. But, if you will be notified, it is simple to avoid that from occurring; all you need to do is keep an eye on your jerky and stop the dehydration process at the precise moment that the jerky is ready. If you will be alerted, however, it is easy to prevent that from happening.

If you are uncertain as to what precisely it implies, you can just apply this simple trick: take a piece of your jerky and fold it in half. When there is very little moisture being squeezed out of the jerky and it has not yet cracked, the jerky is ready to be removed from the oven.

But it is only a piece of advice for the next time; clearly, it won’t be able to salvage your jerky since it is already so harsh. Thankfully, there are methods to accomplish that goal as well. To begin, you may reheat the jerky in the microwave, which will make it edible once again in a relatively short amount of time.

The second option is to just rehydrate the jerky by brushing it with some sauce or broth; this process will take a little bit longer than the one that uses the microwave, but the results are also superior.

And even if none of these solutions work, you don’t have to toss away the jerky; just substitute it for the raw beef in your preferred recipe.

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How do you fix tough beef jerky?

After giving the jerky a quick coating of a liquid and allowing it to rest in an airtight container for at least a few hours and up to a day, You may use any liquid. Anything from soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to chicken, beef, or vegetable broth, liquid smoke, and even plain old water may do wonders. It is highly recommended that you use the same kind of liquid that was used in the original recipe.

How do I make my jerky more tender?

dehydration in order to prevent them from becoming too brittle (that is, lose too much moisture). Key Observations to Make About Tender Beef Jerky

When slicing beef, cut against the grain of the fibers. Make sure the marinade you use has at least one acidic component. Marinate the strips of pork for about twenty-four hours. Maintain a tight eye on the beef strips while they are cooking.

How do you soften dried meat?

The process of rehydrating beef is simple. Put the freeze-dried meat in a dish and cover it with warm or hot water. The meat may be raw or cooked. There is not need to worry about over-hydrating it since the meat that has been freeze-dried will just reabsorb the amount of liquid that it requires, and it will never get mushy. When it has been rehydrated, dry it well with a paper towel by patting it.

Is beef jerky supposed to be hard?

Jerky that has been dried properly should not be crumbly but rather have a leathery texture and a flavor that is chewy and appetizing. As you bite off a strip of dried jerky, the chewy texture should have a good crunch to it and readily break apart everytime you do so. Moreover, even though the top seems dry, the inside should still be soft. This is an important quality.

Can beef jerky be overcooked?

If the jerky disintegrates into a powder when you put it in your mouth, then it has been cooked for too long. Also, we don’t want it to be so rough that it’s difficult or impossible to chew. We need that it maintain some degree of its previous suppleness. Jerky is all about walking that line, even if it’s not always easy to do so.

Can you leave jerky in the dehydrator too long?

It is not advised to keep jerky in the dehydrator for more than 5 hours at a time. If you follow the guidelines that were just presented to you, the optimal amount of time for drying beef jerky in a dehydrator should be four hours, or five hours if the raw meat that you used was very juicy.

Why is my homemade jerky so tough?

It is entirely safe to consume beef jerky in its naturally dehydrated condition, in contrast to other dehydrated foods such as pre-seasoned dehydrated rice or ramen, which are not safe to consume in their naturally dehydrated form. In spite of this, jerky may become too dry and tough, particularly if the bag containing it is left open or the Tupperware in which it is stored is not well sealed.

What happens if you cut jerky too thick?

Thomas adds that if it is too thick, it will be chewy, and if it is too thin, it will become extremely rough. “If it is too thick, it will become chewy,” The question now is, what size should it be? According to him, the ideal thickness for your slices should be around one fourth of an inch.

What is the best meat for tender beef jerky?

You can create beef jerky that is both soft and tasty using any one of the many different cuts of beef that are available. While top round, bottom round, pectoral, and lifter are traditionally considered to be the greatest cuts of beef, other cuts such as flank and skirt steak may also produce delicious jerky. These cuts of beef are all lean, can be purchased at a low price, and are packed with taste.

What happens if you soak beef jerky in water?

Before consuming it, you might try letting it soak for ten to fifteen minutes in water or vinegar. The meat will regain some of its moisture and become easier to work with as a result of this step. You also have the option of microwaving the beef jerky for thirty to sixty seconds, which will assist to make it more soft and may aid.