Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
22 May

How to Make Pemmican

rii0lxVihljamur Stefansson, eminent anthropologist and arctic explorer, went on three expeditions into the Alaskan tundra during the first quarter of the 20th century. His discoveries – including the “blond” Inuit and previously uncharted Arctic lands – brought him renown on the world stage. People were fascinated by his approach to travel and exploration, the way he thrust himself fully into the native Inuit cultures he encountered. Stefansson studied their language, adopted their ways, and ate the same food they ate. In fact, it was the diet of the Inuit – fish, marine mammals, and other animals, with almost no vegetables or carbohydrates – that most intrigued him. He noted that, though their diet would be considered nutritionally bereft by most “experts” (hey, nothing’s changed in a hundred years!), the Inuit seemed to be in excellent health, with strong teeth, bones, and muscles. He was particularly interested in a food called pemmican.

Pemmican consists of lean, dried meat (usually beef nowadays, but bison, deer, and elk were common then) which is crushed to a powder and mixed with an equal amount of hot, rendered fat (usually beef tallow). Sometimes crushed, dried berries are added as well. A man could subsist entirely on pemmican, drawing on the fat for energy and the protein for strength (and glucose, when needed). The Inuit, Stefansson noted, spent weeks away from camp with nothing but pemmican to eat and snow to drink to no ill effect. Stefansson, a Canadian of Icelandic origin, often accompanied them on these treks and also lived off of pemmican quite happily, so its sustaining powers weren’t due to some specific genetic adaptation unique to the Inuit. In fact, when Stefansson returned home, he and colleague adopted a meat-only diet for a year, interested in its long-term effects. A controlled examination of their experience confirmed that both men remained healthy throughout.

So, pemmican has a reputation as a sort of superfood. While I’m usually leery of such claims, the fact that the stuff is essentially pure fat and protein (plus Stefansson’s accounts) made me think that maybe there was something to it. I set out to make my own batch.

I got about a pound and a half of lean, grass-fed shoulder roast, let it firm up in the freezer, then sliced it thin. After adding liberal amounts of salt and pepper, I set the oven to the lowest possible temperature (around 150 degrees) and laid out the strips of meat directly onto the rack. I cracked the oven door to prevent moisture buildup. At this point, I also put a handful of frozen wild blueberries on a small oven pan to dry out with the meat.

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I let the meat dry out for about fifteen hours, or until it was crispy jerky that broke apart easily. I tossed the jerky in the food processor until it was powder. After the meat, in went the blueberries to process. Again, you want a powder.

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Now I was ready to render some fat. I used grass-fed bison kidney fat, which was already diced into tiny pieces. I put about half a pound of that into a cast iron pan and cooked it slowly over super-low heat.

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I made sure to stir the fat as it rendered out, and watched closely so that it wouldn’t burn. When the fat stops bubbling, the rendering is done.

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Use a strainer to avoid all the crispy bits; you just want the pure, liquid fat.

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Mix the meat and berry powder together, then slowly add the hot liquid fat. Pour just enough so that the fat soaks into the powder.

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I think I poured too much too quickly, so I added a bit of almond meal to firm it up. Let it firm up, then cut it into squares or roll it into a ball. I went with a ball.

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Pemmican will keep almost forever. Pure, dried protein and rendered (mostly saturated) fat are highly stable, so I wouldn’t worry about it going rancid. If it does, you’ll know.

Now, my pemmican wasn’t exactly delicious. In fact, it tasted a bit like bland dog food. Maybe I’ll jazz it up next time with some more salt and spices, but I don’t think pemmican is meant to be eaten for pleasure. This is utilitarian food, perfect for long treks through the wilderness. It gets the job done, and I’ll probably make it again. It definitely doesn’t taste bad; in fact, the taste grows on you after awhile.

My dog certainly enjoyed cleaning up the bowl.

Has anyone else here tried pemmican? Let me know what you think in the comment board!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Unless I was anticipating a survival situation I don’t think I would make this. Seems like a lot of time and effort involved for something that isn’t that tasty.

    It is an interesting article, though.

    jpippenger wrote on May 22nd, 2009
    • how does anyone anticipate a survival situation?

      Razrbac wrote on December 11th, 2010
      • One way you can anticipate a survival situation is by focusing on global economic trends, some say there will be a collapse of the United States very soon that the govt. is preparing for by building detention centers across the nation. Might be a great time to start making excess pemmican now. I can easily see this economy getting progressively worse as our jobs have been sent oversees and the huge national debt to GDP our country is is.
        Prepare for hyper inflation.

        Just my two cents.
        Take care & stay close to your faith.

        -Brian

        Brian C. wrote on December 11th, 2010
        • Brian, you’re a jackass.

          Papa Smurf wrote on April 8th, 2011
        • I wrote this December 11th, 2010 based on the current trends happening around the globe. Now April 8th comes and there is talk of a partial government shutdown in the great old U.S. of A. Who would have thought?

          Unfortunately many are narrow sighted and will try to ignore the facts while the bricks slowly fall. Please do your homework on the Federal Reserve and the Gold Standard to understand how our money is created out of truly nothing.

          Keep a close eye on Silver, Oil, and Gold! The ignorant will call you names and laugh at your claims but please hold true to your beliefs.

          As for Papa Smurf:

          “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11

          You always have the choice to make the immoral or the moral decision in this life. Ultimately you too will stand before the Father and be judged by your actions.

          God Bless all of you.

          Brian C. wrote on April 8th, 2011
        • Brian, you’re a jackass.

          Curtis wrote on April 12th, 2011
        • Massive LOL!!

          Tim wrote on April 23rd, 2011
        • Then now would be the time to start making it!

          Ruby wrote on August 12th, 2011
        • Brian I can see your point, basicly nothing can be certain to last forever. Situations are getting fragile even when the leaders know that changes need to take place, sometimes it’s either too late or they just don’t think it’s possible or flat out don’t care. It’s our right as human beings to prepare to survive.

          Matt wrote on December 30th, 2011
        • Brian, you’re actually interested in facts and the study of economics and history. Most other people are only interested in insults and ad hominem.

          Tim wrote on January 28th, 2012
        • Brian, you sir are exactly correct. They person who called you a J.A. has their head under their armpit, or somewhere else. The danger signs are all around us and flashing. As quoted from the movie Under Siege – Dark Territory….”Chance favors the prepared mind”.

          Take care

          Joe wrote on July 9th, 2012
        • do you have a blog – interesting stuff-

          lockard wrote on November 1st, 2012
        • Still a dumbass

          Sean wrote on December 20th, 2012
        • Brian, Finally someone who is keeping up with the truth about our country! God bless! Never let anyone convince you that you are wrong! I agree that this recipe should be very much considered with where our country is headed. “Only the fool think it foolish to prepare.” Chinese proverb… what better way to know you will survive indefinitely then preparing for the worst? Well, at least knowing you wont starve to death should put your mind at ease. The economy will collapse, the dollar will be worthless, and if the government doesn’t turn this into a communist country, we will be wiped out by war; by all the countries that hate us and see a weakness that they can take advantage of.

          Georgia Gene wrote on April 18th, 2013
        • I find it rather laughable when people of faith try and talk about “facts”.

          Fact: There is no proof of god.
          Fact: The USA is not disintegrating. (Just the conservatives way of life is)
          Fact: This is hardly the first time in the last decades that I have heard someone say “the sky is falling!”.
          Fact: Things are not true just because you say they are.
          Fact: Referencing empty “signs” is just another way of saying “I’m right because I say so”

          The future of the USA is far more liberal, I’m sorry you dislike that but the only constant is change. Deal with it.

          The good side for you? You won;t be alive long enough to see it.

          Lasivian wrote on April 27th, 2013
        • Brian,
          As Usual, I’m late to the game…
          Your are absolutely correct! Hyperinflation is knocking on our back door soon to barge through the front.

          God Bless!

          Lucylu wrote on September 17th, 2013
        • I didn’t expect my comment to stir so many opinions. I’m sorry if I upset anyone, truly. Matt said it best, nothing lasts forever. One day America’s credit will run dry and the world will see the dollar for what it is, a piece of paper backed by nothing.

          National debt has exceeded $15 trillion dollars, that’s around $50,000 per citizen’s share of the debt.

          Russia’s military budget for 2013, about $100 billion.
          China’s military budget for 2013, about $150 billion.
          UK & Japan’s military budget for 2013, about $120 billion combined

          USA’s military budget for 2013, over $675 billion!

          The countries I listed, are the world’s top 5 military spenders.
          (Based on the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)

          Speech made in 1961, concerning the growing threat of our militarily-industrial complex.

          “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.”
          - Dwight D. Eisenhower, President, was a Five-star General
          .
          50 years later, we see how real the threat has become.

          “The US Military has bases in 63 countries. Brand new military bases have been built since September 11, 2001 in seven countries. In total, there are 255,065 US military personnel deployed Worldwide. These facilities include a total of 845,441 different buildings and equipments. The underlying land surface is of the order of 30 million acres. According to Gelman, who examined 2005 official Pentagon data, the US is thought to own a total of 737 bases in foreign lands. Adding to the bases inside U.S. territory, the total land area occupied by US military bases domestically within the US and internationally is of the order of 2,202,735 hectares, which makes the Pentagon one of the largest landowners worldwide (Gelman, J., 2007)”
          - Dr Gideon Polya

          Don’t worry Russia and China, once and some consider still communists nations will be the new light for the world. It’s hard to see that now, but your children will know it.

          My advice.
          - Teach your kids Mandarin, the Chinese language. Many opportunities will be opened for them.
          - Invest in real commodities, especially farming and agriculture. The world is going to need more food as nations grow, and China’s 1.3 billion citizens demand a greater variety of it.
          - If you don’t agree with your home nation’s ideologies, simply get out. Sometimes the best response in a fight is to just walk away. There are other countries in the world with more economic freedom, and similar civil liberties. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way to defend whats already lost.

          My best advice, think for yourself. You are inherently responsible for your own well being and those you care for.

          God Bless!

          P.S. The name of the whole game is demoralization. When a country’s citizens loses its morals, it loses its roots. The first step in every Communist agenda is to subvert a nation of its moral principles. America’s already past that step, the next step is crisis. Prepare yourself if you decide to stay, but never, ever sacrifice your values, its our most valuable possession.

          Brian C. wrote on September 20th, 2013
        • I think Brian has been reading a bit too much of James Wesley, RAWLES.
          P.S. Mr. RAWLES, why the hell to you catagorize your name that way? Is that why you gave a newborn in one of your novels two middle names; because you hate your own?

          I Lee wrote on April 9th, 2014
        • Mark –

          Pull your head out mainstream media and wake up that depressed, angry mind of yours. You’ll see the truth isn’t as frightening as you want it to be.

          When the dollar falls it will be better for the world.

          Brian wrote on May 12th, 2014
    • Where did the Inuit get salt and pepper? I know they had the ocean but did they make use of its salt? I’m thinking your pemmican has an unhealthy sodium component. Love your experiment, tho.

      Janet Groene wrote on August 4th, 2011
      • The Inuit didn’t have much salt in their diet. They ate mostly fish. Acquiring salt from the ocean is not easy, since there are many other undesirable minerals in ocean water other than salt. If you boil salt water, you are not left with white salt, rather, a bitter tasting brownish grit.

        Sirben wrote on April 27th, 2012
        • Really ? Is that from personal experience ? Do you live in an industrial area or near a river mouth I’ve used salt crust from rock pools around York Peninsula in South Australia for seasoning a couple of times and from memory it was delicious, white and tasted better than normal salt. I’ll grant you that it wasn’t from boiling but naturally evaporated from sea spray, but I’d imagine that similar sources of naturally evaporated salt would be available to most coastal peoples, even ones living in sub-arctic conditions.

          John

          John Martin wrote on January 17th, 2013
        • False, the Inuit had ample amounts of salt in their diet via the older sea ice they consumed for water (the ice loses salt with age), therefore having the perfect amount of salt required for the ketogenic diet they were eating. I’d recommend basing your statements on fact, rather than conjecture. For starters, you could read some Dr. Phinney and Volek, who are experts in the field. And you must be joking about unrefined sea salt being unfavorable. I almost had to LOL.

          John wrote on October 5th, 2013
  2. want to try making it but am having trouble finding a good beef fat. could it work with coconut oil?

    Jennifer wrote on May 22nd, 2009
    • Yes, with coconut oil.I like to add cayenne pepper and chocolate and cinnamon. Less than 5% and 2 tspns of cinnamon. Cayenne to taste.

      Mike Love wrote on April 18th, 2010
    • If you make pemmican w/coconut oil it won’t keep well out of the fridge where the coc oil will melt quickly.Saturated animal fat keeps the pemmican harder longer.

      I have pressed pemmican into muffin tins. I think it helps to be very sparing adding the fat and to use a measure amount of sea salt, to add dried herbs and spices too. Too much fat can give it a very strong taste. I have recipes with suggested ratios in my book, The Garden of Eating.

      Chef Rachel Albert wrote on May 1st, 2010
      • i’m not sure on that one. i’ve kept gallon containers of coconut oil in my room for years and years after opening them – room goes through all the temp fluctuations of the seasons, no problem with rancidity.

        assuming one would make this only if going into cold climates the coconut oil would certainly stay hard, though the taste would probably be a little interesting – jerky and coconut(?)

        joey wrote on October 18th, 2010
        • Although the coconut oil will not go rancid easily, the question here is temperature and melting. At around 80 degrees coconut oil begins to soften and liquify. Tallow would probably be better in this recipe for that reason.

          Also, expeller-pressed coconut oil does not smell or taste of coconut as virgin does, so this shouldn’t affect flavor of the pemmican in that respect.

          mamma2boys wrote on September 4th, 2011
      • Hi. What do you use to grind the meat for pemmican? Thanks.

        Lolita wrote on February 4th, 2012
        • Food processor is ideal, but any blender can get the job done.

          Sirben wrote on April 27th, 2012
        • I used a blender, it didn’t make powder but it worked pretty good and for a binder I used peanut butter in sted of animal fat. Used sea salt,cran berry’s, pine nuts, almonds,blackberry’s, strawberry’s,

          John wrote on September 14th, 2013
  3. U.S. Wellness Meats sells beef tallow – you could buy some there. Of course, they also sell pemmican, but it’s probably more expensive than making your own.

    http://www.grasslandbeef.com/Detail.bok?no=878

    egmutza wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  4. I remember learning about pemmican in grade school social studies class. It seems a lot more appealing now then in did back then… ;)

    I think I’ll give this a try next fall or winter. Seems more appropriate to those seasons.

    Thanks Mark!

    Adam

    Adam Steer - Better Is Better wrote on May 22nd, 2009
    • what’s great about pemmican is that it makes an easy portable meal wrapped in lettuce leaves and served w/an apple or grapes. The portablity factor was likely the reason it was invented and used by native people.

      Chef Rachel Albert wrote on May 1st, 2010
      • Great idea wrapping in lettuce leaves. I take pemmican hiking, but it can be undesirable to handle when without a means to wash your hands nearby due to the grease. Wrapping it in a lettuce leaf, maybe even raw kale, is a great idea to make it less messy. thx!

        Sirben wrote on April 27th, 2012
      • I stumbled across this link through pint rest. Began reading comments and yours was the one that pointed out the purpose of the grossly non-aesthetic recipe. I don’t follow the conversations as they tend to get off point. Your input was helpful(to me).

        Racheal wrote on January 17th, 2013
      • On that note, I wonder if it could be wrapped in grape leaves and covered in tallow like ‘Dolma’? Thoughts anyone?

        Patricia Thomas wrote on August 12th, 2014
  5. i agree with jpippenger – not sure i’ll ever make this. BUT the take home message is a good one! Protein and fat = super healthy! Good thing I had my eggs this morning ;)

    Jane wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  6. Hmmmmm….. I think I’ll just stick with jerky.

    Cody wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  7. It always sounded interesting when they told us about this social studies (I’m Canadian). I think we should figure out how to make a tasty version between all the cooks on the board :)

    Jedidja wrote on May 22nd, 2009
    • I’ve made it with peanut butter as the fat, and dried blueberries. Quite good. Yes you do need salt.

      ndhe wrote on March 8th, 2011
      • My understanding is that peanuts aren’t exactly on the primal diet.

        Ruby wrote on August 12th, 2011
        • Some other vegetable or nut fat, then. But it may be more sensitive to rancidity if kept for a long time.

          speedwell wrote on October 18th, 2011
  8. Rob wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  9. This seems like a great food for a long hike–it’s difficult to find high energy foods that are worth their weight. Around what temperature will something like this melt?

    DaveB wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  10. Yes! Perfect for thru-hiking the AT, eh?

    gilliebean wrote on May 22nd, 2009
    • That’s exactly what I was thinking!

      Jose wrote on April 25th, 2012
      • same here!

        doghug wrote on August 17th, 2012
  11. Mark, maybe you could look into packaging a producing pemmican. That way those that are curious, but not to keen on putting in 16 or so hours to make it can just order a package of it.

    jpippenger wrote on May 22nd, 2009
    • Possibly, but I’d really have to work on the taste (not that it tastes bad! Just plenty of room for improvement).

      Mark Sisson wrote on May 22nd, 2009
      • I have a great tasting pemmican recipe. 3lb top round roast. Partially freeze and slice very thin. Dehydrate in oven at lowest setting or in a dehydrator until very dry. Cracks rather than bends. Dehydrate 1 cup blueberries. Put dried meat in a blender and turn to powder. Add blueberries toward the end to keep some larger peices for texture. (I added 2 tbls of sweet potato powder that I made by dehydrating just like the meat.) With dry ingredients in a bowl add about 2 tbls honey and rendered tallow until the consistancy of sticky dough. Place between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll out to desired thickness. Let cool to harden and cut to desired sizes. It really is delish! and high energy. Very easy to make and so easy to store and take on hikes or camping. You can eat as is or use for making stew type dishes.

        Pat wrote on March 26th, 2013
        • I learned of Pemmican in grade school in Michigan in the 1950′s. Our teacher said the Indians in the Great Lakes area made it with venison and corn by pressing the corn kernels into the meat and then letting narrow strips of it dry in the sun while hanging on lines set higher than carnivores could jump. Whether they cooked it at all, I don’t know, but I always thought so. It was carried in a pouch and eaten by the strip on the run during the many Indian wars both before and after the white man cometh – when time and distance meant life or death. Water was normally no an issue in Michigan, as we were taught that in our state, one is never farther than 6 miles from a stream. als

          Allitigator wrote on June 23rd, 2013
        • I made my pemmican per these directions and it is AWESOME! The Boy Scout troop I hike with is interested in making this for their next 50-mile hike.

          Thanks!

          MoniqueWS wrote on August 7th, 2013
  12. I received my copy of The Primal Blueprint today! I’m going to ask my husband to hide it until Sunday, otherwise I won’t get to anything I need to take care of today and tomorrow. I want to read this book NOW!!!!!

    Grok on!!!!

    Cynthia wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  13. I first read about this is Sally Fallon’s book “Nourishing Traditions”…while I see how this could be handy, I think I’ll stick to the primal power bars!

    marci wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  14. I have made pemmican to utlize on hunting excursions, Ski trips, and epic mountain bike rides.

    I have made it as Mark has and I have also made a batch with pure Maine maple syrup from a producer around the corner. I have also made it with a garlic rub. Both of the last two recipes were much better than the initial bland rub, and in my estimation are still primal.

    As far as rendering fat goes, its not so bad. Render 6-7 lbs of fat at a time and that provides a wicked charge of tallow (fat) to be used for quite some time. You can freeze or can it for later use.

    Get it going on a cold morning, most of the labor is in chopping it up, but even that is marginal. Let is simmer throughout the day and process at the end of the day.

    Not as bad as you think. Give it a try!

    Mainer wrote on May 22nd, 2009
    • When you added the syrup, did you mix it in while you were adding the fat to the meat? And I guess the garlic rub was applied to the meat before drying it out?

      Makenzie wrote on July 12th, 2012
  15. Like Adam, I remember learning about this stuff in school, and it pops up in books now and again. I always wanted to make some, but now that I know the actual process, I think I’ll just stick with jerky!

    But if I ever need to stockpile food in a bomb shelter, I’ll use this recipe for sure! ;)

    Levi wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  16. Wow. Looks different. I see this as more of a nuclear emergency type food or maybe add some spices for flavor.

    Buddiv wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  17. Dip it in chocolate, and you just might have something there.

    dragonmamma wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  18. This would be great for people like me who are sometimes too lazy to cook… just make a load at once and dip in every once in awhile.

    For some reason the whole idea of homemade pemmican seems very appealing to me, even aside from the convenience. I must try this.

    Candace wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  19. I have lots of pictures and a how to guide to making pemmican at my website:

    http://tinyurl.com/pe4pyb

    Danny Roddy wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  20. I’m surprised it didn’t taste good. It sounds delicious. Maybe it would be better with duck fat.

    Rhys Southan wrote on May 22nd, 2009
    • Duck fat tastes great, but I don’t think it would make a good candidate for pemmican. Reason being, it is too soft when it cools. I’ve tried with pork lard which is more solid than duck fat and even that wasn’t solid enough. It would end up way too greasy. Beef tallow works good because when it cools it is hard.

      Sirben wrote on April 27th, 2012
  21. Hi Mark, I made my first batch of pemmican about a month ago. It was so good i’ve made 2 more! :) No berries, and just a small amount of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Maybe the berries and almond flour altered the taste of yours? My husband who is super picky thought it was good and said “it tastes like roast beef”. I cooked my beef in a dehydrator @ 105 degrees F. maybe that is why also.

    elizabeth wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  22. I’ve wanted to make these for a long time! I read about it first in Nourishing Traditions and then got even more info about it from the Garden of Eating (which is a grain free, dairy free cookbook). I am definitely planning on trying ti sometime!

    Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  23. Prefer jerky myself, but you had some flaws in your pemmican. 1) Dry your berries in the sun like raisins. If you can, dry your meat the same way. 2) Looks like you used way too much fat. 3) Add different spices! Salt is barely a spice, it is more a preservative. 4) Buy a dehydrator.

    I’ve often questioned how much nutrient value remains in dried meat. If you really want good cured/dried meats you let it hang in the air, you don’t use a dehydrator. This is how it was done 100 and 1000s of years ago, and how really good cured meat is still made today (i.e. Prosciutto made in the mountains of Italy).

    George wrote on May 22nd, 2009
  24. This recipe is awesome~ im going to make this soon!
    thank u so much for posting such great info.!

    Tammy wrote on May 23rd, 2009
  25. Make biltong……far easier and will keep for years.

    I ate kudu biltong that was years old in Namibia.Slight bit o mould..scrapped it off and wallop..wonderful.

    Sadly also had the lad in INto the Wild known about this he might not have died due to malnourishment(some conjecture about him being/not being poisoned) as he sadly tried to smoke the beast he shot.

    Nancy Boy Fellows wrote on May 24th, 2009
  26. “See them stripped and you do not find the abdominal protuberances and folds which are numerous at Coney Island beaches and so persuasive in arguments against nudism.”

    I fell down laughing. It’s certainly no better now.

    JD wrote on May 24th, 2009
  27. I actually tried making it twice in the past two weeks. Neither worked very well. I think I didn’t slice the meat thin enough. The outside would break easily, but there would be parts on the inside that I would have to tear apart. My food processor wouldn’t process it, and when I tried putting it in our old meat grinder, it jammed up. The grinder parts have been soaking in soapy water for three days because the parts that need to unscrew in order to clean it wouldn’t unscrew.

    I didn’t eat anything that was produced, but my dog did enjoyed it immensely! :) At least, he devoured each failed batch within minutes. When I gave it to him, he ate it with his tail tucked between his legs. He normally eats with his tail down to keep it out of the way, but when he was eating this it was VERY straight and it was flat against his behind, and I could tell his mood was off, like he was sad or scared. I was taken aback by how extremely submissive he was. It was like he recognized it for what it was, like this was real dog food and the dog food we had been buying for years may as well have been starvation. If it were up to me, I would feed him nothing but beef and liver (another thing I know he likes) and none of the carbohydrate-laden, meat-flavored stuff again.

    Carly wrote on May 25th, 2009
    • You don’t have to give your poochie the crummy kind of dog food. My cat even eats primally. We buy our pet food from either Petsmart or PetCo, the brand is Blue Buffalo. They have a line of primal foods that are WAY better than the grainy filler-loaded stuff. My sister’s dogs love the stuff, as does my cat (she won’t touch the grainy stuff anymore…it made her puke anyway).

      I want to try making pemmican…don’t know what my husband will think though. He is still a hard core “whole grain-er.” My daughter will love it–she is a total meat-a-tarian like me :)

      Nicla wrote on October 2nd, 2012
  28. I have a few suggestions for making pemmican. Make a big batch of jerky and pemmican so you don’t have to make it as often. Bear in mind that 2 pounds of meat will make only about 8 oz (by weight) of jerky (1 quart before powdering).I find a food dehydrator with multiple trays makes it easy to prepare a large batch of jerky.

    Add only enough rendered fat to make the meat stick together. Adding too much fat can alter the flavor, making it taste too strong.

    In the Pemmican recipes in my book, *The Garden of Eating*,I figure 1 1/2 cups of liquid tallow to 4 1/2 cups of powdered jerky.

    I add herbs, spices, and sea salt to enhance the flavor of pemmican and I press it into muffin tins, which firm up after chilling so you can pop out a meal size round of pemmican, wrap it in lettuces leaves, tuck it into a container and take your hand held-meal with you, supplemented with an apple or a couple of handfuls of grapes.

    You can spice up pemmican w/Mexican, Moroccan, Italian, French, or Greek seasonings. I’ve even added sun dried tomatoes and dried bell pepper bits. Some find it an acquired tastes; others take to it right away.

    I have taken this on airplanes and car trips. It makes great, compact travel food you can eat w/your hands.

    Chef Rachel wrote on May 25th, 2009
  29. That looks quite awesome, Mark,what’s your opinion on the advanced glycation end products that form as a result of this? Of course there are worse things you can do, but it doesn’t seem entirely healthy.

    Jack wrote on May 27th, 2009
  30. Sounds interesting rather than “must try this!”

    My local butcher makes excellent Boerwors

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boerewors

    which is more than good enough for me (had some last night) among his numerous other sausage recipes. Which reminded me of Biltong

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biltong

    another one I didn’t have in a long time

    Trinkwasser wrote on May 29th, 2009
  31. What if you added some cayenne or texmex powders when you blended the meat? or perhaps mixing brown sugar into the rendered fat?

    sam M wrote on May 30th, 2009
  32. I would like sources for buying beef jerky on the web. I’ve been getting it from Costco (Pacific Gold), but I suspect there are healthier versions. Any suggestions would be appreciated, as I’m NOT going to be making my own.

    John wrote on June 11th, 2009
  33. I don’t know what you guys are talking about. I made pemmican and threw in dried blueberries, a bit of cinnamon.

    The only thing is that I used clarified butter instead of tallow or suet. Clarified butter has a great taste

    drifter wrote on July 29th, 2009
  34. I just made a batch from the “Nourishing Traditions” recipe. 3lbs lean beef, 1 pound fat (leftover from beef stock preparation), and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Absolutely delicious. You will want to do some hard work after you eat it. It is GREAT warmed up. You could even make it a great base for some hash.

    Matt wrote on November 1st, 2009
  35. I had made my own years ago. While my methods varied slightly (as did my fruit additives), it always turned out well. I used to publish the recipe on my website but had removed it to redo the website.

    Mine tasted great – however it took much time to prepare and “babysit” the drying meat.

    Lauren Muney wrote on November 16th, 2009
  36. Totally making some of this up for the West Coast Trail trip this August!

    Joe Nixon wrote on February 17th, 2010
  37. They make something like Pemmican in the Middle East. They call it Qawerma. It’s made with lean meat (beef or lamb) that is boiled for a really long time in salt, pepper, and allspice. After cooking it until it comes apart into shreds, you drain it and then cook it again with a lot (and I mean A LOT) of clarified butter. This was made when meat was plentiful and kept in cold storage (in vats that were sealed with fat) for winter consumption. I wonder if the origin of salamis and other sausages are in Pemmican-like preserved meats. Sopressata is easily 1:1 meat to fat. I’m making some Qawerma as I write this.

    Magouch wrote on April 5th, 2010
  38. Hmmm I’m definitely going to try this with kangaroo. sounds delicious, thanks for the discussion.

    Nicole wrote on April 30th, 2010
  39. Mark, I wonder if it might work better to make it more like a confit; cook the meat in the fat in the oven at about 150-180 degrees for several hours. The water will be cooked out this way. The French make duck and pork confit this way, and this was a traditional way to preserve the meat. Usually they add spices like cinnamon and clove. This strikes me as potentially more delicious. I’m gonna have to try it to find out for sure…

    Nico wrote on May 30th, 2010
    • I have a beautiful chicken confit in the freezer waiting for a sort of cassoulet later. But that means I have a scary amount of leftover duck fat infused with chicken fat, rosemary, and garlic. You can only eat so many green beans. Chicken and duck flavors go well with pork. Hmm, I can see a possible rustic Old World sausage type thing going on with this.

      speedwell wrote on October 18th, 2011
  40. I’ve made pemmican a few times (and then subsequently lived off what I made for the next few days) and each time I made it I also ground up macadamia nuts and some type of dried berries. It doesn’t take many berries/nuts to add a LOT of flavor and cohesion to the bar, so you don’t need to worry about it having too much sugar. I salted the meat as well and added some cayenne pepper. The sweet/salty/spicy blend was amazing. The first batch I made was gone in two nights because my friends ate it all.

    Keenan wrote on June 15th, 2010

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