Your Simple Guide On How To Preserve Meat In The Wild
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, knowing how to preserve meat in the wild would be very essential to you. Not only does it keep the meat fresh, but it also helps prolong the shelf life of your meat.
However, this knowledge should not only be limited to campers, hikers and the like. This is because you’ll never know when you would be experiencing emergencies that would need outdoor survival skills.
Moreover, the technique can also be applied even for home cooking. Do note however, that there are different methods of preserving meat in the wild. These methods vary in process but the ingredients are all quite similar.
Which is why for today, we will be featuring a simple step by step guide on how to preserve meat outdoors using these three main methods.
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What You Will Be Needing
Since there are different methods of preserving meat in the wild, there will also be different materials and ingredients needed for each. Here are some of the most important materials we think is essential for the procedure to be a success.
For Curing/Salting/Dry Curing
- Jar - any airtight container that can be sterilized will do.
- Salt - This dries and absorbs all the water and moisture from the meat. Thus, salt helps preserve meat.
- Sugar - This will help balance the flavor of the meat to keep it from being too salty. It can also give a different dimension of flavor to the meat.
- Spices (optional) - If you want more than just to preserve the meat, adding your favorite herbs and spices can also help enhance the flavor.
- Sodium Nitrite (optional) - Ideally, putting sodium nitrite helps fight off a bad bacteria called botulism. However, the ingredient can be pretty toxic if you add too much of it.
Alternatives: Green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, celery, spinach and the like naturally contains sodium nitrite. Simply add the juice or extract and you will achieve the same results. Pink salt/curing salt (also known as Prague Powder #1) can serve for double purposes. It contains the right amount of both salt and sodium nitrite.
For Brining/Wet Curing
- Salt and sugar mixture - since wet curing and dry curing are pretty similar, the fundamentals such as salt and sugar are retained.
- Spices - again, these will help enhance the flavor of your meat.
- Sodium nitrite (optional) - alternatives to this are similar to the dry curing. Refer to list above.
- Dry wood - for drying or smoking, the wood is one of the most, if not the most important material. Choosing the best dry wood for the smoking process will give the meat a very good flavor and aroma.
TIP: When choosing wood, avoid resinous wood or freshly cut ones to avoid wet smoke and pitch. As for aroma, trees like maple, hickory, oak, applewood and cherry give the best.
- Thermometer - adding a thermometer on the walls of your smokehouse will help you monitor if you're getting the right temperature for the process.
- Wires/Grill - you will be needing this to hang the meat onto while smoking.
- Tools - necessary tools for building the smokehouse/place such as woodcutter, shovel and the like.
TIP: In order to minimize the amount of tools to be used or brought with you, decide first whether you’ll be making a smokehouse itself or a makeshift smoke place. The makeshift smoke place that utilizes a pit requires less tools.
1. For Curing/Salting
- Before everything else, make sure to pat the meat dry first with any clean cloth or paper towel.
- Whatever the meat is (be it pork, beef or even fish), slice it into slabs. Make sure that the meat is not too thinly sliced or not too thick.
- Rub the salt and sugar mixture onto the meat generously. Massage the mixture and make sure that the entire slab is fully covered.
- Add your choice of herbs and spices to the meat for more flavor. (optional)
- Sterilize the container which you will be using to store the meat in.
- Seal and store away in an airtight container all the meat slabs you’ve dry cured.
2. For Brining
- Make a saline solution first. You can do this by adding salt and sugar to water. There should be at least 14-20% of salt in the solution.
- Add the herbs and spices that you like such as pepper, garlic and the like.
- Slice the meat into very thin strips. This will help the meat absorb the solution much faster and will dry faster as well.
- After soaking the meat fully in the solution, hang the meat to dry under the sun. Leave the meat for several hours.
- Make sure that the meat has completely dried and absorbed the solution before storing or eating.
3. For Drying/Smoking
- First off, start by making a smokehouse first preferably near your camp. If you will be staying in one place for quite some time, it best to make a wooden smokehouse.
- If you won’t be staying at the place for long, creating a makeshift “smokehouse” will do.
- The same with the first two methods, start by slicing the meat into slabs. This will make it easier for the meat to dry and absorb flavor from the smoke.
- To make sure that the temperature of your smoke place is ready, it should be at 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the meat on the wire if you plan to hang it in your smokehouse. If you created a makeshift smoke place, place the meat on the grill before covering it up with some more wood.
- Leave the meat on smoke for a day to prolong its life. However, if you want to achieve smoked meat that lasts for a month, leave it for two days.
At The End of the Day
Whichever method you choose to preserve meat, the end result is what matters the most. Again, these methods should not only be important to outdoor enthusiasts. These methods are also something you can apply to your home cooking.
Not only do these techniques help preserve meat, they also give new flavor and dimension to the meat. With this, you hit two birds in one stone. No more bland, tasteless meat or spoiled food at home by using the techniques listed.
With this said, we hope you enjoyed the list. Share us your thoughts by leaving your comments below. And if you found this article helpful, please don’t forget to share. Thank you so much for reading!