Meat Preservation Tips from “Dropped: Project Alaska”

Guest post from Chris Keefer, part of the brother team who spent 28 days floating 100 plus river miles in Dropped: Project Alaska. Catch the Keefers Tuesday nights at 9 pm E/P.

Time to hit the river! I was so excited to finally get into the rafts and explore what adventures lie ahead of us. That was until I got around the first bends and realized what they meant by “Float Dragging” Alaska! Having only traveled about three miles on the river and dragging about two of them, I realized that this was going to be the longest 100 miles of river I had ever seen.  We were certainly thrown into all that Alaska had to offer in the first little bit of our float trip and we had to adjust on the fly and realize that we were not on a nice “AuSable” river float trip, but that we were in the heart of Alaska battling everything from rapids and boulders to low water and dragging!

Once Casey and I got to camp that first night, we had to set it up quickly and then turn our attention to the most important thing, which was the meat. We set up another Cache on a point near camp just far enough away that predators wouldn’t be a threat if they decided to have a snack.

Here are a few things to remember if you are trying to keep meat for an extended period of time. This certainly came in handy for Casey and I!

  1. Always build your Cache on a point on the river if you can with the front of Cache facing the wind. This will give you a constant air flow over the meat cooling it down to a temperature that will help keep it longer
  2. Build the Cache up with what you have available to you to get the meat off the ground and out of the dirt. Casey and I had Red Willows available to us and we used a layer inbetween each section of meat so we could separate the meat.
  3. Make sure that you have some sort of tarp or covering over the meat to protect it from the weather. Alaska weather can turn on you in a flash and if you don’t have the meat covered, it could get cause mold.
  4. For times when the temperature would rise about 40 degrees, we would use a solution of Citric Acid to spray on the meat. This causes a layer of meat to harden and form a “crust.” One advantage in warm weather is that flies and other animals cannot penetrate the meat to lay eggs, which will eventually cause the meat to spoil. You can get this solution at any Feed and Grain store. It comes in a powder form that you mix with water.

These are just a few tips if you have to hit the Backcounty and preserve your meat for an extended period of time.  After reaching camp that first night on the river and settling in, we turned our attention to the meat and had another amazing meal provided by Mother Nature herself!! Caribou never tasted so good!!

  • rowden

    did you eat or discard the meat harden by the citric acid? did you respray with the acid?

    • Nurul

      You need to know the difference bewteen poisonous plants and edible plants. Also, you need to know the difference bewteen Caribou and Moose. Alexander Supertramp made that mistake and it cost him his life.I would suggest reading a lot of wilderness novels that do NOT romanticize the wild. For example, Don’t read Call of the Wild’. Instead, read Hatchet’ by Gary Paulson, and Into the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer. Into the Wild seems boring(and it is), but it highlights the mistakes of a man that tried to survive in the Alaskan Wilderness.

  • Danilo

    Instead of preparing for the riclouidus senarios of long-term survival in the wilderness, prepare for short-term events with a higher probability of happening. You are not going to be able to live off the land in the long-term. During the past million years of human evolution, the population of the world was less than one billion. There is a reason: almost no one survives as a hunter-gatherer. Only the development of agriculture during the past 10,000 years began to increase survival rates for human beings. So, if you want to survive a long-term disaster, become a subsistence farmer, without mechanization, pesticides, herbicides, or petroleum-based fertilizer.