Jerky and Pemmican

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santaman2000

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Jan 15, 2011
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Two interesting films about both jerky and pemmican.

First the Jerky (pay special attention between 1:13 and 1:14 where he explains the original term “jerking the meat” to describe th process.

And next, Pemmican
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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I think he forgot that jerking was 'invented' in Jamaica, by a combined effort from the escaped slaves and local Indians in the mid 1600'?

(But really it has been done everywhere since Man started using fire...)

Pemmican is weird ( and interesting). Unique.

Robson Valley is good in cooking Bison. Has Bison Pemmican for breakfast. Canadian style.
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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As a matter of fact, I am nibbling on pemmican laced with wild blueberries at this very moment.
Gift from my brother ! Nearly too seedy for my old teeth. but it tastes good.

Pemmican was a grub-stake for the travelling HBC furtraders. 60lb and 90lb wads of it in bison hide bags.
Not even eaten in the trading post forts at all.
1/2 dried and pounded bison meat and 1/2 bison fat ( Hudson's Bay Company records say so.)
Rocky Mountain House made 44,000 lbs of it each year in a 9 day stretch.

Believe me: bison fat is ultra gross. Bison T-bone steaks are real MEAT.
 

Janne

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I imagine it was a ‘winter food’?

The fat should turn rancid and soft during your hot Canadian summers?

The Saami preferred the fattiest cuts of the reindeer, to smoke or salt or both. Tasty energy!
 

Woody girl

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Corned beef... we always called Corned beef pemmican as kids and yes I know it's nothing much like it but I was a total Arthur Ransom Swallows and Amazon's fan and they called Corned Beef pemmican so I did too. Still call Corned Beef pemmican to this day :)
 

Robson Valley

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Corn: very old word which was used to describe the size of something.
In this case, "corned" beef refers to the size of the salt crystals that are used in processing.

No. Pemmican was the original "travelling food" for the roaming furtraders.
The trappers worked all winter to have furs for sale in the spring after the ice goes out.

Water travel is again possible (Churchill River). I have lived on that river.
You will even find my name in the guest register
in the church at Stanley Mission, SK, about 1965. You need a boat to get there.

Anyway, the HBC traders did a big loop buying furs and trading goods.
I expect that the pemmican kept really well over the cold winters in the big forts.
The bison hide bags were full and tired shut so little exposure to air.
I'll bet that stuff got fairly hummy over a summer's travel.
Our bacon in the ice house was pretty much fly blown by mid July.
 

santaman2000

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I think he forgot that jerking was 'invented' in Jamaica, by a combined effort from the escaped slaves and local Indians in the mid 1600'?......
The Jamaican “jerked” meats I’ve tried had nothing to do with preserving them. Rather it meant a style of cooking and spicing. In other words it was two different cultures using the same word but with different meanings. By the way, I wish I could find a good Jamaican restaurant or street vendor here. Ironically it was easier to get Jamaican jerked chicken on the street in London than it is here. May be different down in Miami though.
 

Robson Valley

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Modern gourmet recipes for pemmican bear little resemblance to the real thing.
The "real thing" as was specified by the Hudson's Bay Fur Trading Company(est 1669.)

Pemmican is approximately 50% dried and pounded bison meat
mixed with approx 50% bison fat, backstrap fat in particular. No sugary/moldy berry fruit at all.
This was packaged in 60-90 lb bison hide bags for the trail food for the active fur traders.
It was stewed up in boiling water with root vegetables for "burgoo."

I have real bison meat and real bison backstrap fat. I made pemmican.
Must be an acquired taste. Was not fur trading fort food.

As a short note. the HBC records that the Rocky Mountain House filled an annual pemmican quota of
44,000 lbs, all made in nine (9) days.
 
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baggins

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i wonder if the Hudson Bay recipe is anything like the recipe used by the early Antarctic explorers like Scott and Shackleton? They all lived on it for the whole of their trips from what i've read. (ok, Shackletons crew ended up on a penguin and seal diet at the end, but that was because they'd run out of pemmican).
 
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Robson Valley

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I would not be surprised to learn that Scott and Shackleton took the HBC recipe as their guide.
The high calorie value would have been a real advantage.
Here in western Canada, First Nations elders tell me that the basic 1/2 and 1/2 might go back 10,000 years or more.

Throw the bison fat out, eat the bison. I have eaten 6 or 7 of them over the years. Delectable!
 

santaman2000

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The HBC was as the name implies, a commercial company. I doubt individuals made their own pemmican in anywhere near the same quantities (or with the same view to make a profit from it) The ratios were likely the same with slight variations for personal or family tastes.
 

santaman2000

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Jan 15, 2011
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Modern gourmet recipes for pemmican bear little resemblance to the real thing.
The "real thing" as was specified by the Hudson's Bay Fur Trading Company(est 1669.)......
The series of videos done by Townsend don’t use modern recipes. They prepare foods from old recipes no later than the early 1900s (most are from the 1700s and a few even earlier)
 
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Robson Valley

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In the long term, pemmican was a very effective method to supply high calorie trail food over months at a time.
Besides smoking and drying, First Nations used it as a food preservation method.

I'll claim that the HBC simply adopted what they saw as best paleo practice and made a staple of it.
Their production records are unquestionable. Still, 44,000 lbs annually boggles my mind.

The major option on the west coast were the acres and acres of cultivated clam/oyster/mussel beds.
There's no harvest deadline = collect as needed.
Some shell middens are enormous in size ( a part of Vancouver, BC)
 

Janne

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Fat prevents Oxygen spoiling the protein. Eventually, slowly, the fat goes rancid, starting at the layer that is exposed to the air.
Scrape that off, and enjoy the rest.
In Britain, they called it Potted Whatever. Shrimp, beef, pork, poultry, neighbor.

Similar preservation methods all over Europe.
Boil or roast protein. Shred. Infuse and mix with melted fat.

I enjoy watching Townsend, but he should speak to European food historians.
 
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santaman2000

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....I enjoy watching Townsend, but he should speak to European food historians.
He always follows recipes from period cookbooks. Most of th ones I’ve watched are very, very close to the same as my grandmothers and great aunts were still using.
 

Janne

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So did mum mum, so do I.

I am sure if you ask some old lady in a N. American tribe living in the far north, she has a family recipe for a fantastic Pemmican!

In parts of Sweden, Lingonberries were used as a preservative. Fresh.
Mostly to preserve other berries and fruit. The acid juice was also used to preserve fish.

Most foods go back centuries. Most Eurasian recipes go back millennia, but many were changed a bit after the Colombian Exchange.
 
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Robson Valley

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Those people are properly called First Nations Elders in Canada. You ask them for knowledge and understanding.
To make paleo pemmican, I phoned an elders' tribal council in Manitoba to get a real answer for pemmican.
I'll take my lead from those people. 10,000+ years of bison can't be wrong.

Different paleo things got done in different ways as you look around the world.
Best to adopt and adapt things within arm's reach.