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4 Ways to preserve meat in a survival situation
By Cassie B. // Jan 24, 2022

When it comes to survival, food is one of the biggest concerns and is often one of the first things that people start stocking up on when prepping. And while having a big supply of shelf-stable food that can last a long time is a basic tenet of prepping, it is equally important to know how to acquire food when your supply runs out.


One of the most energy-dense and well-rounded foods is meat, and in a survival situation, you may be able to hunt for large game. However, if you're lucky, you might end up with more meat than you can reasonably eat while it's still fresh. In these cases, you need to know how to preserve meat effectively without modern technology so that none of your hard work goes to waste. Here is a look at some of the most popular ways you can preserve meat in a survival situation.

Salt curing

Salt curing is one of the best-known methods of preserving meat and has been used for thousands of years. In particular, it has been used to create stable long-haul rations for sailors, soldiers and explorers going on long journeys who needed to eat well.

It preserves meat in two ways. First, it changes the pH of the meat in a way that makes it hostile to microscopic life. Meanwhile, the dehydration component of salt curing makes the meat a completely inhospitable environment for most microorganisms, including those that can lead to decay.

Keep in mind, however, that it does dramatically alter the taste and texture of meat, although many people find its flavor pleasing. In fact, salted meats form the basis of many popular cultural and regional dishes that are enjoyed throughout the world. Moreover, salt's wide availability and the ease of salt curing makes it one of the best ways to preserve meat.


Smoking is another effective way to preserve meat that has been used for many years. In accomplishes much of this preservation by dehydrating the meat and killing off the microorganisms inside of it. However, it also heats the meat, which can further destroy any microorganisms that are lingering inside.

One aspect of smoking meat that makes it particularly popular is its flavor. Meat is often smoked for its superior taste even outside of survival situations. Meat from all manner of animals can be smoked easily. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is a heat-intensive way to preserve meat, which means it will require lots of fuel and a reliable method of starting a fire and keeping it going.


When it comes to longevity, freezing is one of the best ways to preserve meat. It works by placing the food in stasis, at least when it comes to the microorganisms that typically cause spoiling and decay in food. Many bacteria and other types of microscopic life are destroyed when they are frozen because the low temperature causes their cellular bodies to rupture.

However, the main drawback is that you need to be in a very cold place that encounters ongoing freezing temperatures to depend on it or have access to a freezer, which is not always feasible in a survival situation.


Another simple and straightforward way of preserving meat that goes back many years is drying. By eliminating the moisture in the meat, you can ensure that bacteria and other microorganisms will not be able to survive inside of it. It is also a very easy method that can be used in the open air, with help from the sun or using other approaches, like hot air convection.

In a survival situation, meat could be a precious resource, and it is essential to act quickly if you encounter bigger game to make sure that you will be able to benefit from its nutritious meat for as long as possible.

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