How To Preserve Meat

If you want to learn how to preserve meat, there are several methods available. The oldest traditional method is salting the meat. Preserving meat by salting it dates back beyond the Revolutionary war. The best method for preserving flavor is to freeze meat. You can also turn your cut of meat into jerky, which is a great take along for outdoor activities.

To preserve meat, you will need:

  • Meat
  • Freezer paper
  • Coarse Kosher Salt
  • Cheese cloth
  1. Freeze the meat. Prepare the meat for freezing by rinsing it in clear water. Trim off excess fat. Dry the meat thoroughly by patting it with clean paper towels. Place the meat in the center of a sheet of freezer paper. Fold the freezer paper around the meat, fold in the sides, and fold the final flap over. Secure the freezer paper with tape and label the package before placing in the freezer.
  2. Salt the meat. Salting meat draws out moisture and creates an environment that prohibits the growth of bacteria. Prepare the meat for salting by rinsing it in running water. Trim off excess fat. Dry the meat thoroughly by patting it with clean paper towels. Rub coarse kosher salt into every inch of the meat. Finish salting by coating the entire piece of meat with a layer of salt. Wrap the salted meat in cheese cloth.  Hang the meat in a cool room (59 degrees F) for two to three weeks. Check the meat every three days for foul smells. The mean should have a mild smell.
  3. Driy the meat. Wash the meat and place in the freezer and partially freeze the meat to make it easier to cut into thin strips. Cut off as much fat as possible. Marinade the strips of meat in a basic vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt mixture. To flavor the dried preserved meat (jerky), add your favorite spices or herbs to the marinade. Place the meat strips in a large dish, cover with marinade, cover with plastic wrap or foil, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove the meat strips from the marinade and cover with your favorite seasoning and spices, including salt, which will aid in dehydrating the meat. Place the seasoned meat strips on a baking sheet in a preheated oven set to 150 degrees F for two to six hours depending on the thickness of the meat. To check for dehydration, cut a strip of jerky to check for dehydration inside the meat. When done the jerky will a have burgundy or deep brown color. Store the preserved meat in a plastic zip lock bag, sterilized jar and place in the refrigerator or freezer until used.

Tips and Warnings:

  • When preserving meat, remove as much visible fat as possible. Fat content can cause preserved meat to spoil quicker.  
  • Remember to label and date each piece, package, or container of meat before storing.
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