methods-to-preserve-meat

Ways To Preserve Meat

methods-to-preserve-meat

The problem with storing meat for use all year round is an old one. While considering your own preparedness with regards to meat, consider the following ways to preserve meat:

 
Tip: Following the harvesting of meat livestock, a period of ‘hanging’ will improve the flavor and texture by giving natural enzymes time to break down tough muscle fibers. The temperature range for hanging is 33 to 40-degrees-F. Fresh meat and poultry will rapidly deteriorate in temperatures above 40-degrees-F, so be wary of this. Without a refrigerated room, hanging meat can only be done during the cold months of the year. Hanging times range from 24 to 48 hours, sometimes longer for a more tender meat.

 

Freezing

Since the mid 1940’s, freezing has become the most popular way to store meat. It’s quick, easy, and preserves the nutritional value and flavor. Obviously though, a freezer depends upon a supply of electrical power and may not be suitable for preparedness unless you have a source of alternative energy to power the freezer if the grid goes down.

Freezing meat is best at 0-degrees-F for longest shelf life. Wrap all pieces in individual moisture-proof packages to prevent freezer burn (or vacuum seal). Label each package with the type of meat and the date is was frozen. All meats will begin to slowly deteriorate in the freezer though. We generally rotate / consume our freezer meat storage within a one year cycle.

I have a few chest freezers. I bought this one years ago from Amazon. Still runs great!
Danby Chest Freezer, 7.2 Cubic Feet

More: Freezer Food Storage Times

 

Home Canning

Canning meat is convenient and economical, and is not dependent upon electricity for storage. Canned foods keep for a very long time (years). The key to safe canning is to follow proper canning recipes and procedures.

More: The All New Ball Book Of Canning

More: 12 Lifesaving Canning Rules

More: How To Can Chicken

 

Curing

Salt is the only essential ingredient for curing. It slows spoilage by drawing water out of the meat while also killing decay-causing microorganisms.

Meat cured with salt alone will store well (but will be tough and dry). An early salt cure was as simple as storing slabs of meat in a barrel of salt. ‘Kosher salt’ can be used for curing meat and is a type of coarse salt which is usually made without additives.

‘Curing salt’ is most commonly used today and is a special blend of salt and other ingredients including sodium nitrite (which has become somewhat controversial regarding potential health issues with large doses).

An MSB Reader said, “42 pounds of Morten’s Tender Quick fits in a 5 gallon bucket. Each ounce of Tender Quick cures about 2 pounds (small cuts) of meat, or about 1,300 pounds of meat for a 5 gallon pail worth!”

Morton Tender Quick Home Meat Cure – 2 lb

More: The Craft of Salting, Smoking & Curing

 

Smoking

Curing is the first step in the smoking process, essential for good flavor. ‘Cold smoking’ is best for preservation (and for adding flavor) with temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees F, and is more easily accomplished during cooler months.

The cold smoking process may range from 1 to 14 days. The preservative benefit of smoking is that the smoke contains tar-like substances that are deposited on the food. To a greater or lesser extent, they seal the surface, keeping air from coming in contact with the food. Fats in the food will not turn rancid from exposure to air, so smoking is particularly useful for preserving fatty foods. The smoke also kills bacteria.

Smoked meats may still spoil fairly quickly though, depending, so refer to research of your particular meat, recipes, and shelf-life storage.

More: Project Smoke

 

Jerky / Dehydrate

Dried dehydrated meat (jerky) has traditionally been made by drying meat at a relatively low temperature (140°F – 170°F) for an extended period of time.

More: Safe Jerky In A Home Dehydrator

 

Biltong

Ideally the meat is marinated in a vinegar solution (grape vinegar is traditional but balsamic and cider also works very well) for a few hours, this being finally poured off before the meat is flavored.

The spice mix traditionally consists equal amounts of: rock salt, barbecue spice, whole coriander slightly roasted and roughly ground, black pepper and brown sugar.

This mix is then ground roughly together, sprinkled liberally over the meat and rubbed in. The meat should then be left for a further few hours (or refrigerated overnight) and any excess liquid poured off before the meat is hung in the dryer.

More: From Biltong to Beef Jerky & Beyond

 

Lard Covered Pork

An MSB Reader said, “My grandmother, born 1896 an raised on a Midwest farm told me that when they butchered a hog they would lay slices of pork in a crock and pour lard over each layer then store in cold dark place.”

Apparently the lard method was used by pioneers years ago and by soldiers during the Civil War as a way to preserve their meat.

 

Pemmican

Pemmican is a nutritious, preserved food created by Native American Indians. It consists of a mixture of cooked, dried and shredded buffalo meat, or fish, which is combined with melted fat.

How to Make Pemmican – The Pemmican Recipe

The buffalo meat was first dried.

The dried meat was heated through over a low fire, and then beaten with sticks or stones into shreds.

Buffalo tallow was melted and the shredded meat stirred into the hot fat to create pemmican.

The pemmican was 50 percent meat and 50 percent fat.

Berries and dried fruit was sometimes added to the pemmican.

The pemmican would then cool and harden.

Pemmican would last for over a year and was eaten dry or boiled in water.

More: A Guide for Safe Scavenging, Pemmican Making, and Roadkill

 

 
Share your own ideas, opinions and experiences about preserving meat:

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87 Comments

  1. Ken did you miss meat storage on the hoof, claw or paw? While meat storage was an important part of daily life pre freezer era a lot was simply kept alive until eaten. Thus why goat, sheep and smaller animals were so popular. They could be eaten by a person or family in one sitting.

    The American Indians did a lot of meat processing as aside from small game they had no smaller meat animals as far as I know. Mostly jerky and smoked meats. They must have used fats for preservation in clay jars or “Rabbit Starvation” would have gotten them.

    The smaller porkers make awesome meat and lard is an excellent preserver. Someone on this list reminded me WHY they called it the Larder :-)

    Praying the Senators do not fold to the MOB and vote for the Rule of Law and the Republic. Otherwise our reliance on stored foods and ability to defend and hide them will be tested.

  2. I use to avoid anything with nitrites in them until I did some study. Now I suggest avoid eating any fermented sausage meat that doesn’t have it. When I make sausage I use it according to directions, no guessing. Nitrate slowly turns into nitrites for meat that ferments. Nitrite, pink cure, is what you use in jerky, immediately dehydrated after refrigeration.

  3. There are many websites available to explore the use of nitrates vs nitrites to cure meat. A point made is one uses about a third of the amount of nitrite compared to nitrate. Make sure which is called for in your recipe. Also, to make us cured meat lovers feel better there are vegetables that give us higher doses of nitrites than a serving of cured meats.

  4. i read some place that a stash of pemmican had been found someplace in the northest thsat was OVER 200 years old and was still fine to eat

  5. Oddly enough Fermentation is also a way to preserve fish. Romans made fermented fish sauce called Garum. Added flavor to bland foods and protein amino acids missing from vegetable sources. The same method is essentially done today to make that jarred Fish Sauce in the stores although I suspect they pasteurize it as to fix the flavor from changing over time.

    Meat is wonderful but I suspect that we will be eating less of it post SHTF. The Roman Armies , built roads, marched and fought on a diet mainly dried beans, grains and Garum. Tuscany was known as the land of the “Bean Eaters”.

    In China and Vietnam the general lack of refrigeration has promoted a lifestyle of fermentation of many things including raw pork. Generally safe otherwise there would be a lack of Chinese :-) it is common to have a bad belly every week from eating. Low Tech Magazine speaks of the Fermented Foods of Vietnam as well as Garum.

    1. NH Michael;
      You speak of fermented raw pork, In Thai it’s called “Naem”, first I had it was in Thailand, was FANTASTIC!!!! Then I saw how they made it and got very skeptical….
      Basically it’s ground pork with some additives and set on the counter, uncooked, for a few days for it to rot…… Most just eat it raw as is, I prefer to cook it slightly to “brown” the outside some.
      .

    2. I wonder if our systems are different than people in Asia. There have been many instances where we had a meal and a couple hours later I was camping out in the latrine while everyone else (native Asian) would be fine. I got food poisoning my first time in China. After that, if I see the meat (beef,chicken,fish) sitting out for more than a day I will not eat it. Even with temps in the 90’s and higher, food will sit out on the table between meals with just a reheating before eating. It is amazing how people live differently in other parts of the world.

      1. INPrepper,

        My maternal grandparents lived rural. Even though they had electricity, they had no refrigerator, just and “ice box” which looked much like a refrigerator, but had a metal tub to hold a 25 lb block of ice they bought for a nickel from a delivery route ice truck. They (and all their neighbors) routinely left uneaten food in serving dishes on the table between meals, simply pulling the table cloth over them to keep the flies off. “Left overs” usually stayed on the table until finished. Don’t recall any sickness resulting from this practice, but in all fairness, I doubt any lasted more than two meals.

    3. INprepper I don’t think our systems are different as we adapt to what we get to eat. During the Great Depression I read diaries of breakfast was what was left over from dinner simply covered with the table cloth to keep files off. No refrigeration was available for most folks. When I first went to Korea it took a couple of weeks eating local street foods before I adapted and did not get a small belly ache. Even in eastern Europe some of the local foods could give you a belly rumble until your system adapted to it. Humans are humans, very adaptable :-)

  6. I tried bacon–it was a qualified success, but I don’t think I’ll try that one again. Leaving the skin on made the meat almost unusable after curing, but getting the skin off was a royal pain. If I get another cut of meat like that I’ll try rendering lard instead.

    Beef was questionable–it cured for a month but still tasted raw. It’s back in the refrigerator to cure for another month. Pork and chicken were great. In each case I used only salt for curing.

    The interesting thing is that the meat is so much softer after it’s been cured. It doesn’t have the texture of the raw meat, and the taste changes subtly. Chicken still tasted like chicken, but well worth the curing. Pretty good, and addictive. The pork, on the other hand (not bacon, that was a separate test) was A-maze-ing. I cured it dry in the refrigerator for a month, it was cured all the way through (no pink left) and I could eat that stuff every day. If it was a contest pork came in first, followed by chicken.

    Dad insisted on cooking it before he’d try it. :)

  7. Ken mentioned a book, “Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing”, (link above), it’s a really great book for preserving meats, and well worth the $$$.
    I have made quite a few of the ideas… ALL good.

    An electric Smoker is cheating I know, but I have one of the Master build 30 inch ones. It works GREAT for making all kinds of slow cooking and Preserving meats, Jerky is so dang easy it’s almost automatic, have probably 6 different flavors vac-packed as of last weekend. What’s nice it will go down as low as 100F for a very slow cure, and is big enough for a 22# Turkey, let me tell ta, a Dry Rubbed Apple Smoked pork lion is heaven on earth.

    No wonder I’m F-A-T hahahaha

      1. Ken;
        The trick is, after Smoking for 2-3 hours, wrap the meat in Al Foil loosely and add about 1/2 cup of a nice Hefeweizen and reduce temp to around 150, cook for another 2 hours.

  8. Good morning, All,
    Ken thank you for this topic today, very interesting…
    Amazing how early peoples preserved meat in such a skilled, safe, and tasty fashion….
    Good that some are learning these ways again
    Believe these “old ways” are going to be vital for our survival in the future
    Peace….

    1. Shepherdess

      Am with Joe c.
      Even if they are specifically directed toward others, I find myself sustained by your ((((hugs)))) and blessings from the Good Shepherd.

  9. I recall someone preserving pork mixed in with sauerkraut – I guess it is kind of the same as brining.
    For me, it is cooked meat and then the freeze drier.

    1. hermit us;
      I would think the Pork in Sauerkraut is Fermented more than Brined…. Either way I would think it would last a LONG time.
      My GGM would always have a crock of Kraut sitting in the counter for sure.

    2. That Mountain House add in the side bar looks good – #10 can freeze dried ground beef for $35 and 22 – 3/4 cup servings. High ratings as well. 25 year storage.

        1. Country Ham a southern staple for Many years. My Granddaddy took equal salt and sugar mixed with 1/4 the amount of pepper. Rubbed them down and eventually hung in the smoke house or somewhere cool. I don’t think they always smoked the hams as the rub draws out the moisture. Thick slice of ham on a hot biscuit with homemade strawberry jam. Oh yes and have to add some eggs over easy. Ummm, back when salt and cholesterol did not matter.

        2. Mrs. U
          Yes I do freeze dry beef, but sometimes the cost of commercially produced product like the Mountain House I mentioned, is a better value than I can achieve here.

          1. wow hermit, that is interesting. Guess it is the location of availability. I have gauged it much cheaper to do in my FD. Mountain House does have nice quality though.

          2. Mrs. U
            I only freeze dry lean or extra lean – even then I pour off a fair amount of fat when cooked. So, the higher price, the cooking, and then a couple of days of freeze drying and the jars does add up in cost.

  10. Somehow my post are getting mixed up. Ya’ll have a good day………………………..Ham going in the freeze dryer..

  11. “back when salt and cholesterol did not matter.” I’m glad someone mentioned that, the salted meat isn’t going to kill you and not to derail the topic, it is in fact good for you. And the cholesterol myth is another one. So do use the salted method of preservation, it also works quite well on vegetables.

    1. OC
      They (you know the experts, ha) say you will get cancer from smoked meats. The list of stuff that will kill you is endless – life will eventually kill you. :)

      1. hermit us;
        That’s why you use good Organic rolling papers and not those Zig-Zag’s when you light up and smoke that meat…. :-)

        1. You got this paper fixation, heck I had a selection of great pipes – for tobacco of course. But to quote a past Pres. “I never inhaled”.
          I may have to try an electric smoker – what cuts of meat do you recommend.

        2. Zig Zags, omg! Well that was a VERY long time ago. Did roll a good “tobacco” at one time.

          1. Mrs. USMCBG;
            No I have never smoked (in the common sense of the word), or Done drugs of the illegal type.
            Now I will say I do indulge in a sip or two of Gin at times, tis good for the libido (or so I’m told) and killing off those unwanted Brain Cells.
            Although I will admit there is a time in my 20s that are a little fuzzy…. HAHAHAH So Cal will do that to ya :-) :-)

        3. NRP
          You should just try it in yer bong!
          Much better stuffing the bowl of your apogee with some good stuff, kinda hard to keep the stuff lit though,

      2. Generally, the studies about smoked meats you are referring to by “they” don’t say it will give you cancer but simply that the rate of cancer is higher amongst those who eat smoked meats. I believe in this case, it heavily depends upon how you smoke it too. Big difference between you will get cancer and we found that there is a higher instance of cancer. Just be careful how you word things, or you will mislead people. The media already does a great job at this so we don’t need more people repeating their mistakes. Too much of anything is bad for you so all things in moderation.

        1. ljkafds
          If you found anything in my post that remotely suggested that I accept some of the exaggerated statements about smoked meat, I suggest you better be more careful of your conclusions based on your reading comprehension. I will try to be more succinct in my posts.

          YES, just about anything taken or eaten in excess could harm you.

    2. OC on a RR, the thing about age is the ole body does not react the same as when young. Salt stays with you longer and fats/liver just do not metabolize like it use too. Each person just has to know their parameters and be pro active if they so desire. Just like I desire to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken sometimes. Horrible, salty, greasy and full of cholesterol, cause I like wings, LOL, about 4 or 5 times a year…….

      1. I would agree then, it is about age and not about the salt. I think there is a problem with metabolizing fats, but I don’t think it is because of age or the fat. I think that junk food in general neuters the metabolizing mechanism, why you see so much obesity. And about KFC, we were just talking about that the other day. For my tastes the meat part is just sort of okay, but I could feast on the crunchy skin all day, and I’m guessing that is why most people buy it.

    3. There have been several occasions when in China that we have eaten cured and smoked fish. Often I will see the fish sitting on the balcony for several weeks before eating. Often with temps in the 90’s and 100’s. Still tasted OK but sure was salty and had a strong smoky taste. I was leary of eating it the first few times worried about eating spoiled food but it was fine when cooked up and mixed with veggies.

  12. We’ve made jerky in our Excalibur dehydrator, but it’s a bit of a finicky process. The fat content of the meat must be MINIMAL, and today it seems to be more and more difficult to find meat at the store that isn’t riddled with fat.

    We used a cure we bought from Sportsman’s Warehouse. The thinly sliced meat must be coated on both sides, and allowed to “cure” in the refrigerator overnight.

    Then on to a day or so of dehydrating and viola- jerky. Which immediately disappears!

    1. Poorman,

      Not everyone, but I feel the whole country is weary of the seemingly endless political attacks. The non-stop anti-conservative theme on the majority of the media. Tempers are getting short. I try to keep an optimistic attitude, but it’s getting harder and harder.

      For me, prepping and communicating with others in the, dare I say, “movement”, helps me cope with the steady stream of negativity coming from so many directions. Gives me a sense of being proactive for what seems inevitable sometimes.

    2. Poorman,,

      I agree with Dennis. the present political scene is making everyone tense. (well, except Ol’ NRP, he is just his normal ‘happy’ self). I have been seeing it at work too, and around the community. People just tired of the endless crap everywhere they look. think we all need to take a deep breath, get a shot of your favorite “Organic Parts Cleaner”, and try and settle down this weekend. This article has my mind made up to go process that 15# of ground elk into jerky over the next few days too.
      cheers!

      1. Minerjim,

        My standard reply when I’m asked, “how ya’ doing?”, is “If it was any better, I would bust out laughing, If it was any worse, I’d break down crying?”.

        1. mine is always better than I deserve to. I have a wife I love,healthy children and grand children, a job that I both like and am very good at and also pays me a pretty good wage. Don’t really know what more I could look for in life

      2. Minerjim

        You are right about calming down and taking a breath. I have always enjoyed this site BECAUSE people act like adults and hash out problems without stooping to insult and name calling. I have been gone for a week at a national sales meeting and came back to people STILL taking ( in my opinion ) swings at each other.

        Now back on topic I can my meat. I have tried doing the dehydration thing but mostly with veggies. I have made jerky but was underwhelmed with the result. I do want to try my hand at pemmican but have just not gotten around to making the time to do it.

        1. Poorman,
          Jerky can be tough to get a an end result you like. I have until recently always mixed up my own marinade, and used strips of venison or elk, and dried in an oven. I switched to using ground game meat, mixing in a teriyaki sauce and letting it sit in the frig for several days, before using a ‘jerky shooter’ to squirt it out on my dehydrator trays. Comes out consistently good. That and my 87 year old Uncle can chew it better than the strips I used to do. As for people still taking swings at each other here on MSB, they need to chill. I declare this weekend ‘National Organic Parts Cleaner Weekend’, please join me celebrating living in the best country in the world. ( bet Ol’ NRP has a head start on us already!)

          1. Miner J
            The jerky shooter method is excellent, used to always just cut thin strips but now the shooter is the go to,,, easier to chew, not gnawing on the stuff

    3. I have noticed this also. People seem to be on edge, short tempered. The responses are to quick to defense or out right anger. Me included, I have not chosen to participate, just keep my opinion on some of these comments to my self.

      Fellow MSB Patriots, lets just take some time out and breathe, Me included. We need each others support. We also MUST accept other opinions, as just that, an opinion. Words, can be taken out of context, that’s normal, there is NO face to face here, so us MSB’ers need to reflect on how those words mean much different things to people.

      Attacking is NOT the ADULT way, we on here are ALL Adults. Let’s act like the Adults we are, Fore go the poor and attacking remarks and look at the whole picture on the post and the meaning it is trying to project. Even if it’s a “Troll.” Just ignore, don’t respond. I did respond once, and I regretted it, have never responded again to a troll, not worth it.

      Every one, all MSB”ers here, relax, we are ALL friends here. God Bless each one of you.

      1. SMG
        You are right. We watch politicians and news talking heads stand in front of the camera and tell bold faced lies. We know it and they know it but the BS continues. This moral deterioration should not infect MSB. Lauren is absolutely correct in that many of us are overly defensive – with some justification. I am guilty of reading too much between the lines and will look at the big picture of this site. Thanks.

    4. It’s that sense that someone has started to swing, and not knowing where or how the blow will come. I’ve been censoring a lot of my comments more than usual because I also find myself saying things in ways that can easily be taken wrong. Not out of malice, but out of sheer exhaustion.

  13. Just my own view, I will easily engage in a civil conversation. I am done with any uncivil behavior, subtle or unsubtle verbal poking at me, or continually being lectured at and tolerating adults that demonstrate oral diarrhea. I believe the tolerance has been driven out by the above constant barrage. Now tuned up for the next stage of interactions. Just my own view. To keep on subject, I applewood smoked a dry rubbed, bacon wrapped pork loin, it did NOT last long enough to preserve.

    1. Grey
      I think many are tired of taking hits or sideswipes and are expected to turn the other cheek. The half truths, accusations, innuendo, superior attitudes, … are no longer to be ignored. So comments like “did you miss it” or “just be careful” are somewhat condescending. Some sarcasm and subtle humor is to be expected and keeps the mood lighter but direct challenges to one’s intelligence is over the line and should be answered.
      We all try to give good advise on food storage based on our own experience. Good answers are much appreciated and very helpful. I also appreciate it when Ken gives references to additional information that is available.

  14. I am so happy this topic came up. We bought two old diesel generators specifically to run my freezers if/when SHTF, and I understand that the generators will be a flashing light above our place, but the frozen meat we have is truly what we need for our way of eating. DH is eating Keto (low/no carb) to reduce inflammation for his auto-immune disorder, so meat it is! I have been wondering what else to do with the meat and fish we have. I canned some fish last year, and it looks like it turned out fine—but I am a big chicken to try it!!!

    Thank you for the book suggestion. I will order it. Like NRP – we cheat too and have an electric smoker. Electricity for our food seems to be a pattern here – freezers and smoker!

  15. Seeing everyone’s comments here reminded me when I used to smoke Kokanee Salmon (land- locked) in the High Rockies back in the late 70s. Used to put 5# of salt, 2# of brown sugar in a 5 gall bucket of water about 3/4 full. Brine the salmon in this for 24 hours. Used to get broken pick handles from the mine (hickory) and chop them in pieces and soak them in water. Had a 45 gallon Moly-sulfide packing barrel (un-used, clean one) and would start a small fire in the bottom and add the wet hickory chips. Salmon would get skewered on brass coated welding rod and hung inside the barrel. Usually about 6-8 hours of smoking would do it. Had to watch it constantly or the neighborhood dogs would be into it. The result was fantastic. Point it, it was work, but easy to do. Anyone could do this to preserve fish.

  16. Nothin like canned venison 👍👍👍
    GF tops the jars with beef fat from the local butcher shop.
    Make a sandwich is best on mashed taters.

    See ya,
    I’m getting.hungry….

    1. JoeC
      Umm
      Yea, unless of course you compare it to a fresh strap rubbed with olive oil and salt/pepper/spice mix rub and then seared in a cast iron pan with bacon grease then make a balsamic and port reduction to go over it and some mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus,, but yea, that old canned overcooked vennison is ok

      1. Tommyboy and Minerjim your both making me hungry!!! Minerjim your so right that dogs love the smoker. Last year I had a dog wearing size 9 boots raid my smoker. I wonder how far away he smelled my smoker as I’m not in sight of the road here. Guess I need to upgrade to a padlock :-( to keep not so honest out. Fresh deer back strap. Tommyboy I bet you grilled that asparagus too with olive oil and a dab of garlic:-)

      2. Tommy
        Lol
        Canned over cooked venison?
        Ohh heck no.
        Straps are goood, too. Make em with lots of blk pepper.
        Nice try for the making me more hungry…..just finished supper.
        👍😎

    1. Old Chevy:
      Yes i have canned Bacon, just like canning pork except ya lay the bacpn on Parchment Paper and roll it up to fit the jar.
      Process like pork
      Turns our crumbly but good.

    2. Old Chevy
      Yes
      GF has done canned bacon.
      Thicker cut bacon is better for canning.
      As NRP stated, parchment paper and very crumbly.

      1. We still have about 18 pints of bacon we canned in 2012. I agree about the thick cuts. 👍 Has anybody tried the Yoders canned bacon?. We can get 10 pounds of thick cut bacon for about $20 bucks. Just checked the price for Yoders. Over $20 bucks for 9 oz. can.

    3. I buy ends and pieces. cut in 1inch lengths, stuff into wide quart jars, fat included, and pressure can for 90mins at 13psi. Your done, canned bacon, plus bacon flavored lard.!!!
      Been doing this for yrs, it works, and lasts. Last I opened was 10yrs old, just fine, like the day I canned it.
      Good luck and God Bless

  17. Question for anyone with experience with smoked meats. It is my understanding that meat like venison with low fat marbling that has been salted/brined and smoked, can hang, protected from insects and with air circulation, for several weeks at room temps without spoilage. Or at worst having to slice off the outer layer prior to cooking. Any comments from people with actual knowledge of this? I’ve read novels on frontier life when I was a kid that spoke of this.

    1. Dennis, should be hung at temps in the mid to high 30s at the very most, at normal room temps it will go bad even if brined, until the meat is cured completely it needs to be kept cool. Personally i dont chance it even with cured meats so this is what i have done,
      Best bet is get Mike Simons book on charcutery, he will have proven guidelines

      1. Tommyboy,

        Thanks. Temps in the mid-thirties would be the same as a refrigerator. That would make, at least in my mind, brining/salt packing and smoking a taste enhancement as opposed to a way to preserve meat.

        1. D
          Yes and no, i do know that it is important to keep the meat cool even if preserving, short of packing the whole thing in salt, it depends on the process, i would say get a bokk or two on preserving meats, theres a few out there, there are several schools of thought on the process, i think your ambiant temps will have something to do with the process you chose,

        2. cont’d- I understand the need for fatty meats like pork. I remember folks saying it’s “hog killing weather” when a cold front would move in, reflecting the need for cool weather when curing out pork. Did not know if lean meats like venison would need the same cool weather for short term (4-5 weeks).

          1. Dennis,
            I have always hung venison for a day or two before butchering. If it is warm, say over 55f at night, I get on it in a day. If night time temps go below freezing, you can hang them for 7-10 days max. Ideally you want meat to stay around 34f. Sniff your meat daily if you hang it in cool weather. If it begins to smell like butter, better butcher and freeze it right then, one more day hanging and you will lose it. I am not an expert, there are others here who know more, this has just been my experience. Good luck.

          2. Minerjim,

            Same here. I’ve always processed and iced down my kill same day, or let it hang overnight, hide on after field dressing, if harvested late in the day. I don’t let mine hang over a day, even in cold weather, but know several folks that do. Just throwing my thoughts out there for suggestions about the possibilities. of salt and smoke for longer term prevention of spoilage on a quartered deer. Thanks for your come back. Your thoughts about bacteria entering around the bone makes sense.

  18. Great article, Ken. Thanks! I am really looking forward to getting the charcuterie book and trying something new.

    I have been learning quite a bit lately about fermentation and the art of preserving using the “old ways”. From what I have learned, there were some methods that preserved some foods for “long term storage” but most foods and most methods were more like “mid-length” storage. Fermenting veggies would keep them from one harvest to the next by encouraging beneficial micro-organisms and discourages the ones that were harmful. Recent research is showing that many people who have trouble digesting dairy have a much easier time with naturally fermented dairy products (think crème fraiche instead of sour cream). Likewise with bread products. The characteristics that allow grain to store for long periods make it hard to digest. Fermentation, like what happens when using sourdough culture instead of rapid rise yeast changes that. I can’t wait to see what “new discoveries” come out about the health benefits of curing, salting, and smoking.

    Many of the methods listed above for preserving meat were meant to allow people to keep meat from spoiling while they moved from one place to the next or between hunts. I think that if there is ever a TEOTWAWKI event, then these skills will become more important than knowing how to pressure can, as supplies begin to forever change.

    The war on bacteria that began a few decades ago seems to be having a counter-intuitive adverse effect on our health. Just look at the “new found benefits” of “pro-biotics” and “pre-biotics”. Our digestive system co-evolved with them or was designed by The Hand of God to work this way. Don’t get me wrong, I love to can and will continue to do it. I am just really excited about learning the age-old techniques that might help in the restoration of Balance.

  19. Dennis
    I would also like info on this.

    I have made venison jerky over a smokey fire but not large portions of meat.
    And the made jerky never made it past a week☹️

    1. Joe c,
      I’m thinking like venison hindquarters. I’m thinking the membrane that covers the surface, well salted (packed in salt long enough for it to do its job) and then smoked would dry it out fractions of an inch deep and form a barrier to prevent bacterial growth on the interior. I’m thinking very low heat smoking to avoid any juices being forced to the surface due to cooking. If I don’t get any responses, I’ll dedicate a hindquarter from a deer this season to test it myself. I’ve long had this thought as a short term solution for stretching out the time for consuming a harvested deer when canning is to long term since consumption would start immediately and be complete after a month or so.

      1. Dennis,
        IMHO if you salt and smoke a venison headquarters like that it will start to rot from the bone outwards and you will lose a good 1/4. If you inject a brine down along the whole length of the bone to kill any bacteria (like they do hams) you might have better success with your method. I was always taught to bone out my venison for this reason, bone will impart a taste to the meat in the freezer due to bacteria in the bone. Just my thoughts from my experience. Good luck, let us know how it turns out.

      2. Dennis and Minerjim I notice a common theme here. Salt. As in LOTS of Salt. Some of us may live near a source of salt but I don’t. Happily if kept from critters and water salt lasts forever :-).

        Salt once paid Roman Soldiers who traded it with locals. My tribe is storing a lot of salt. I hope there is trade value in those 57 cent 26 ounce Wal-Mart Salt containers.

        Praying today Judge K is voted into the Supreme Court and the Rule of Law instead of the Rule of MOB is honored today.

  20. Freezing is the easiest way to preserve meat. But it’s also the easiest method that can fail and leave you scrambling if you loose power. Like most of us I do this the most as it’s easy.

    For long-term I can meat, no need to have grid power to can or keep it.

    In fact I’ve only ever canned meat, never canned anything else. I love bacon (Who doesn’t love it?) and I have maybe 20-pounds of it canned. I’ve opened a jar of it 2-years after I canned it and it was just as good as the day I put it in the jar.

    I can hamburg, burger patties, I even did some hot dogs. The hamburg, burger patties I cooked about 3/4 and then canned them. Take them out of the jar and finish cooking them, works great.

    I’ve made a lot of jerky in the past, but it’s expensive even when you make it and it seems to evaporate in short order.

    I wonder how long canned meat last?

    I know Jackie Clay says it last forever, but I just don’t know…

    1. Chuck Findlay
      I’m out to 10yrs on bacon, pork, and beef. Home canned and home grown. No problems, yet. I’m out to 9yrs on store bought, tuna, spam, sardines, ect, no problems, yet.
      Good luck and God Bless

    2. Chuck
      Funny you should say
      GF has also pressure canned beef patties.

      Ohh I have to say… I’ve done well with this once left leaning woman.

      -Self pat on back+
      Just between us folks😉

  21. Not sure if anybody mentioned sausage. Sausage is the original zip lock bag/ seal a meal. I was taught /told from the Old timers that most animals you hunt or raise for meat have enough brains to tan their own hides. And enough intestines to make sausage from the meat.

    1. Livin’, We make sausage cook and dryed with deer and feral hog and common spices in cabinet and the recommended amount of pink salt. We keep most all deer hides that are of good quality for tanning. Making buckskin with brains is hard, stinking work. When I tan I count on not being around anyone or going any where cause you will smell of rotting hides, you get used to it but nobody else does!

  22. In central Texas we nowadays do not get the best weather for drying sausage but can do jerky. I like to do things the hard way, as in the old ways. My German FIL taught me how to make wine, sausage, jerky the way its been done without modern equipment or many of the available additives . I have dehydrators but my little Wife likes venison jerky the old way, sliced thin depending on how long you want it to hang, salt, black pepper, cayenne or chili petine, garlic powder, Hang on a cedar stay and smoked one night only with oak bark, will last forever and live on it and cheese on road trips. Cedarwacker buddy in the 70s told me his Mother in the summer would slice the venison 1/4 inch thick, salt and pepper it good and toss it on the tin roof and was done in one day, no smoke cause it was eaten in a week or so. Wine is made with mustang grapes, sugar, and water in wooden kegs, some over 100 yrs old, you do not have full control on what comes out but being sanitary you come out with high end wine or high end vinegar, cant lose. Being able to do with what cha got to do with and come out with a good product is a great feeling.

  23. To Dennis and Minerjim: on hanging of lean meat at temps above 40 degrees F.

    I have never tried it though I do remember some older hunters talk of hanging meat would carry old clean bedsheets and large amounts of black pepper in their kit when they would skin out the deer carcass. They were never specific regarding length of time the venison would be good for. To Minerjim: The meat was boned out and broke down into parcels separated by clean linen. ( I am in full agreement with you there.). The butcher shop I went to would hang the venison and beef for about a week in their temp controlled aging room.

    When hunting pigs ( feral swine running the hills of Central California,) I drove a pick up truck with a Marine Ice Chest filled with numerous gallon water bottles frozen in anticipation of icing down the skinned and gutted pork carcass. Meat was iced down as soon as the carcass was rinsed off. Temps were well above 40 degrees so the gutting and skinning was done fast to avoid the flies. I took my meat to the butcher shop and cutting and wrapping was done right away and it went into the freezer. The guides had a motto: “The work begins after you pull the trigger.”

    There were times when we saw huge hogs and we did NOT pull the trigger: We were more than 2 miles from the truck and the porker was over 300 lbs. ( ambient temperature in the mid to high ’80s’ ).

    Old joke among experienced hunters regarding shot placement:

    Where is the best place to shoot a moose? Old Alaskan replies: “Out of the water”

    Where is the best place to shoot a big fat pig? Hog guide replies: “next to a road”

    I try to shoot pigs that are 180-200 lbs because I do not like paying the trophy fee and the meat is more tender and more useful. The big old hogs have tough meat that must be turned into sausage. I like sausage as much as anybody butt 100+ lbs of sausage gets boring by late January.

    1. Calirefugee,
      I always cover hung meat to keep the flies off. Herein the Rockies ( or Sierras) where it is c ool enough, hanging a deer allows the enzymes to start to break down the meat, makes for tender eating. LOL, old friend came from Cali to hunt one year, brought some of that wild hog meat from a 600# animal. We made spaghetti out of it. It was good if you could get it past your nose. Smart guy like you takes the younger animals like you said. But that “forest pork” needs to be fully cooked, like bear, because of a chance of tichanosis.
      Lots of good times hunting in Cali as a kid, those areas now all subdivisions.

  24. You left out one method: Vodka. Let’s be practical. Not all of us folks are skilled or have the wherewithal to smoke meat or hang it to dry. If you are able to acquire fresh meant after a SHTF catastrophe, and there is no electricity for your freezer, what do you do? Have large bottles of reasonably-priced vodka on hand. Make a mix of vodka, white vinegar, and salt. If you have no vinegar, just use vodka and salt. Immerse your dead cow in that and put it in a jar or other container with a lid.
    We are talking field expedient here. No one will have time to make Pemmican. We will be too busy defending ourselves. In addition to vodka, it goes without saying that you better have a substantial supply of salt and other barter items. Stay safe.

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