How to Smoke & Dry Your Game Harvest
You hunted it, your GameSaver® Big Game GM700 sealed it; now, it's time to smoke or dry your game harvest. Learn how with these tips and tricks.
Smoking is a great way to preserve and enhance the flavor profile of meat and fish. There are two routes to take: hot or cold smoking. It's also important to have a supply of wood chips handy – as they're necessary to conduct heat and complement to the smoky flavor. Here are the basics of each method.
- Hot: Hot-smoke your game by keeping it in an enclosed area, like a smoker with the smoke and burning wood chips. The heat and smoke will cook the meat. To enhance the flavor, add herbs or any other flavoring mediums before smoking to allow the flavor to permeate the meat or fish.
- Cold: Cold-smoking, a longer process than hot-smoking, is done by allowing meat or fish to dry out and smoke at a lower temperature. While hot-smoking takes a few hours, cold-smoking will take a full day or two.
Flavoring and making your jerky is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. You can use a dehydrator or do it the old-fashioned way by allowing it to dry out in the oven all day. Start off by slicing your meat into thin slices to make sure you've removed as much fat as possible.
After slicing all your meat into manageable sizes, add flavoring to enhance the taste. Experiment with a tangy, sweet, and spicy marinade. Allow the meat to mix in the refrigerator with the liquid and seasonings in a FoodSaver® Quick Marinator. This container accelerates the marinade process by letting you get flavorful food in just minutes rather than hours.
To dry your meat, lay it in a single layer in your dehydrator or directly on your oven rack. If you're doing this in the oven, place a cookie sheet or tin foil on the bottom of your oven. The juices from the meat don't make a mess. Leave your oven on a low temperature – no higher than 200 degrees and crack the door open so your meat dehydrates – but doesn't cook. After a couple of hours, rotate the meat and allow it to finish cooking. After about seven hours, check the status of the meat frequently to ensure it doesn't overcook. To check this, pull out one piece and bend it carefully. It should bend and then break. Jerky that breaks immediately, however, is overcooked. Keep an eye out for that perfect bend and snap.