This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I’ll receive compensation at no extra cost to you.
Whether you’re living at your bugout location or bugging in during a major disaster, keeping animal protein available for your family may be a huge task. Some of these methods require preplanning and are best done when the electricity is on to create a stockpile for your family. Others can be done when you’re safely at your bugout location for any game you catch that is large enough for several meals.
Tuna, canned chicken and other canned meat has a shelf-life of five years if you store them properly in a cool dry place. Canning your own meat at home will also provide a far less expensive source of meat and you control what’s in the container. You need a pressure canner to ensure safety, rather than use a water bath, particularly when preserving meat. Hot packing the meat means you pre-cook it first, including spices in the process as you boil. You can even make stews. Raw packing uses chunks of raw meat in the jars and as the meat processes, it creates its own liquid. Both types will keep for years when done properly.
Brining is also known as wet curing. It uses a salty solution for the brine and you submerge the meat in it. There are various recipes, with many adding sugar to improve the flavor, but all of them require approximately four weeks for the meat to completely cure. At least once a week you need to remove the meat and stir the brine, then place the meat back into the jars. You may need to put a spacer in to make sure the meat is completely covered with brine when the jar is closed. If the brine is too thick, replace it and after four weeks, it should be ready to store.
Salt Curing the Meat
Salt curing meat is dry curing it. Just like with brining, salting adds a concentration of salt that inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. It’s often used in conjunction with smoking the meat. You need crocks or jars, pickling salt and brown sugar for flavor, cheesecloth, moisture-proof plastic wrap and a cool area that’s no warmer than 38 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat will keep all winter. For extra flavor, you can cold smoke the meat.
Even though dehydrating meat in the sun was a method used for centuries, it only extended the life of the meat for a few weeks, which was often all that was necessary. You can dehydrate meat using a dehydrator and then store it in vacuum sealed jars to extend the shelf-life. You can store it in a cool dry area for quite a long time. Soaking it in salt brine or salting it helps preserve it longer if you’re using the sun to dry it.
Pemmican is one of the original American survival foods. The Native-Americans first used it as a portable source of meat that lasted a long time and then taught the trappers and other immigrants the process. You dry lean meat, crush it into a powder and then add hot, rendered fat with dried crushed fruit for extra flavor. These little balls of calories can be a light weight meal when you’re bugging out to a safe location.