What's Your Plan For Preserving Meat Or Fish?

Discussion in 'Food Storage - Canning/Freezing/Butchering/Prep' started by GateCrasher, Feb 21, 2019.

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  1. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
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    Found a couple related threads but none that discussed all the various methods, and not much on the specifics. This might apply to meat in your freezer(s) you want to preserve after the grid goes down, or for preserving meat from large animals (wild or livestock) or in large quantities taken at one time such as netted fish. If sharing your plan please include your general location, "we just keep it frozen" might be easier in Alaska than Arizona after all.

    We're in the upper midwest (USA), so keeping meat at < 40F from November to April isn't normally a problem here since the night time low temps are generally below that during those months. From December to March even the high temps are usually below 32 degrees F, so during the coldest months we'd just keep meat and fish frozen by storing it in coolers outside (but protected from thieves/animals).

    In the warmer months it's gets a little more complicated, we have a propane chest freezer but if you've ever owned or used one you know they're better at keeping things frozen than freezing large quantities of food quickly. You can't put large amounts of (unfrozen) meat in at one time, or much of the meat will begin to spoil before it freezes. For our size/model about 10-15 pounds of new meat is about the maximum at one time, and only if the packages are separated so cold air can circulate around them. It's also only 8.5 cubic feet in size, or about 200 pounds of meat (give or take) so it doesn't hold enough for my liking either. This is a problem for us, as one of the first things I plan in any significant SHTF situation is to take as many deer as I can process and preserve as quickly as possible. We're lucky in this regard, surrounded by public land with many deer and we can 'hunt' from our porch day or night if we wanted, and have field corn stored for bait. I know a common belief is that wild game will be quickly exhausted by overhunting/trapping/snaring if the SHTF, but that doesn't mean the distribution will be even - I plan on getting much more than my family's "fair share" of it.

    Our preservation supplies currently are:

    - 45 pounds of Morton's Sugar Cure (salt, sugar, sodium nitrate, and sodium nitrite). One ounce for curing each pound of meat, dry cure.
    - 10 pounds of Morton's Tender Quick (same, just more salt and less sugar). One ounce for curing each pound of meat, dry cure.
    - propane smoker, by far the easiest until the propane runs low
    - a small sauna with a wood burning stove inside that we'll convert to a smoke house if needed
    - brine syringes for injecting pickling cures into larger cuts of meat
    - many ziploc bags of various sizes, brown paper bags, and rolls of freezer wrap.

    The plan being to salt cure portions we'll be able to eat in the short term, and salt cure and smoke some for longer term storage. The above supplies should allow us to preserve almost 900 pounds of meat and fish during the warmer months, and without having to touch the regular salt and sugar supplies. The sodium nitrate and nitrite in the mixes is also a better preservative than salt or sugar alone. We've tested the plan with small amounts of thinly sliced raw venison, but admittedly never with a complete deer, in storage at room temperature for up to two weeks - then cooking (stir fried with rice mostly) before eating. Also with jerky rubbed with the curing salts and stored in paper bags for up to a month, I've found paper bags work better than plastic (less moldy when not sealed in airtight storage)

    What's your plans?
     
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  2. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    Dry it. Lasts for ages.
    New England NSW Australia.
     
  3. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    I have a big smoker and will smoke and dry cure my meats. Many sausages have a long shelf life without refrigeration. I also have a bunch of plastic boxes and several hundred pounds of pool mineral salt that will allow me to salt cure various meats. My last sure fire method is my 8 quart pressure cooker and big rocket stove that will allow me to can meats. Once things settle though I plan on having enough small domestic animals to eat fresh most of the year and only have to depend on stored meats in the winter months.
     
  4. poltiregist

    poltiregist Legendary Survivalist
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    Drying and smoking meat is definitely the way to go . Anyone that has never done this needs to do a practice run before SHTF . Practice using natural fuel that will be available during the apocalyptic period . It would not be practical to practice curing meat if you are practicing while utilizing propane or on grid electricity " kind of defeats the purpose " .
     
  5. lonewolf

    lonewolf Legendary Survivalist Staff Member
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    will be eating fresh most of the time but plan on drying/smoking for winter months.
     
  6. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
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    Over the years I have dehydrated a LOT of things, including meats, in a variety of ways that does not require dependence on electric dehydrators. I prefer this method of food preservation over any other.
     
  7. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
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    Hadn't considered pool salt, might be cheaper than food grade salt. Only concern might be added ingredients like anti-caking compounds I'd think. Have you researched this, what brand(s) did you choose?

    This is a bugin plan at our forever home and we're pretty well set on propane for a year at least. Harvesting game will be one of the first things we do after securing our perimeter, it's actually an offshoot of our security plan since we'll want to know if any large mammals are near no matter if they walk on 2 legs or 4.

    So for those dehydrating/drying, how do you (or would you) do it for large quantities of meat? Heat or drying agents like salt, or both? If all goes as planned, and no reason it shouldn't given our location and ignoring existing hunting regulations, we'll be preserving about 100 pounds of meat just in the first week. Besides the best cuts that we'll eat fresh, we'll dry cure thin cuts with the curing salt and then dry them on racks in the oven at low heat. Basic jerky or biltrong. That's pretty slow and labor intensive though, so to save time if we have the "problem" of too much meat to process we'll inject a curing brine into larger cuts then smoke them in the smoker, then dry rub more curing salt on the outside for longer term storage afterwards. I do like the curing agents over straight drying, dehydrating, and/or smoking, less bacteria and longer shelf life. Thoughts, or better ideas?

    The Morton Salt meat curing guide attached too, if anyone's interested.
     

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  8. poltiregist

    poltiregist Legendary Survivalist
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    I consider drying and curing meat as an important skill as fire building .After all you can eat meat raw if you have no fire but you can't eat rotten meat . We are set up to cure at least a deer size animal at a time , using wood as our drying agent and smoke to keep the insects away . We built our smoke house for next to nothing using native materials logs and rocks . We put a tin roof on it to keep rain out . Even in my survival minded area we have the only 18th century style walk in smoke house that I am aware of . Any serious minded prepper that plans to bug in should have a smoke house .
     
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  9. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
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    Do you hot smoke meat in it, and with no preservatives other than smoke? Flavor is way down on my list, "preserved" and "quickly" are the top two requirements. If you have the time and inclination I'd like to hear the details on the setup and use of yours. Meat prep, times, temps, thickness/cuts, etc.
     
  10. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    In Southern Appalachia, it's salt pork.

    I've downed enough sodium to replace all the salt in the Dead Sea should it ever go fresh water.

    Fish, I love kippered herring. Canned kippers will last three or four years and man do I ever like kippers and crackers for lunch! Since the bones are still in there (they go soft), you got your calcium for your nerve and bone health.

    My grandparents ate FAR too much salt! Salt killed the dickens out of them when they were only in their 90s.
     
  11. elkhound

    elkhound Master Survivalist
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    i see you listed tender quick in your preps....forgive me if you know this...you cant cure meat using only smoking....hold on yall listen to me...lol..i been through this post in other forums....you have to cure meat first especially larger cuts like shoulders and hams etc. first then smoke them.that being said..you can just smoke it like in old days but reality of it is in these old pictures all the meat is cut thin and its a combo of drying and smoking thats preserving it.smoke is a 'form' of formaldehyde. its not true curing its drying you gotta use a nitrate/nitrite to get safe and best results. some folks are trying to use plant based..i.e. celery...and its not been working out for them like they hoped.

    i see you mentioned syringe to inject around the bone....another route or tool is whats called a bone gouge knife..its used to work the bone to make a boneless rear quarter and allows brine inside like that.theres also dry brineing/curing and liquid brineing...i have had deer hams done by a friend that were soaked for 2 weeks in solution. my experience is in dry curing though.

    the best book is the old morton salt book from the 1940's ..its about 50 pages long and is filled with more info over the new ones..or at least the new ones i have seen.

    my grandfather..rest his soul...done lots of curing..but he didnt really know the art of it.he just salted it..way to much. but that another story for another time on why.

    but anyway it takes far less brine or rub than many think it does.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
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  12. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
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    I absolutely love smoked meats but unfortunately, the odor will be a huge drawing card for attracting troublesome hungry folks during a prolonged SHTF situation.

    I wonder if an expedient filter of some sort could be made to mitigate this problem? Even if that is possible, the odor will still leak out of the smokehouse itself... Would a partially underground root-cellar style smokehouse work? Because I live in lots-of-bears country, I have not had the gumption to even try to build a smokehouse because I would need to construct it out of concrete to keep them out!


    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  13. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    OK, so smoked salt pork. Everybody had a smokehouse up in the mountains. Instantly, my great-grandmother's smokehouse popped into my mind ... plus the taste of ham and gravy. Dear God is my stomach growling or what!

    The smokehouse is a big dehydrator, sure; but remember that the chemicals produced in smoking are insect repellents. You can't have meat crawling with flies and whatever else!

    Ham ...... time for supper ........ gotta eat.
     
  14. poltiregist

    poltiregist Legendary Survivalist
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    we use salt when preserving large pieces of meat , such as a hog ham . Sometimes no salt when making jerky . How long the jerky will last without salt , I don't know because it is eaten up within two months , because we like the jerky . Some type flavoring on the jerky makes it better , your imagination is pretty much the limit on flavoring jerky . As for as the large salted chunks of meat , I probably use too much salt , its preserved but the outer portions are bit saltier than we like . No doubt jerky dipped in brine would make it last longer . I really am not sure if what we do in the smoke house is considered hot smoked or not . We simply hang raw meat about 3 feet above a slow smoldering fire . We prefer green hickory wood , a chunk of hickory about 10 inches in diameter will smoke and smolder about 20 hour . We just check on our fire 2 or 3 times a day and add another piece of hickory when needed . Hickory smoke adds a good taste to the meat . We are not cooking the meat over the fire but are drying it out and the smoke keeps insects away while it cures . That's why you need a dirt floor in the smoke house and the walls built to contain the smoke but you need some ventilation for the smoke to escape and allow oxygen in . I have seen smoke house diagrams that put the fire outside the smokehouse and piped in . I have never tried to cure meat with an outside source . I simply do it the way they did it in the 18 century with a smoldering fire inside the smoke house . It will take 2 to 4 days to cure your meat , but just check on it once in a while , you will probably know when it's cured . This isn't a fast cure process but you can cure large quantities at a time .
     
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  15. elkhound

    elkhound Master Survivalist
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    for me i am going to can up lots of meat.its easy fast and safe and i done it so much i can about do it with my eyes closed.get serious and get yaself an all american canner....it will last a lifetime. just dont warp its bottom on open flame or propane flame.



    11-17-09019.jpg
     
  16. elkhound

    elkhound Master Survivalist
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    i knockem back with the hotwire...lol
     
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  17. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
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    Even the stoutest hot-wire has not worked in my area against some of the more determined bears. They are so bad here, that even my nearest neighbor's fruit trees in the valley are not safe and usually end up broken from nighttime depredations. (I have not bothered to plant any because we all have to sleep sometime!)


    .
     
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  18. elkhound

    elkhound Master Survivalist
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  19. elkhound

    elkhound Master Survivalist
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    i am changing over to high tinsel hot wire....they wont break it nor get through it spaced correctly.
     
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  20. elkhound

    elkhound Master Survivalist
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    jurassic orchard...lol...before i hung gate


    7-18-10023.JPG

    see how to jump the electric from wire to wire

    7-18-10069.JPG
     
  21. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    Pool salt is just rock mineral salt just as it comes from the mine. Since it is going to be just dumped in the pool or used in a water softener it isn't refined or anything needed to be added to it. We went salt water with a chlorinator our pool for a couple of years. It was kind of nice not to get all wrinkly if you stayed in it all day.
     
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  22. poltiregist

    poltiregist Legendary Survivalist
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    A thing or two I forgot to answer for Gate Crasher , I cut the jerky thin about quarter inch thick and add the flavoring before drying . I have a frame built of boards with the bottom made of wire mesh , I think they call hardware cloth . On this frame I space out my jerky cuts and the wire mesh allows the smoke to filter through the meat . The frame is suspended by wires from the ceiling , The dryer your jerky is will have a lot to do with its shelf life . As for as the large salt meat pieces , I don't think mine would last as long as store bought but will last a few weeks . Perhaps I am wrong but it seems to me injecting the meat with even more salt would make it not eatable except for someone desperate . I have been told right or wrong meat processors routinely inject embalming fluid into meat to make it last longer and that is likely the answer to the their long lasting hams . What I am looking for when curing a large piece of meat is for the outer part of the meat to form a dry rind . This dry rind is what protects the inner meat .
     
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  23. elkhound

    elkhound Master Survivalist
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    the reason to use tender quick is for the nitrite/nitrates in it.when it enters meat it has a chemical reaction and this is what gives it that red hew look if properly done.this chemical reactions causes..something another..forget the term...but it fixes it so bacteria has no/or less chance to grow.thats what gives its shelf life.here in my area they use to cure hams when a daughter was born and after it cured was wrapped and saved till her wedding day...think about that time period.

    also dont confuse the nitrate/nitrite mixes up..often called pink salt...or prague powder theres a #1 and a #2 with Himalayan salt...i seen many call Himalayan salt pink salt and it has nothing to do with curing..Himalayan salt only has all its minerals left in it.its best salt on food at table ever...french fries salt with it are awesome. but its expensive.

    be careful to with the number 1 and 2 as they have different amounts of stuff in them and go by different recipes. in other words watch how you interchange prague pwders with tender quick. i dont use the powders as tender quick is readily available here in my local stores.
     
  24. elkhound

    elkhound Master Survivalist
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  25. poltiregist

    poltiregist Legendary Survivalist
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    Anyone that doesn't have a plan on preserving food will likely have a hard time surviving a prolonged no power , thus no store period .Most gardens produce only part of the year and with no electric or propane to heat a green house , preserving food would be critical . As for as meat , during bad weather snow . rain or ice , even the wild critters find a place to go to get out of the weather , a hole in the ground , hollow tree , or a wisely built nest to retreat to . Everyone should access their particular expected situation as to their food source , vegetable , meat or both and how much . That should dictate how they plan to preserve their food , canned in jars or dehydrated . It would take a lot of jars and a lot of jar lids to put enough sustainable food in the stash for a group to live off of for months . Which brings up a question , does any on here have experience using those reusable lids ? I would like their feed back on that . As for as drying meat , it might last only a month or two but how often do you think you could resupply your smoke house with fresh meat ? Planning to rely on domestic critters, make sure you have a way to feed them 12 months out of the year with no motorized equipment or feed store to run to .
     
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    1. coffee
      I have a supply of these resealable lids, but have not used them, yet.
       
      coffee, Jun 19, 2019
  26. lonewolf

    lonewolf Legendary Survivalist Staff Member
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    which is why most of us plan on having a stockpile of stored food before the sticky stuff hits the rotating blades!:p
     
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  27. Ystranc

    Ystranc Master Survivalist
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    Wales is a gentle environment compared to many places around the world, usually we have plentiful rainfall and good long growing seasons. I have a highly productive 40' greenhouse that backs onto a large potting shed/vegetable store/game safe, part of which is heated by a wood burner which in turn warms the green house. This shed is also where I do most of my butchering and prepping game. I keep sheep and pigs, I also hunt and trap small game, tap trees and keep my own bees.
    I find winter to be an easy time to hunt, January is when my best permission for shooting rabbits and pheasants opens up. I fish whenever I can get across to the coast (an hour by car, three hours by pushbike) I can cold smoke or hot smoke in a cabinet that can hook up to the pottingshed wood burner or have a big can of oak shavings put in on the floor with a chunk of red hot iron to start the shavings smouldering. Truthfully I smoke more for flavour than preserving but it serves for both. Most of the fish that I smoke is caught by beach casting or night lines. Salt, brine, honey or sugar will improve both the flavour and the time that you can preserve meat or fish by acting as a desiccant to dry the meat faster as it smokes. I own a wood fired Rayburn stove which can be used to desiccate meat, fruit and vegetables as well as cook and provide hot water. A really good stock of pure salt will also mean that you can ferment or pickle vegetables. For canning meats long term you may want to invest in a pressure canner some reusable canning jars and a whole load of replacement seals (they just don't last)
    I also make sausages which I smoke and dry. I store grains and own my own small hand mill.
    I'm not going to go hungry.
     
  28. poltiregist

    poltiregist Legendary Survivalist
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    Sounds like you have a realistic and solid plan .
     
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  29. Ystranc

    Ystranc Master Survivalist
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    I forgot to mention the fruit trees, I have over 60 young apple trees. Around 10 years old but enough to allow me to make enough cider for drinking or cider vinegar for pickles. I also have figs, pears,mirabilum, quince and cherries.
    I planted the higher value fruiting trees for our own use and the apples as a heritage orchard.
    We also keep hens but at the moment we have no rooster so I need to look out for one.
     
  30. Yenix

    Yenix Well-Known Member
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    Acutally, in Russia they often use their "saunas" or better said black banyas to smoke meat. Major drawback is, that you smell like smoked meat when you leave the banya, but there is only a small vent for the smoke to come out, so I believe it can be managed to put some filter here...

    https://infox.tv/videos/99260/gotovim-myaso-v-bane-po-chernomu-1-1/
     
  31. coffee

    coffee Expert Member
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    Thank you for this Morton Salt Meat Curing Guide. I need to practice this, soon. Again, Thanks
     
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  32. Coprepper

    Coprepper Expert Member
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    I plan on preserving my meat and fish by pressure canning. I have an All American 941 + two Mirro 22 qts and several smaller pressure canners. I have a propane kitchen stove + a Stovetek rocket stove for when the propane runs out. I also have 3 wood burning stoves so I can have many canners going at once should I need to can up a large deer or a freezer full of food if the grid goes down.
     
  33. Caribou

    Caribou Master Survivalist
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    I have two old Burpee canners that will each hold two cases of pints and a smaller All American pressure canner. I have 20+ cases of empty Mason jars plus whatever is only shelves with food in them. I just picked up ten+ cases of mason jars at a garage sale, some in unopened cases. I really haven't counted all my jars but "enough" is a fair approximation. I could can my two freezers of food before it went bad.

    The wife wanted a new BBQ grill. My only input is that it should have a burner for a pot on the side. I told her that we could can outside in the summer without overheating the house. I "forgot" to mention that we could can if our power and gas got shut down. We also have a couple of Coleman camp stoves that would do in a pinch.

    I have one case of Tattler wide mouth lids and half a case of regular mouth Tattler lids. Most are new in the box but some I have been reusing for 30+ years. They cost more but are worth it. Get extra gaskets. The lids and gaskets are reusable but I ruined a bunch of gaskets by overfilling a batch of beans and the gaskets were pushed out and became misshapen. The directions are slightly different but nothing major. You need to tighten the rings immediately after removing from the pressure canner.

    I have used Little Chiefs smokers, old refrigerators, outhouse size, and friends of mine have a smokehouse the size of a cabin. I wouldn't want to move into it but I've lived in smaller places. I mostly smoked fish but chicken and turkey found their way into the smoker for flavour and cheese just for fun.

    I found one jar of home smoked salmon that had been forgotten, at the back of the bottom shelf, for 20 years. I wish I'd forgotten more of that, boy was that good.
     
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  34. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    The only method I see as being sustainable post TEOTWAWKI, is drying. It does not require anything but the process of drying.
    Keith.
     
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