Category Archives: Camp Techniques

Outdoors and camping techniques to help guide you with your outdoors lifestyle.

Aging Game

by Woodsbum

So many discussions surround the processing of game. Many people swear by aging meat for 7 – 10 days while others tell you that you have to get the meat to the freezer ASAP. Which one is right? What else should I know about processing my game?

A friend's deer

A friend’s deer

I ran across this great article about processing game from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. It talks about aging times and the process needed to make sure your meat is taken care of properly.

Some of the points you should remember are that all aging should be done under refrigeration. This means that anyone not living in a place where the daily temperatures stay below 40 degrees should look at getting themselves a game refrigerator. The same one I use as my kegerator is the same one I use to age my meat. I have a shelf above my kegs that I store my game on, then cut, clean and wrap it when the time is right. In checking my local Craigslist I am looking at about 30 that all cost less than $100 and would work fine out in a shed or garage for this purpose.

Also, keep in mind that the meat will dry out if you are not careful. I like to put the quarters on a metal rack and big cookie sheet to allow for blood drainage and then cover the whole thing in a large garbage bag. This allows me the ability to “hang” it while keeping it 100 covered and moist so as not to lose meat to drying out. The only processing I do before I start aging consists of skinning, quartering, and cutting out any bloodshot areas.

When I actually process my game, I run it under water and squeeze out any additional blood that might be in the meat. This might take away the “flavor” some people like, but I prefer a less “gamey” flavor, as does my wife who won’t eat it if it takes “funny.” It also give me the opportunity to ensure that the meat is actually 100% clean as well. Although any number of people you talk to will result that that many different ways to do something, I suggest you keep your game as clean as possible before wrapping. It lasts longer in the freezer without adopting crazy flavors or odors.

In conclusion, I suggest you at least read the article and check out the aging information. You might find a few things that you were unaware of that help to make your next harvest all the more tasty.

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Poison Ivy Treatment

by Woodsbum

I ran across this video about a natural, and effective, poison ivy treatment. There really isn’t much else to say. Just watch this:

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Fry Bread or Bannock

by Woodsbum

I love Indian Fry Bread. I really love it. What I have found is that there are several different options when making it. The more traditional way is to make it with bannock dough as opposed to a yeast based bread dough. This way makes it have a better flavor and less greasy.

For those of you who do not know what fry bread is, here is a picture of some I made a few days ago.

Fry Bread

Fry Bread

The real difference between making bannock dough or bread dough is in the use of yeast. Bread dough uses yeast where bannock uses baking powder. The bread dough also tends to “puff” up or leave really big air pockets when frying. Although this is really nice when slathering your fry bread with honey or jam, it makes it really hard to use in other applications. For instance, I like to either turn them into tacos or make them into little pizzas. If you have a big ball of fried bread dough instead of something flat, your toppings will end up more on your plate than on your fry bread.

Although I have published bannock recipes here before, I would like to put this one out here. Most of my bannock dough is made by the eyeball method for cooking over open flame so this will give you some very specific measurements for once.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Mix everything until it becomes like a bread dough and not like biscuit dough where it is all sticky. Sometimes you have to kneed it/mix it for a while to get to that point. After you mix it all together just put a wet towel, plastic wrap, etc., over the bowl and refrigerate it for about an hour. When the hour is up just divide it into 8 equal portions, roll it out flat, and then fry it in oil (around 350 degrees until golden brown). This amount of dough will make about 8 round pieces of flat bread that end up around the size of a saucer or a little bigger.

Again, the nice thing about using this recipe is that you don’t end up with a big, fried bread ball that holds a lot of the oil.

If you do tacos or pizzas, the size above is about right. If you just want to do honey or jam, I usually divide this recipe into 16 portions just so you don’t have stuff dripping off one side while you gnaw on the other.

One variation to the recipe includes cinnamon and sugar in the dough to be eaten as a dessert. Basically, you can get as creative as you want with this.

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Dehydrating Vegetables

by Woodsbum

The time has come again where I bust out my dehydrator. This week I found a great deal on frozen peas, carrots, and green beans. Somehow I wandered into an almost 40% off deal on store brand bags, so I picked up something like 20 bags of my “soup 3” as I call them. I also ran into a deal on carne asada so I grabbed a package to test it out. In a few weeks our plums should be ready to pick, dehydrate and store.

The reason that I like frozen vegetables for dehydrating is that they are already blanched. It completely skips a tedious step in the process of food preparation. Before you dehydrate fresh vegetables, they need to be blanched first. This involves dipping them in boiling water and then putting them in ice water. Some people say that this is unnecessary, but I have found that they rehydrate better when blanched without turning into veggie flour.

When I dehydrate vegetables, I use my Excalibur unit on 125 degrees for about 12-14 hours. For some reason it seems to take longer to get food dehydrated or jerked here due to humidity. My jerky for example takes about 18-22 hours with all 5 trays full. The carne asada that I use for soups is kind of greasy, but doesn’t have to be cut or prepared before turning into jerky. You can just put it on the trays right after marinating for 24 hours. No cutting, no carving, no fuss involved in the process.

Once I get done dehydrating, I use my Foodsaver vacuum sealer for long term storage. The fruits seem to last a couple years if I completely dehydrate them and seal them in this manner. I end up using my vegetables and jerky before the year is out so I don’t have a good handle on how long they will keep. My sealed packages are kept in a food safe bucket and lid. You can also put them in Mylar bags to keep them longer, but the buckets seem to work well.

I also keep barley and bouillon on hand to make my soups. I start by boiling up some water and then add barley, bouillon, and jerky. After cooking about 30 minutes, I add my vegetables and finish cooking. It should take another 30-45 minutes to finish cooking, depending on altitude.

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Ringing or Girdling a Tree

by Woodsbum

Ringing a tree is a great way to kill a tree that can be used later on as firewood. It will dry and cure in a standing position rather than getting all wet from sitting on the ground. Some species of tree will also drain a huge amount of pitch into its stump/root system so you will have a supply of fatwood as well.

Here is a video where a guy goes through the whole process.

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