Potted Meat
I read an old article “Canning Canned” by Frank Bielman; according to medical records on canned meat during the last part of the “buffalo stands” period - I have read that it was a question as to what was worst the possible bad meat or the lead soldered lids and bottoms on the cans that made many company hunters sick.

A small group of us find this very interesting, trying to use edibles as correctly and true to the period, this has been a hobby as well as a business when still owning Clark & Sons Mercantile, a period edibles food supplier, sold and now closed because of health issues, was sorry to hear of his misfortune.

Doing reenactments or historical living history for more years than many of your readers have been alive, (not bragging - just getting older), may I give you some more information on the subject of “potted meat”.

I had an older gentlemen (a rancher) tell me about the care of meat before refrigerators or a warm winter and ice wasn't as thick as usual. In the fall they would process wild game meat, (cattle were to be sold to easterners not eaten), this meat would still be edible in the spring. Here’s what is really interesting, they kept it in pottery crocks, glass and metal cake pans covered with cheese cloth and stored in the root cellar.

The secret is they would cook the meat well done, then using rendered hot lard (liquid form) cover the bottom of the container, next the meat was singly placed in the container with a covering of lard to seal it from the next piece of meat being placed as well as not letting the sides of the container touch the meat either. Each piece is kept completely sealed from the container and other meat, when meat was needed you would take out what you wanted wiping off the lard and saving it to be rendered again for use at a later time.

He claimed it would last at least 5-6 months, this was as late as 1955 near Loveland CO, they didn't get electricity until 1955 or 1956 in many farming areas in rural Colorado and Wyoming.

For a 20 year period we have practiced this method of taking care of meat while moving around the mountains in Colorado. A small group of us started doing canoe trips back in the mid 80’s, one trip was from Ft. Morgan CO to Ft. de Chartre IL (60 miles south of St. Louis MO), 1260 river miles. The venture was done in period dress, food, and mode of transportation, with no support team - just on our own skills to keep everything moving forward. For this trek we prepared buffalo, elk, deer and antelope meat, packed in lard gotten at the local grocery store in TIN containers, the trip took 28 days, starting in temperatures in the mid 30's and arriving in IL with temperatures in the mid 80's. We ate the meat every day and found it was as good the last day as it was the first day.

Hope this adds to what Frank had to say years ago about the care of meat and how important it is when dealing with items that can spoil or worst make a good trek go bad.

Thanks for a great magazine Jason, have been a customer since Bill’s dad started the publication years ago.

Buck Conner
Posts: 7 | Registered: 16 November 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, this is still used in other parts of the world.

Pemmican is essentially the same thing, thought the meat isn't cooked, it's dried and then shredded or pounded into tiny bits. Here is a video on Pemmican, and here's Part 2 There is another good video on long term storage of raw eggs in a crock.


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
Posts: 3711 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When still in the period correct food business, "cultivated or foraged" I had gathered over 200 related subjects, recipes, etc. When I sold the business "Clark & Sons Mercantile Inc. (period food and cook wares only store) I put all that information on a shelf and forgot about it. The business lasted for only a few years then the new owners had some health issue and closed the doors is what we were told.

I had been selling correct period edibles in 'Buckskin Report' for several years before they closed at my store the "Buckhorn Rendezvous" (muzzle-loading supplies) outside Estes Park CO., sold it because of a job location change then came up with the Clark & Sons idea. Fun stuff that so many do not take part in and are missing the whole experience of living history.

If you guys are interested I could post some of that information?

Buck Conner
Posts: 7 | Registered: 16 November 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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