smoke meat

How to Dry and Smoke Meat and Fish for Storage

Whether you are smoking or drying large quantities of fish from a fish wheel or the meat from a large animal, like a moose, elk or cow, or a couple of rabbits the method is the same.  It is just a matter of scale. In Alaska, they often dry and smoke meat and fish in large quantities. A good source of information on this is Village Science.  They explain how the native Americans in the small villages smoke and dry their food.

First understand that smoking and drying fish and meat does not have to be very complicated.  The following information comes from the US Army Survival Manual and it works

“To smoke meat, prepare an enclosure around a fire (Figure 8-27).  Two ponchos snapped together will work (or an old tarp, Howard).  The fire does not need to be big or hot.  The intent is to produce smoke, not heat. Do not use resinous wood in the fire because its smoke will ruin the meat. Use hardwoods to produce good smoke.  The wood should be somewhat green. If it is too dry, soak it. Cut the meat into thin slices, no more than 6 centimeters (approximately ¼ inch)  thick, and drape them over a framework. Make sure none of the meat touches another piece.  Keep the poncho enclosure around the meat to hold the smoke and keep a close watch on the fire.  Do not let the fire get too hot.  Meat smoked overnight in this manner will last about 1 week.  Two days of continuous smoking will preserve the meat for 2 to 4 weeks.  Properly smoked meat will look like a dark, curled, brittle stick and you can eat it without further cooking.  You can also use a pit to smoke meat.

smoke meat
A pit smoker

Drying Meat To preserve meat by drying, cut it into 6-millimeter  strips with the grain. Hang the meat strips on a rack in a sunny location with good airflow.  Keep the strips out of the reach of animals and cover them to keep blowflies off.  Allow the meat to dry thoroughly before eating.  Properly dried meat will have a dry, crisp texture and will not feel cool to the touch.”

To preserve food for longer periods of time just smoke meat and fish for longer time periods.  You can also partially smoke it and then finish drying it.  If you want dried meat to keep for long periods you should dry it until it snaps when you try to bend it.

smoke meatsmoke meats

Here is a plan for a more permanent smoker.  In the future, I will post plans for a couple of different types.



2 thoughts on “How to Dry and Smoke Meat and Fish for Storage”

  1. This was a very informative article. I do a lot of canning and have been looking into smoking meats for a different flavor. Thank you sharing your knowledge.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get our very best prepping advice delivered to your email box weekly