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Survival 101: make your own jerky

If you ever find yourself on a long term survival trip, one of the easiest ways to get food is to preserve meat for long term hoarding. This can be done by salt curing and drying, or by smoking which is the most sure-fire way, (no pun intended).

Salt curing.

  • Using any meat or fish of your choice, the trick is to slice it as thin as possible. The point of both methods is to dehydrate the meat to prevent bacteria from spoiling it, and the drier the meat the better it will cure.
  • Rub salt all over the meat. It will draw moisture out and will kill bacteria.
  • Set in the hot sun. This will roast/dry/jerk the meat, turning it into a very hard sheet of dehydrated muscle.
  • Eat with care. This is a very hard and dry piece of meat and it is very salty as well. Look closely for signs of spoilage, and sniff well. Can be used to mix with berries and nuts to make Pemmican, but is also good to boil with vegetables and tubers for stew.

Smoking Jerky

  • Using any meat or fish, slice as thin as possible.
  • Build some sort of framework to go above your firepit. This framework is often multilayered and triangular in form to allow the smoke to rise and coat the meat evenly. The point is complete dehydration of the meat.
  • Build your fire and put green wood on it. Either fruit or nut wood works best. Avoid the evergreen variety, and any sort of bitter wood as this will permeate your jerky and gag you when you try to eat it.
  • Cover the meat. This is done to contain as much smoke as possible. If you have a dead deer, you may use the deerskin to envelope the meat and will thereby smoke the hide too.
  • Smoke until completely dry. It helps to flip the meat also, giving the bottom part against the wood of your frame a chance to dry out too. Smoking time will depend on how thinly you sliced your meat.
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