I’d like to get to a point where I no longer need electric refrigeration; I can either store my food in a root cellar, dry it or can it. I haven’t much experimented with drying meats until Penny asked me to make her some deer jerky so she would have something to snack on at work. With plenty of deer meat still in the freezer, I thawed out a ham, cut the meat from the bone and scraped the small amount of sinew from the meat to dry for making string.
Once I had some solid chunks of meat I decided to play with my stone tools and see how they fare in comparison to my sharpened, modern knife. I had an obsidian edge that I knapped a while ago and a simple flake knife made from river stone. I also needed a meat tenderizer, so I grabbed my trusty “spalling” stone that also doubles as a bow-drill hand hold.
In this video you can see how easily even the dull river rock flake knife can cut the meat.
After you cut the meat into little strips you’ll want to flatten them a bit by smashing them with a rock or something. Don’t hit them to hard because you’ll pulverize them. Remember, you want strips not bits.
Next I marinate the meat in a mix of sauces and leave it overnight. Everyone has a different sauce, some people only use salt water, while some people use no sauces at all. Salt can dehydrate you on the trail so you can make just plan dried jerky for back-packing and that kind of outing. It won’t preserve as long, but if you store it in a cool dry place it will last a while.
After marinating over night I put the meat in my dehydrator for the day. You can also put it in the over at like 150 degrees for 8 hours or so. Primitively you’d hang it near a fire for warm and air flow to dry it out and also smoke it.
A few hours later…
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