Drying meat

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Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Drying meat

I ran across this great link to an extensive How-To on drying meat.

Looks good. Anyone have experience with this? Beef jerky, anyone?

maceves's picture
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shelf life

I have gone a little crazy with my new dehydrator, but I haven't been drying meat.  I have not been able to find anyone that can give a storage method that will guarantee its safety beyond a few months unless it is stored in the freezer.  Even with oxygen absorbers.  I would be really interested in that if someone finds a way to keep jerky for a long time.

txgirl69's picture
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how about....

A charcoal smoker? I've been doing some research and bought a couple of books on making a smoker for meats. There are ways to smoke it so that it is preserved for several months.

It seems rather simple to construct. I think the hardest part would be to manually maintain a particular temperature for a long period of time.

Anyway, I like the sound of it.....Tongue out




WhiteHawk's picture
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I've dried meat in the sun

I've dried meat in the sun on a rack and it worked just fine. You cut the meat thin and lay it across the rack. You want to avoid folding it since that will create a wet space where flies will want to lay eggs.

Once the meat gets attains a dry glaze it won't spoil anymore. Smoke can help keep the flies away but isn't necessary for making jerky or preserving.

If you want to be sure it'll keep longer soak the meat in salt brine with some honey. Honey is a preservative....(and an antibiotic for cuts, btw).

Here's the rule for drying stuff without using a dyhidrator: meat and fruit dry in the sun. Think sun dried tomatoes. Leaf stuff (spinich, dandilions, etc.) dry in the shade out of the sun. Think photosynthisis.


Saffron's picture
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I couldn't click on the link - or rather it wanted some sort of password - so I don't know if this was covered, but Pemmican is a great way to preserve meat and it's a highly nutritious and energy giving food. The indians used it when they travelled and I believe often this alone sustained them for long periods. You start just like you do making jerky, with thin strips of meat, but you keep it in the dehydrator even longer till it is so dry it breaks (as opposed to bending, like jerky.) Then you powder it in the blender. Then you mix it with equal parts tallow and chopped dried cherries, add salt to taste (be sure to use good sea salt.) Spread it in pans about an inch or so thick till the tallow sets and it is hard enough to cut into logs. Wrap in parchment paper and store in ziplocs ... no need to refrigerate and as far as I know they keep forever. I have a log sitting in a backpack that I use occasionally and I nibbled on some the other day that must be 2 years old ... yummy and I'm still breathing ;-)

~ s

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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All of our great grand

All of our great grand parents ate salted/smoked meat.  I have salt,sugar,pepper cured hams and bacon hanging in smoke house thaty are 2+ years old. They've a good layer of mold, or bloom I should say. We've a few Tamworths,I'm pursueing Parma hams.


robie  (sliced so thin you can see thru,veryfew drops of oliveoil, lite squeezeof lime, chevre if inclined, and lazily followed by anything from a cool Pinot to an aggressive Chardonay) 


Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
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you can dry any meat

 In Japan  We ate  dried fish . They strung it on a line and let it dry in the sun and wind .      I personally  make jerky with variations of ground meat .

 Add the seasoning  roll it with a rolling pin  between two peices of plastic wrap  then cut it into strips  then dry it .   Or I add spices and roll it into a log and bake it like summer sausage .     I prefer Elk  but you can use the bits and pieces that are good for nothing else . 

  I have a big  old boiler tank   and  still on my TO DO LIST is   to  get my boys to cut a door in it it for a smoke house .


Aussie's picture
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Saffron, I've read that the

Saffron, I've read that the dried meat and lard ratio should be equal parts by weight, not volume.  Is that what you did?


Tycer's picture
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Biltong keeps well and is

Biltong keeps well and is very tasty. Hat tip Jack Spirko on Survival podcast.

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
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Tycer wrote:

Biltong keeps well and is very tasty. Hat tip Jack Spirko on Survival podcast.

Biltong is ook baie maklik om te maak.  Met 'n asyn, peper en koljander vryf dit is heerlik.  Cool

Saffron's picture
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pemmican ratios
Aussie wrote:

Saffron, I've read that the dried meat and lard ratio should be equal parts by weight, not volume.  Is that what you did?


Kiera, that is correct though I cannot say I was exact. It seemed like it would be too much tallow, so I didn't mix it all in at first and patted everything into a pan. The next day it was rather dry and not that tasty. So I broke it up, melted more tallow and added that along with more lots more salt and cherries ... and kept tasting it until I really liked it. I think the recipe I had at the time called for less cherries but when I added much more, the flavor combination started really popping. For ease of remembering I just told myself equal thirds, but there's really less of the cherries than the meat and tallow - just not as much as I originally had thought. As for the meat/fat ratio - definitely 60/40 at least, if not 50/50. The fat not only adds flavor, it helps preserve the pemmican *and* helps with digestion of the meat. 

Pemmican doesn't really need the dried cherries but it is rather bland and needs a lot more salt without (IMO.) 

~ s

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