If you’re reading this, we’ll assume that you plan to try living in the wild and are completely aware that you won’t have the luxury of using one of the most valuable appliances you own: your fridge.
If you’re someone who’ve already tried out it though and has failed, don’t worry, it’s not too late to try going out in the wild again, and this time, you’ll have a trick or two up your sleeve to help you with your adventure.
In this article, we’re going to teach you precisely how you can preserve precious meat in the wilderness.
As much as it sounds fun and exciting, we’d like to caution you that things can get pretty rough, especially if it’s the first time you’ll be doing this kind of thing, but you don’t need to dwell on it too much if you fail during your first try.
Your real failure would be if you didn’t try it at all!
For those of you who just happened to come across this article by some miraculous chance, you can actually consider yourselves lucky.
Upon stumbling into this article, we know you got this question in your head: “Why does this matter?”
We’ll tell you what, we understand that we live in a world where everything can be readily available at any given time, but it doesn’t hurt to learn some useful survival techniques.
Also, what you’re about to learn isn’t useful for outdoor survival alone, as it can also be applied for home cooking.
In case of a disaster, though - or worse, a catastrophe - knowing how to preserve meat without refrigeration is a relatively valuable skill to have.
A Bit of Food Preservation History
Early humans were known to be adept at hunting and food preservation. Several food preservation techniques are actually still widely performed up to this day.
To survive, our ancestors had to find ways to preserve their food for later consumption. Learning food preservation methods allowed them to stay in one place and establish communities.
Knowing how to preserve food, they no longer had to consume their catch instantly.
Things to Bring on Your Adventure
Make sure to pay attention from this point on, as we’ll now present to you the information you came here for.
Before going outdoors, we recommend you to bring these things:
- Some of your favorite spices
- An airtight container
- Some wood for smoking
- Some gas
Bring a medium-sized container, a lighter or a match, a thermometer, and an adequate portion of each of the others, and you’re good to go.
We’re asking you to do this because we want you to have it a bit easier, especially if it’s your first time.
Once you’re already familiar with the techniques, it’s all up to you whether you want to do the food preservation techniques you’re about to learn, from scratch.
Ways to Preserve Meat in the Wild
Now, let’s get down to business.
When it comes to preserving meat in the wild, there are three methods that you can use:
One of the oldest techniques in the book, smoking can be done in two ways: hot or cold.
Hot smoking is done by holding the meat directly above or in the same enclosure as the wood. This allows the meat to get completely smoked.
Cold smoking, on the other hand, is done at a relatively low temperature, and whereas hot smoking somehow partially cooks the meat, cold smoking isn’t intended actually to cook the meat.
Smoking preserves meat for extended periods, and adds a specific flavor to the meat, depending on the wood you use for smoking.
For smoking meat in the wild, follow these steps:
- To begin with, you’ll have to set up a smoker near your campsite. This allows you to supervise the smoking procedure while resting on your camp comfortably.
- Start the process by slicing your meat into slabs. We recommend you cut the meat into small pieces so that they can better absorb the flavor from the smoke, and they’ll also dry quicker.
- Use your thermometer to make sure that the temperature of your smoker is at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Create a makeshift grill and place the meat over it.
- If you want to hang the meat above the smoker, you’ll have to use some wire. If you don’t have this available, you can try gathering some vines, but make sure they’re sturdy enough to keep the meat in place.
- Leave the meat for at least a day for best results. You can check on it once every 4 hours to make sure the temperature is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or if you have to put more wood to the smoker.
2. Dry Curing/Salting
This method is pretty straightforward.
Dry curing, also called Salting, involves the use of salt and sugar to preserve the meat. You can also add some of your favorite spices to alter the flavor to your liking.
Here’s how to dry-cure your meat:
- First, you’d want to make sure that the meat is free from all dirt, and whatever it is that may contaminate the meat. Clean the meat thoroughly, and dry it using a clean towel.
- Next, it doesn’t matter what kind of meat you’re using, you’ll have to cut it into slabs.
- Once you’re done cutting it, rub a generous amount of salt and sugar, mixed together, onto the meat slabs. You have to make sure that the whole piece is covered with the mixture.
- After that, you can choose to add your favorite spices for added flavor.
- And you’re done! All that’s left for you to do is to put the cured meat in the sterilized container and store it away.
3. Brining/Wet Curing
Brining can be a bit tricky for beginners, but it’s one of the most used preservation methods not only in outdoor adventures but also for many homes and food establishments.
Bringing, or Wet Curing is the process of submerging chunks of meat in a brine solution. You don’t have to be overwhelmed with the term, a brine solution is simply salt dissolved in water.
To brine your meat, simply follow these procedures:
- First, you’ll have to make a brine solution by mixing the salt and sugar in water. Keep in mind that at least 20% of this solution should be salt.
- Then, add your favorite spices to give the meat your desired flavor.
- For this method, you’ll have to slice the meat into skinny strips. Slice them as thinly as you possibly can. Cutting the meat into thin strips make it easy for them to absorb the solution, and will allow them to dry faster.
- Once the meat strips absorb the solution thoroughly, you’ll have to hang them for several hours and let them dry under the sun. When the meat fully dries, you can now store them away.
There you go! We hope that these methods will significantly help you in preserving your food when you go on your next outdoor adventure!
We’d love to hear from you, so make sure to let us know what you think of this article in the comments’ section!
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