10 Ways To Store Meat Without A Refrigerator: A Survivalist’s Guide

1. Canning

Canning is an excellent method to store meat without a refrigerator. By sealing meat in airtight jars or cans, you can effectively preserve it for an extended period. The process involves cooking the meat, placing it in sterilized jars, and using a pressure canner or a water bath canner to complete the sealing process. Canned meat can last for years without refrigeration, making it a reliable option for survival situations or when faced with a power outage. However, it’s crucial to follow proper canning procedures to ensure the preservation is safe and effective.

2. Curing

Curing is a tried and tested method for preserving meat without a refrigerator. This technique involves applying a mixture of salt, sugar, and other seasonings to the meat’s surface to draw out moisture, inhibit bacterial growth, and enhance flavor. There are two primary methods of curing: dry curing and wet curing.

In dry curing, the meat is coated with the curing mixture and left to air dry. Wet curing, on the other hand, involves submerging the meat in a liquid brine solution. Whether dry or wet cured, the meat must be stored in a cool, dry place to achieve the desired preservation and taste.

3. Salting

Salting meat has been used for centuries as a way to extend its shelf life without refrigeration. By coating the meat in salt, you create an inhospitable environment for bacteria, which helps to prevent spoilage. The salt absorbs moisture from the meat, which inhibits microbial growth.

To salt meat effectively, follow these steps:

  • Cover the meat in a generous layer of salt, ensuring that all surfaces are adequately coated.
  • Store the salted meat in a cool, dry place, preferably hanging in a well-ventilated area.

Regularly checking the meat for any signs of spoilage is essential to ensure its quality and safety.

Salt is a natural preservative that inhibits bacterial growth.

Remember, salting meat is a time-tested method to keep it fresh for longer periods.

4. Dehydrating

Dehydrating meat is a popular method of preservation that removes all moisture from the meat, making it inhospitable for bacteria to grow. There are several ways to dehydrate meat, including using an electric dehydrator, an oven, or even the sun. The meat is thinly sliced, seasoned if desired, and then dried at a low temperature over an extended period. Once fully dehydrated, the meat can be stored in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed to prevent air and moisture from affecting its quality. Dehydrated meat can last for months or even years and retains much of its nutritional value, making it an excellent survival food.

5. Smoking

Smoking is a traditional method of meat preservation that adds flavor and acts as a natural preservative. The smoke from a controlled fire introduces compounds that inhibit bacterial growth and slow down the meat’s spoilage process.

Some important points about smoking include:

  • There are various techniques for smoking meat, such as hot smoking and cold smoking.
  • Hot smoking involves cooking the meat while smoking it.
  • Cold smoking is a longer process that preserves the meat without cooking it.

  • After smoking, the smoked meat can be stored in a cool, dry place.

  • To further preserve the smoked meat, it can be vacuum-sealed or canned.

In summary, smoking is a traditional method of meat preservation that not only adds flavor but also acts as a natural preservative. Depending on the desired outcome, different techniques such as hot smoking or cold smoking can be employed. The smoked meat can be stored in a cool, dry place or further preserved through vacuum-sealing or canning.

6. Pemmican

Pemmican is a native American method of meat preservation that combines dried meat, animal fat, and dried fruits or berries. The meat is first dried, either through traditional methods or using a food dehydrator. Once sufficiently dried, it is ground into a powder and mixed with melted fat. Additional ingredients, such as dried fruits or berries, can be added for flavor and nutrition. Pemmican can be stored in airtight containers or formed into small cakes for convenience. This highly shelf-stable and compact food source was favored by explorers and frontiersmen due to its long-lasting energy and nutrition.

7. Salt Curing

Salt curing is a widely used method for preserving pork, bacon, and other meats. To apply this method, the meat is generously coated with salt and left to cure for an extended period of time. The salt acts as a drying agent, drawing out moisture from the meat and creating an environment that inhibits bacterial growth. Once the initial curing process is complete, the meat is rinsed to remove any excess salt and can then be further dried or smoked. This results in a finished product that can be stored for extended periods of time in a cool, dry place before consumption.

8. Biltong

Biltong is a dried meat delicacy with origins in South Africa. Unlike beef jerky, it is commonly made from game meat or beef. The preparation involves marinating thin strips of meat in a mixture of vinegar and spices, such as coriander and black pepper. After marinating, the meat is air-dried either by hanging in a well-ventilated area or using a food dehydrator.

The resulting biltong is flavorful, high in protein, and can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration. This makes it an excellent survival food option for situations where fresh meat is not easily accessible.

In summary:

  • Biltong is a dried meat delicacy originating from South Africa.
  • It is typically made from game meat or beef.
  • The meat is marinated in a mixture of vinegar and spices.
  • Biltong can be air-dried by hanging or using a food dehydrator.
  • It is rich in flavor, packed with protein, and has a long shelf life.

What are the 10 methods of meat preservation?

In addition to the aforementioned methods, there are a few other ways to preserve meat. One method is fermenting, where the meat is exposed to beneficial bacteria or yeast which helps preserve it. Another method is salting, which involves coating the meat in salt to draw out moisture and create an environment that is unfavorable for bacteria growth. Vacuum packing is also commonly used, where the meat is sealed in airtight packaging to prevent oxygen from reaching it, thereby delaying spoilage. Lastly, one can use a combination of methods to preserve meat, such as using a combination of curing, smoking, and refrigeration to ensure long-term preservation while also adding flavor.

How long can meat be kept without refrigeration?

Without refrigeration, meat can typically be kept at room temperature for up to two hours. However, it's important to note that this timeframe can vary depending on the temperature and humidity of the environment. Factors such as exposure to sunlight or fluctuating temperatures can accelerate the spoilage process. To ensure food safety, it is recommended to consume or refrigerate perishable items like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy within the first two hours. This helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses.

How can I preserve food for years without refrigeration?

Another way to preserve food for years without refrigeration is through canning. This method involves sealing food in airtight containers, such as glass jars, and heating them to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. The vacuum-sealed environment prevents spoilage and allows the food to be stored for extended periods. Additionally, fermenting is an ancient preservation technique that can be used for various foods. By harnessing the power of beneficial bacteria, fermentation not only preserves the food but also enhances its flavor and nutritional value. This method works well for vegetables, fruits, and even dairy products like yogurt and cheese.

How do you store meat so it doesn't go bad?

To store meat and prevent it from going bad, it is important to follow a few key steps. First, make sure to properly package the meat to avoid any leaks or cross-contamination. By sealing the meat in airtight containers or zip-top bags, you can prevent bacteria from entering and causing spoilage. Additionally, placing a tray or plate underneath the meat can catch any potential leaks and further prevent contamination.

Furthermore, it is essential to store the meat at a consistent low temperature. The bottom shelf of the fridge is the ideal location for this, as it ensures a cooler environment that inhibits the growth of bacteria. Make sure to adjust the temperature of your fridge to maintain the recommended range for preserving meat, typically around 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 4 degrees Celsius). By adhering to these guidelines, you can maximize the shelf life of your meat and minimize the risk of it spoiling.