How to Cure Meat in the Field for Survival


Preserving meat in the field is a time sensitive process. The meat must be frozen, smoked or dried before it begins to rot. The meat may be cooled to increase the available time for curing but it still must be processed quickly. Properly preserving the meat may be the difference between survival and death in the wilderness. Hot temperatures are the most difficult conditions for preservation and meat must be protected against insects and predators.

Things You'll Need

  • Sticks
  • Twine
  • Tarp
  • Knife


  • Lean several long sticks against each other to create a tepee. Lash the contact points together with sinew, twine or rope constructed of bark fibers. Use the twine to secure several horizontal sticks to the tepee for smoking racks.

  • Cover three-quarters of the tepee with a tarp or natural materials to contain smoke. Build a small fire under the tepee and add materials until a thick bed of coals is developed.

  • Cut the meat into thin strips and hang the strips on the horizontal racks. Add green wood to the fire to create smoke and cure the meat. The initial two minutes cures the outside of the meat to prevent damage from insects. Smoke for an additional thirty minutes to cook the meat for eating.


  • Drive two tall sticks into the ground in an open area. Use twine to lash a horizontal stick to the top of the vertical sticks. Build several drying racks for large quantities of meat.

  • Cut the meat into thin strips and hang the meat on the vertical stick. Cut the strips as thin as possible for fast drying.

  • Leave the meat exposed to the sun until it shrivels and shows no moisture when torn. The hardened outer layer cures to protect the meat from insect damage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cure the meat as soon as the animal expires. Waiting to cure the meat leaves it exposed to insect and bacteria.
  • Do not cure and eat spoiled meat. If the meat has a rancid smell it is not fit for eating and may cause sickness.

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