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.

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!!