In the February 2011 newsletter, I talked about pressure cooking chicken before dehydrating it as the best way to enjoy tender chicken in your backpacking meals. A quick and easy solution is to dehydrate canned chicken or chicken in a pouch since both of these products are already pressure cooked right in the package.

If you do not mind carrying the extra weight, you could pack a pouch of chicken without dehydrating it and add it to your recipe on the trail. Couples often choose this option because a pouch of chicken is a good quantity to split between two people. Although heavier, an advantage of using chicken in a pouch is that it will last longer than dehydrated chicken. I do not recommend storing dehydrated chicken outside of the freezer for more than a month.

I found that dehydrating pressure cooked chicken produced more tender rehydrated chicken than chicken cooked in other ways such as poaching, baking or grilling. However, I had not tried steaming chicken.

Fortunately, the readers of are a resourceful bunch of folks, so I am pleased to share a recommendation from the mailbag.

Jeff the Chef of Issaquah, WA writes:

  • Buy a large chicken, not extra large, so as not to get a fatty bird.
  • Skin and trim all the fat.
  • Cut it in half and steam for one hour until falling apart.
  • Remove bones and tear meat into small pieces.
  • Hit with seasoning salt or a little soy sauce if for Asian dish.
  • Dehydrate at 145° - 155° until dry, time varies with dehydrator model.

Yield: 15-20 ¼ cup portions for the price of two cans! Steamed chicken has excellent flavor and less fat than canned chicken. The fat drips off the bird during steaming and can be helped along by pouring hot water over the bird. I do this with turkey and duck also.

Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your tips for steaming and dehydrating chicken. You demonstrate that by doing it yourself you save money and control the quality of ingredients in your food. I have added Jeff's suggestion to the dehydrating chicken page.

Speaking of chicken, we have received some excellent chicken recipes over the past few months. Thank you to everyone who has shared a recipe!

Recent Submissions to Your Best Backpacking Recipes:

  • Chicken Cacciatore, Meatloaf & Rice by Chris Tarricone of Plano, TX
  • Thai Curry Chicken and Gluten Free Chili by Tucson Damselfly
  • Chicken Soupish by Chris Turner
  • Cheddar Broccoli Tart, Flat Bread, Clam Chowder Recipes by Shelley Lauzon, of Cornwall, ON Canada
  • Clam Sauce Fettuccine by Mephistus of Casper, WY
  • Not So Suffering Succotash by Michael Pinkerton of Grand Rapids, MI
  • Reeses Oatmeal and Football Pudding by Julie of Fairbanks, AK

Click to see these new backpacking recipes or to submit one of your own.

Thanks again to all who have shared recipes and cooking tips. Your contributions help your fellow backpackers cook some of the tastiest meals on the trail.

Wishing you a very festive Thanksgiving,

Chef Glenn at