Trail Energy and How to make Pemmican!

by ahanagata


Portable, Shelf stable, Compact and Energizing. Modern convenience has given us the protein bar, gels, and chews in a variety of colors shapes and sizes. Most of us have tucked away one of these next to a sack of trail mix or jerky. Today, I’ve got not one but two videos for you! The first I’ll go over some of the Modern options, in the second I’ll show you how to make some Pemmican!

Here’s a text breakdown of making Pemmican:

You will need beef/bison/venison/elk/etc, cut into thin strips. Stick this in the dehydrator until it’s completely hard and dry. You can also do this in the oven at a low temp like 150-175F (don’t quote me on that, all ovens are different so you’re the best judge of that). If you want to get real traditional you can dry it with the power of the sun, or over low coals (I applaud you if you go that route). Once dry, grind your meat in a food processor, blender or pound that shit with a rock until it resembles shredded fluff.

You will also need some fat. If you’re using game you probably have this in your freezer. If you’re using store bought, then you’ll need to find a good butcher. My butcher will save me some fat trimmings and give it to me for free, though I’ve heard of some butchers charging a dollar or so a pound. Once you have it, you’ll need to render this into tallow. The most painless way I’ve found is to cut it into small cubes or grind it, then place it in the crock pot with a little water for a few hours. I used a 1/4 cup of water for about 4-5 pounds of fat. After a about four hours ladle as much of the liquid gold (tallow) out as you can (this speeds things up). You can also render this on the stove top on low heat or in the oven on low heat.

Lastly you’ll need some berries. Dry these in the same fashion as you did your meat. Until they’re crispy and very light. Then grind them into a powder the same way your ground your dried meat.

You can also experiment with flavorings like lavender and vanilla or use honey in place of some or all of the fat. I use a 1:1 honey to fat ratio because I like the taste. Honey is also a great preservative. I don’t do a full swap though because the fat is a fantastic energy source that stays with you. One reason beef jerky doesn’t sustain on the trail is because it’s lacking all the fat that was lost in drying it.

Once all the ingredients have been procured, simply mix them up slowly adding your fat/honey until the mix is evenly moistened by it and will roll up into a ball or press into a bar shape. How much meat to berries or honey etc is up to you; make it your own blend according to your tastes. I’m not giving measurements, because this is how the recipe is passed around the Rez and if you’re going through all the trouble it should have your personal flavor.

After that, it’s done and it’ll keep for a long long time, I know people who have eaten seven year old pemmican! When it comes time to gnosh eat it straight up, or fry it in a pan for a warm treat.

Alright Savages, I’m out! 

Live Wild, Eat Well.

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