dan long wrote:American indians obviously didn't have dehydrators and the ovens they would have used wouldn't have allowed moisture to escape. I'm under the impression that most of the salmon caught by PNW natives was smoked but I would like to avoid that for fear of increasing my families risk of cancer. After all, if smoking the meat was ok, why not just use nitrates?
Is anyone aware of a recipe that will produce safe jerky even without cool, dry weather? The PNW has two kinds of weather: cold and wet, and hot and dry. Taiwan, where I am now has hot/wet and hot/dry.
Google is disappointing me as far as practical methods of meat preservation go but I wonder if combining different techniques wouldn't produce a safe dry meat product? Perhaps blanching meat in a vinegar/salt solution with some preservative spice mix (curry, five spice, chili powder) then hanging it to dry in front of a fan? Would a three-pronged approach (vinegar, salt and spices) like this compensate for the less than ideal weather?
Roger Taylor wrote:
There was a Ray Mears show where he was with a group of the american indians, and they dried meat on a wooden stand above a fire. And did other american indian food preservation. It might have been Ray Mears' Bushcraft S02E03 - American Prairies.
Michael Cox wrote:The Ray Mears clip was the one I was going to recommend. It is basically a hot-smoke making a scaffold over a fire from lashed branches. Strips of jerky are hung to smoke inside the scaffold, and outside the scaffold is covered (eq with green conifer branches) to trap the smoke and act as a chimney drawing hot air past the meat.
As I understand it the drying and smoke together form the preservative - the smoke coats the meat and penetrates slightly forming a slight moisture barrier at the surface. The smoke has slight anti-bacterial properties.
I'm curious about your view that smoked foods could cause cancers - I understand the concern of inhaling smoke, but as far as I know ingested smoked products do not have similar concerns. Most smoke products should be broken down the in gut along with everything else.
John Master wrote:We have a dehydrator but maybe setting up a small rocket stove type unit with the exhaust used as a heat source would work. We take lean cuts, dehydrate for about 8 hours til they are dried but not leather, shred them in a "ninja" style food processor blender into a fluffy fiber. After that pour the melted fat over it and add the syrup and cranberries. The fat encapsulates the meat preserving it for long periods. Sans food processor I am sure the Indians would have used some sort of rock kind of tool to pulverize it into a shred.