While I think jerky and smoking is the tastiest way to preserve meat, this is another method someone told me about.
Potted meat or meat potting began as a way to preserve meat before the age of refrigeration. When people slaughtered their own animals, the amount of meat produced was usually much more than could be eaten before the meat began to rot. People evolved other methods for saving this extra meat for later too, such as dry curing and smoking. Potting meat was another means of storing food, and that old tradition lives on today in several parts of the United States.
Potted Meat: A Lost Skill Of Long Term Meat Storage
Early potted meat usually involved the meat of one animal only, most commonly pork. Meat might be ground, or not, and then cooked. The most common method was to use chunks of meat well cooked. The fat from these chunks of meat was saved and poured onto and around the meat, usually in large jars or in a large crock pot and the fat would help keep the meat from decomposition. Some people added spices to the meat, or made sausages from it, so the meat preserved this way had more flavor. As much meat as possible was pressed into the jars so that they formed a compressed, relatively soft end product. This is how we did it. I remember when early in the morning dad killed a pig and started cutting it up. He gave the pieces to mom who had the wood stove in the kitchen hot and ready to cook. She started frying the pork and prepared the 10 gallon crock pot. This pot was about 18 inches in diameter and 24 inches deep. Mother washed it, and got it just as clean as she could get it. As the pork fried, it gave off lots of grease. She took some of this very hot grease and poured it into the bottom of the crock, sealing and sterilizing the bottom. Then she put the meat she had just finished cooking down onto this grease.
As she continued to cook throughout the day she added the well fried meat and covered it with the hot fat that came from the cooking process. By the evening the pig was all fried-up and in the pot, covered over with a nice layer of lard that had hardened. As the days passed by, we dug down into the lard to where the meat was, pulled out what we needed, and put it in the frying pan. We cooked it a second time to kill any bacteria that could have possibly gotten into it. Doing this not only re-sterilized the meat for eating, but melted off all the excess fat. The meat was taken out of the pan and the fat was poured back into the pot to seal up the hole we had just made getting the meat out.
If you found this recipe useful then you should read ‘The Lost Ways book‘ where you’ll find many more lost recipes from the pioneers who conquered the west.
The next video shows us how to make pemmican…another recipe from The Lost Ways book.
Video first seen on Survivopedia.com
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