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Thread: making jerky without salt

  1. #1
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    Default making jerky without salt

    Hi: I am wanting to spend some time in the bush and plan on eating only meat for the month. Can I make jerky, dry my meat, safely without using salt. Salt is good for flavour but do I absolutely need it to dry my meat safely. The problem I have with most salted dried meats is that they have a heavy salt mix and salt is simply not good for you in high quantities. I am trying not to carry too much into the bush with me. A bag of salt would really be a hassle.

    Any informed thoughts on this? Suggested reading.

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    Member pacific-23's Avatar
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    Salt is a safety barrier to microbial growth before the water content of the meat is lowered enough to become stable. That being said I have eaten meat and fish jerky that had no salt. Thin cut strips are key as it needs to dry much more quickly.

  3. #3
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Salt helps with the bacterial growth and with removing moisture from the meat which also helps with slowing down bacterial growth. Humans ate dried meat for millions of years without much salt if any. Eating bad food killed millions of humans for millions of years as well. Natives in AK still dry fish on racks in the sun without preservation chemicals. They freeze dry red meat in the winter as well for summer storage. These cultures also eat fermented meats so their gut biology is much more robust than city folks. A yummy treat for them may put you in the ICU for a week.

    If you are headed into an area where you can reliably build a hot smoker system or a solar dehydrator to over come moisture in the meat you can skip the salt.

  4. #4
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    I've made dry meat this year without salt. I used other spices instead and even made one batch with nothing. Do you have a dehydrator?
    My wife isn't to keen on the native way of making dry meat (I prefer the native way) so I bought a dehydrator and have eaten possibly three batches of dried/jerky with no issues. I used moose meat though and I did cut very thin and used cuts with very little fat (possibly no fat).

    WHile I was making my dried meat, I just used a light coat of spices over the meat then used paper clips to hang the meat in the pantry. When i used the dehydrator I used a wet marinade or nothing.

    Good Luck and make sure you make a sample batch before you head out.

  5. #5
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    At a minimum I would want to smoke it to dry it out. The smoke might keep some of the bugs off it too.

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    Sounds promising.

    And yes I have been practicing this skill. I would not be wise not to have tried it ahead of time.

  7. #7
    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    the African Biltone has no salt, and most only enough smoke to keep bugs away...

    the bigger concern would be type of meat and possible parasites...

    if drying moose, going to have to get all of the muscle larvea out. and no lung, liver, ect unless cook- or freeze for an extended time.

    if bear meat... even if dry, you ought to cook the dried meat in soup or something similar-- just too many bad things that can survive in the carcuss of bears and pigs.

    rabbit same thing if you dry- cook before eating.

    heck, lots of our forefathers ate jerky ground up, cut up into broth- not the way we enjoy today.

    And even on a limited trip- you should find labordor tea, fiddle head ferns, eximo taters, as well as hundreds of other etables.

    enjoy your trip, and take time to smell the roses- then eat some hips- good vitamum c there...

    Chris

  8. #8
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    We make dry meat from moose and caribou without salt, just cut it thin and against the grain in long strips then hang in the smokehouse ( cold smoke ) and keep the smoke going 24/7. We use dried cottonwood but green alder works good too.......................
    I once held the yardstick of anothers perfection, I threw it down and carved my own................

  9. #9
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    Here is a pic of my second batch. Each level contained a different seasoning. Top layer had salt. Bottom layer didn't. I placed meat in my pantry and let it dry for a few days.

  10. #10
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    Hot smoke moose or caribou, vacuum bag and freeze. No salt needed. Cook the moisture out.

    The Eskimo sun dry caribou without salt...

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