Pemmican, a mixture of meat and fat that can be varied endlessly. It's incredibly energy dense and a nice food to bring with you on trips, on a hike or just as a snack when you're feeling peckish. Pemmican is so nutrient dense making it well suited for hiking as a small amount goes a long way.
Pemmican is a way to preserve meat, made by North American Indians to ensure that food could be stored for a longer time. Then Pemmican consisted of dried buffalo meat and buffalo fat mixed together as a cake that could be used as it was or mixed into other foods, such as porridge, or fried.
I think Pemmican works just as well as a part of an energy rich breakfast, dinner or snack, and with the option to vary it, there is always a variation to suit everyone. Add some ground almonds or peanuts, chopped dried fruit or even nut butters to make it suit you. Keep in mind that adding lots of carbohydrates can affect shelf-life.
- 1 kg (2.2 lbs) Beef (can be varied with game or your favourite meat)
- 500 g (1.1 lbs) Beef tallow/Bison fat
- 200 g (0.4 lbs) Bueberries
Place the meat in the freezer so that it firms up a bit, but doesn't freeze completely. It makes it easier to slice it into thin slices, which makes drying faster. Put some salt and pepper the meat slices if you want, and hang them in your dryer, dehydrator or oven on the lowest temperature with the door ajar to let the moisture out. Dry the blueberries simultaneously to save time. Drying takes about 24-48 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat.
When you are finished, you have a dried almost brittle meat. It makes it easier to mix it into a powder the drier it is. The finer the powder the better. Mix the dried meat to a fine powder and do the same with the blueberries.
Cut the tallow into small pieces and place in a saucepan. Melt it over medium heat until the fat is rendered from the tallow and the boiling is reduced to a minimum. This means that most of the fat has been rendered and it's done. Strain off the small tallow pieces that are left in the fat, save them if you want - They are a nice lowcarb snack.
Now you have clear fat rendered from the beef tallow, a dried meat powder and a fine blueberry powder. Now the fun begins! Mix meat powder and blueberry powder. You can vary the amount of each depending on taste. Then add the fat to the mixture slowly and mix until the powder no longer absorbs more fat. How much meat, fat and blueberry powder is needed varies – Trust your gut feeling, and the most important thing is that it does not become too "wet", ie too much fat. You should be able to make balls from it when the mix has cooled.
Pour the mixture into a mold if you like and place in the fridge to firm up. Now you have your own Pemmican that you can either cut into cubes, roll into balls, or whatever you want. Wrap them in cling film to make portions for ease of use and to easily store them on the trek.