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Sigma 3 Survival School released an excellent video that shows hunters and survivalists the finer points of smoking and drying meat around the campfire. They point out that meat preservation is one of the core skills that survivalists should spend time learning, and with hunting season coming up now is the time to practice it.

The traditional native American design uses a tripod with a number of smaller cross-pieces to hang meat strips from. A small fire is lit underneath to provide the smoke that cures the meat and keeps bugs away as well as adding flavor. The air currents from the fire, which is much too small to actually cook the meat, constantly circulate the air around the strips in order to help the moisture evaporate.


If you happen to go out and get a deer this fall, this method is an interesting alternative to traditional processing. Since most of the meat is made into jerky, the best parts of the deer are usually cooked right away. The liver and heart have been traditionally cooked directly on the coals for centuries by hunters who relied on the meat that they took. The backstraps make excellent jerky, but some hunters might not want to give up what’s widely seen as the best cut. Thighs can be used for jerky, along with the plate and  haunches, but cuts with too much sinew or fat tend to be extremely chewy and unappetizing unless cooked in a stew after drying.