Letter Re: Salt Curing for Meat

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Jim,
This is something I hear from people often: “If things go down I’ll just salt my meat!”
My answer, “Really!!!  Do you know how??”

So here’s the question I have for you folks, assume we are now at that TEOTWAWKI. How many of you really “KNOW” how to salt the meat you have on? Or how to preserve the meat you may harvest in the future?

Everyone knows in the winter, if you’re in a cold climate just hang it, it’ll freeze. They’re right it will! Good Luck carving some for dinner. Don’t believe me? Pull out a pound of frozen burger and try to carve through it! Oh Yahhh….. Take it off the counter and suspend it in the air….now try! Not much fun! You’ll burn off those calories before you know it!
There are those out there that plan to can what is in the freezer when the power goes out.  My advice here is if you plan to can it for preservation do it NOW! When things go down we’ll all have plenty to do.  As we read daily about how crazy things are going to get during those first few days; but don’t worry you’re ready you won’t have anything better to do! Truth is if you are waiting to the last minute “you won’t have anything better to get done”. You’ll really need to have those supplies processed. So avoid the rush if you’re going to can them do it now! Why wait until it’s freezer burned.

For those that do wait or those that harvest game after the fact here’s the scoop on how to cure (preserve) with salt.
1 pound of meat = 1 ounce of salt (or 6%)(1oz to 1lb is slightly high on the 6% scale but better slightly to much then not enough)
Sounds like magic doesn’t it……LOL
For every pound of meat you need 1 ounce of salt absorbed in it to cure it.
The best method I know of is done in 3 applications.
Upon harvesting the game, DO NOT let it hang to cure or crust or even to cool!
You do not need to de-bone the game!
1. Weigh your harvest. If estimating go high. Better to much salt than not enough!
2. 1lb = 1oz (we estimate 100 lbs of meat  At 6% that’s 6 lbs. of salt)
Con’t.
3. Break the 6 lbs. of salt into 3 equal portions. ( 3 containers of 2 lbs. I actually put it in 3 contains so I don’t forget where I am in the process…..have I treated it 2 or 3 times?)
4. Apply the first container of 2 lbs. of salt. Rub it in and cover everything! Inside, outside, top, bottom, and the end of bones! All of it! It will seem like a lot but trust me it will soak in.
5. Now cover.  Feel free to hang anywhere out of the sun.  If you don’t have a way to cover your game there is a way to keep the flies and such off of your game. Use pepper!  I do believe that is why historically the two go together.  Salt cures it and pepper keeps the insects off.
6. Wait one week.  Repeat step 4 with the second container or salt.
7. Repeat 6 with third container of salt.

At this point your game is perfectly preserved.  It can be kept almost anywhere out of sunlight.  It will with stand temperatures as high as 100degrees without spoiling.  It will keep almost indefinitely.  At this point if you want to smoke it for flavor do so. 
I am sure there are some out there that will find that to be A LOT of salt!  Far too salty for their taste buds.  If that is the case soak the amount for your meal in water before cooking.  Salt is water salable and will dissolve from the meat.  Although my granny used to say “ If the soup is to salt, you used to much meat.”
Now for the fun part……..
Now that you know how much salt it REALLY takes to preserve meat, do you have enough of it in your stores!

JWR Adds: As SurvivalBlog reader S.T. from Virginia has pointed out, the salt that you use for curing should be the PLAIN (non-iodized) variety, which is typically marked "Pickling Salt."

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