MEAT STORAGE AND PRESERVATION
Submitted by Frog
Storage and preservation are best accomplished by cold.
Other methods include smoking, curing, making jerky,
and pemmican, salting and pickling, canning and using
sugar solutions, and antibiotic treatment.
(a) Smoking. The process of smoking meat as a means of
preservation and flavor enhancer is extremely old. Although it
has largely been replaced by more modern, faster methods of food
preservation, it is still a viable procedure for the SF Medic in
a field environment during UW operations.
There are several acceptable methods, and the one outlined
below should not be considered as the only safe method.
There are also variations in the step-by-step instructions,
depending on the type of meat. Regardless of the type of meat,
there are several basics for smoking meat that do not change.
(1) No matter what type of meat is smoked, a smokehouse will be
needed. This can be any type of building that has a roof vent
(or have one installed), that is otherwise fairly well sealed,
and that has a floor that will take a firepit.
The fire pit (or box) should be centered in the floor and be about 2 feet
deep and 2 feet wide, depending on the amount to be cured at one time and
the size of the smokehouse.
(2) The wood used for the fire should be from deciduous trees
(shed leaves in winter) and preferably green. Do not use conifers
(needle leaf),such as pine, firs, spruces, cedars, as the smoke
these woods produce gives the meat a disagreeable taste.
Start the fire and let it burn down to coals only, and then stoke
it with green wood. The fire should be a “cold smoke” fire (less
than 85 degrees F.) that has only coals, not flames, during the
smoking process. The meat should then be placed in the smokehouse
and hung from the rafters.
(3) The rafters should be wooden poles of green wood to prevent
burning and should run the length of the smokehouse.
Suspension line or string may be used to connect the meat to the
rafters. When hung, the bottom of the meat should be at least 4
feet but no more than 5 feet from the top of the firepit.
All meat should hang free (not touching any other meat or the
walls of the smokehouse) so it will smoke evenly and prevent
spoilage from contact.
Usually meat is smoked a minimum of 4-5 days depending on the
size of the smokehouse and size of pieces of meat being smoked.
After the meat is smoked, it should be stored in the smokehouse
(4) Preparing meat for smoking varies with the type of meat.
1. Remove the large bones, especially the joints,
to prevent souring during the smoking process.
2. Trim the fat from the outer surfaces of the meat.
The fat should be kept for making pemmican and candles.
3. Section the meat into manageable pieces, always cutting
across the grain, not with the grain. This makes for more
tender meat and helps speed up the smoking process.
4. Cut a hole in the meat and string it with heavy twine,
suspension line, etc. The hole should be placed as to prevent
the string ripping through the meat during the smoking process.
5. Hang the meat in the smokehouse and fill out a smoking record.
The record will enable you to follow the same procedure the next
time you smoke meat.
1. Pork smoking is much like the beef process. Hot water can be
used to help remove the hair from the skin of the animal.
2. Do NOT remove the layered fat or the bones except ball and
socket joint bones. Do not scrape off the rendered fat (fat
oozing from the pork during smoking).
3. follow steps 3, 4, and 5 above.
(c) Smoked meat will generally stay in good shape for up to 1
year, depending on how well the instructions are followed, the
climate, insect and rodent control, the condition of the meat
prior to smoking, and other factors.
If the meat should appear sour around a bone area, section the
meat to expose the sour area for 24 hours. If the sour appearance
clears up, the meat is generally safe. If it does not clear up,
dispose of the meat.
One way to keep meat fresh in conjunction with smoking is by
curing it. This process works well by itself, but is best used
with smoking. Various spices, sugar, salt and brines may be used,
but the method described below is a dry salt (coarse not table)
treatment. like smoking, curing is a simple process.
(1) A work/storage area protected from insects and rodents is
important in this method. The initial step is the same as in the
beef smoking process. After this step has been completed, rub
salt into the meat to prepare it for the salt box.
(a wooden container large enough to hold the sectioned
salt-covered meat). Cover the bottom of the salt box with salt.
place the salted meat in the salt box. If more than one piece of meat
is placed in the box, be sure that the pieces do not touch each other.
Cover the meat with salt. This procedure should be repeated again
in 2 days and repeated again 2 days later. The salt should be
changed for each repetition. On the sixth day remove the meat
from the salt box.
Place a layer of green pine straw, hay, etc. on the ground or
floor (again in an area protected from rodents and insects),
cover the hay with salt, and place the meat on the layer of salt.
Cover the meat with salt and place a layer of straw on the
2) The meat may be left this way for up to 1 year, depending on
the same factors as for smoked meat. It should be inspected regularly.
3) It is generally recommended that the meat be smoked. If
smoking and curing are to done, curing should be done first.
4) When the meat is to be used (if cured), It should be washed
thoroughly and inspected. Again, if in doubt as to quality, throw
it out. If the meat is still very salty soak it in water for 2 or
3 hours, changing the water every 30 minutes.
5) If possible, salt should be stored in a tightly sealed
container. Do not reuse the salt. If sugar or other spices are to
be used as well as salt they should be added during the “rubbing”
stage while curing.
C). Meat preservation records. Records should contain the
(1) Type of meat prepared.
(2) Source and date the meat was obtained.
(3) Weight and cut of meat.
(4) Time cured, time smoked, as applicable.
(5) Type and amount of salt (for curing)
(6) Approximate temperature of smoke.
(7) Type and amount of salt (for curing).
(8) Type and amount of seasoning, if any (for curing)
(9) Color and texture of meat when completed.
(10) Overall assessment:
D). Jerky. For field-prepared food that is light and nutritious,
jerky fits the bill.
Red meat( beef, venison, etc.) should be used.
(1) To prepare jerky –
(A) Trim the fat from the meat.
(B) Cut the meat with the grain of the muscle into 12-inch-long
strips. No more than 1 inch thick and 1/2 inch wide.
(C) Pack the meat in dry salt for 10-12 hours with each strip
completely covered and no contact between strips.
(D) Smoke the meat.
(2) The meat may also be sun dried (sprinkle liberally with
pepper to cut down on insects and store above the insect line,
20 feet or higher) or dried over slow coals, as with smoking,
also sprinkled liberally with pepper.
(3) If salt cured, wash thoroughly before eating.
E). Pemmican. Pemmican is also light and nutritious and can be
made in the field. The two basic ingredients are lean meat–sun,
wind, or smoke–dried (not salt cured)-and rendered fat.
(1) Render fat by placing ground-up (preferred) or cut-up fat
into a container. Boil the fat and pour off the tallow to use in
pemmican. (Tallow can also be used to make candles.)
The fat residue, called cracklings, can be eaten. one ounce of
beef cracklings provides 207 calories; one ounce of pork
cracklings provides 219 calories.
2) You need about 6 pounds of meat to make about a pound of pemmican.
A) Dry, pound and shred the meat.
B) Prepare a casing such as intestine, by cleaning & tying one end.
C) Lightly place (do not pack) the shredded meat in the casing.
D) Pour hot tallow into the casing, heating the meat and filling
the bag. The mixture in the casing should be about 60% fat
(tallow) and 40% meat.
E) Seal (sew or tie) the casing, then seal further by pouring
tallow on the seal.
3) Pemmican will stay safe for consumption for about 5 years,
depending on the type of tallow used.
F). Salting and pickling.
Dry salt meat or immerse in a salt solution.Use 10: 1 table salt
and saltpeter (potassium nitrate) for both. With pickling, mix 50
pounds of salt & 5 pounds of saltpeter with 20 gallons of water.
G). Canning. Heat is used to destroy harmful microorganisms
but this is not as good as above since thermophillic bacteria
may remain stable. Canning is better with fresh fruit and vegetables.
H). Sugar solutions and antibiotic treatment is suggested for
preservation, but again this process is not as effective as those
Note: Articles submitted to Tpass.org are the responsibility of their author, Tpass.org makes no warranty on the information or assumes any liability for providing said information, use this information at your own risk.