Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by smokedcaveman, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    I've made some in the past, of decent variations, but I'm wondering how many people here have heard of it, eaten it, made it, etc?

    Pemmican, for those of you that don't know, is basically (I'm simplifying this a bit) dried meat or jerky (mildly flavored, if at all), ground into a coarse powder or shredded very fine, mixed with rendered fat, and in some recipes, dried fruit (ground) and chopped or ground nuts can be added, as have, in some cases, honey.

    It was a huge food item during the fur trading days, and is still a good energy source, especially when hiking, as it's portable, concentrated, and, although some have called it an 'acquired taste' I happen to enjoy it personally.
  2. coyote

    coyote Master of the Pit

    they sell it around here with the jerky..taste good to me..never made it though..
  3. supervman

    supervman Smoking Fanatic

    I LOVE pemmican. If you have a nice recipe please share. It's an old American Indian food as far as I know. Travelers took it with them in cinch sacks to sustain themselves along the way.

    Good stuff that is.
  4. vince

    vince StickBurners SMF Premier Member

    I love it.
  5. krusher

    krusher Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    my dad would make it when I was little, I could eat it. But have you ever had gorp? That make the pemican taste like a t-bone, we would eat everything but that and save it till the end.
  6. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    supervman, I'll have to poke back through my notes and find my book with the recipe I use in it, but here's another one that I found online that I've used and is pretty decent, too.

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]A Recipe for Making Pemmican
    Originally submitted by the Dooleys of Boise and printed in the Winter 1981 (Vol. 4, No. 1) Newsletter for Voyageurs
    1 Batch = 3 1/2 pounds

    4 cups dried meat - depending on how lean it is, it can take 1 - 2 lbs. per cup. Use only deer, moose, caribou, or beef (not pork or bear). Get it as lean as possible and double ground from your butcher if you don't have a meat grinder. Spread it out very thinly in cookie sheets and dry at 180° overnight or until crispy and sinewy. Regrind or somehow break it into almost a powder.

    3 cups dried fruit - to taste mix currents, dates, apricots, dried apples. Grind some and leave some lumpy for texture. (personal note- I like dried cherries and blueberries in mine)

    2 cups rendered fat - use only beef fat. Cut into chunks and heat over the stove over medium (or Tallow) heat. Tallow is the liquid and can be poured off and strained.

    Unsalted nuts to taste and a shot of honey.

    Combine in a bowl and hand mix. Double bag into four portions. The mixture will last for quite a while without refrigeration. It actually improves with age.

    HINT: Vary the fat content to the temperature in which it will be consumed. Less for summer. Lots for winter. Not only is it good energy food for canoeing, but an excellent snack for cross country skiing.
    This recipe was originally from a Chippewayan Indian Guide as he learned it from his father.

    I've had pemmican that I've found saranwrapped and stuck in my little storage tin that was still in fine shape after about 2 years, and actually used that to break my 'nonsolidfood fast' after being down with the e. coli stomach flu combination that kept me off the board for nearly 3 weeks.
  7. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    krusher - had gorp, you're right, makes pemmican into a right REAL treat
  8. okay I read alot of westerns in my youth so I know all about pemmican ;-)
    But what on earth is 'gorp' ?
  9. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Gorp in it's simple form is equal parts of nuts, candy and dried fruit; sometimes refered to as "trail mix".

    Made gorp quite a bit in my active days as a Scouter.
  10. wutang

    wutang Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I think the gorp name started as an acronym for Granola Oats Raisins Peanuts. Pretty much any normal trail mix.
  11. supervman

    supervman Smoking Fanatic

    Euell Gibbons would be disappointed. :)
  12. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    really, one of the most important things about making pemmican for storage is to make sure that everything is VERY dry...render the fat to dewater it, dry the meat very dry (think like chipped beef kind of dry) make sure that any fruit you use is moisture free enough that you're capable of grinding it into a powder, nuts aren't really so much of a big deal, but for long term storage mind that the oils in untoasted nuts can go rancid, whereas roasted or cooked nuts just tend to go a bit ...stale.

    if you see white on your pemmican and it's been in storage, there's two possibilities...if it's fuzzy, you have a science project, a mold chia-pet....your ingredients weren't dry enough (it's hard to get them TOO dry...about the only thing you can do is turn the meat into carbon...which, anything short of that, you should be ok). If it's white and greasy, it's simply like the fat-bloom on chocolate that's gotten warm and then cooled off. won't hurt anything.

    my recipe is for a base, to which I can add nuts, fruits, hell, I've even added honey and peanut butter or a shot of maple syrup.

    5 pound of the leanest, toughest beef you can find (minimal marbling, I usually use round, from low, close to the hock, usually called 'heel of round' 'pike's peak roast'). I cut the fat and meat apart, grind the meat 2-3 times if I have a grinder, otherwise I slice very thin (deli slicer shaving), dry it, and while it's drying, I render the fat. Makes about 1 1/4 pounds dry, which I throw into the blender of food processor to turn into a powder.

    1/2-2/3 pound rendered beef fat- on this, I add a tablespoon or three of olive oil to the molten fat, to help balance the omega fatty acid profile. If you're desperate and don't have rendered beef fat, you can use lard, but the flavor might be slightly less than the best.

    when mixed and chilled, this will have a consistency close to fudge. I've done it enough that I kinda know the feel of it. Go easy on the fat, and make sure it's warm, doing it with the fat cooling, it'll take more to soak into the meat, and make the pemmican very rich (hint on how to alter the fat content) and if you're eating for summer, it can easily be way 'too' rich. So make sure your fat's not trying to set.

    that's the basic, and is ready to eat once it's moulded to shape and sets. with everything properly dry, keep the air out of it, and it'll last for several months in warm conditions, a year or two in temperate, and virtually indefinately if frozen or fridged, so long as it's kept airtight and dry.

    If your'e going to add something like..say for my favorite...honey, dried cherries and blueberries, add these things to the meat, but before the fat. Fruit, make sure it's finely minced or at least a mealy powder. If you add honey, it'll reduce the amount of fat needed to bind it, and will give you a quick bit of energy when you first eat it, but go easy on it, or you'll reduce your fat so much that you wont' have a lot of 'lasting' energy from the fats.

    if you want to add nuts, I would grind them into a creamy peanutbutter consistancy first, and because nuts are a high fat food, you can ease up on the rendered fat a bit without losing long lasting energy.

    my recipe is meant to be flexible, and something to tinker with, to add things I may or may not be in the mood for. I had a mate that added dried red pepper flakes to his. I've seen blackstrap molasses added instead of honey, then there's maple syrup, sorghum syrup, karo, etc. It's a very flexible 'add what you like' food, as long as the ingredients are very low water.
  13. 4t64rd

    4t64rd Fire Starter

    Bump to the top with the biltong post.
  14. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    woohoo! thanks. I get paid tomorrow, so over the weekend is going to be jerky, biltong and pemmican making. I'm tired of not being able to 'snack' during the day. feh, everything's expensive, and getting more so.

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