Storing Up Meat For Winter
In the old days folks had to store up food for the winter in order to get by. Drying meats, storing things in root cellars, utilizing the freezing temperatures, and canning got them by before modern refrigeration. Drying meat from larger game was and is a great way to store meats for people all over the world in any climate.
My brother in law is an avid hunter and has acreage deep in the woods of Missouri. He purchases his deer tags every year and is always successful bringing in a few each year either during bow season or gun season. My brother in law got a couple of deer to process and freeze this year. He is a generous man and shared with us several packages of venison tenderloin, the deer version of fillet mignon.
Yesterday I thawed a package, made two steaks that the kids and I shared for lunch and with the rest I sliced it very thinly, gave it a good salting, added some teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and steak sauce…just enough to coat the meat well…about a tablespoon of each. I let the meat sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes then broke out the dehydrator. The meat soaked up most of the marinate which is what I wanted, and I laid the meat out on the trays, set the temperature for 95°, and let it do its magic overnight. Just before bedtime, I turned the meat over to allow the other side to get thoroughly dry. I probably didn’t have to do this but my gut told me to do so anyway.
Well, today I shut off the machine (a Harvest Maid dehydrator which a few years ago we got off Craig’s List for $15) and removed the perfectly dry jerky. My son and I gave it a taste this morning and it was absolutely delicious! It gives bacon a run for the money as it is much leaner, full of protein, and just as tasty. My husband though, doesn’t agree. He doesn’t like deer meat at all! Some folks just plain don’t like it. I don’t understand it. One can’t expect it to taste like beef because it is an entirely different animal, but to each his own. Being a native Missouri girl, where deer are abundant, even to the point of pesky, I’m glad to enjoy this ecological, economical, and natural source of food.
Dried meat stores for years especially if kept out of the elements. We’ve got a gadget that attaches to our vacuum sealing machine (Food Saver) that hooks by hose to the lid of a wide mouth Mason jar and vacuums out the air in the jar. This will help this jerky store for years and years. I hope to put up more of this in our stores but it will take a lot of will power because this stuff is sooo good!