To make life easier in survival situations, you will need to learn how to preserve food. If you score a large animal like a deer or elk, it is critical to be able to use all of the meat available. Unless you have a large group, you will not be able to consume an entire elk at one time. Add to this the fact that you cannot guarantee being able to take an animal on a daily basis. Any preservation that you accomplish will have to be done without power.

One of the best ways to preserve meat is to smoke it. This technique is similar to turning it into jerky, which works well on most meats. This is accomplished in the following fashion:

1. Dig a 24-inch fire pit and let the subsequent fire burn down to hot coals.

2. Prepare the meat by trimming off all fat, skin and bones. Fat will spoil and in turn ruin your meat. Cut the meat across the grain into 0.25-inch strips. You can also salt the strips at this point if you wish.

3. With green sticks, skewer the meat and place it approximately 1 to 2 feet above the coals. Check the meat and remember that you are not trying to cook it, but rather get all of the moisture out of it so it’ll preserve.

4. Using a mix of green wood and dry fuel, keep the heat up and produce a lot of smoke. Smoke is the key to keeping insects away, specifically flies. The heat of the coals will naturally kill harmful bacteria.

5. Continue this process, checking the meat often. The best way to test its progress is by touch. If the meat is still flexible and bends, it is not ready. It should be dry and crack when bent.

Weather in some cases can be helpful as well. During the dead of winter, many places around the U.S. see freezing temperatures. Wrapping meat and keeping it in nature’s deep freeze can be a simple way to store meat during the winter.

Another good idea to take care of your meat is to tie it high in trees or find another secure method for protecting it from predators that may want to take part in your well-earned dinner.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Winter 2016 edition. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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