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Pemmican Follow-up - Paleo Spices!
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Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Pemmican Follow-up - Paleo Spices! on 03/29/2012 17:09:10 MDT Print View

Two weeks ago, I made a batch of pemmican - first time! See thread:

I was pretty satisfied with everything except for one small issue: Taste! It was, at best, bland, and bland with lots of fat, plus dry, hard, unflavored beef bits was close to producing a gag reaction. It did, however, taste very much like my First Nations friends' dried meat and fat mixture. So, authentic near-Paleo.

But still badly bland.

Today I pulled all the pemmican out of the freezer, thawed it, heated it to a soft, melty mixture, and added a bunch of spices, all dried, of course: garlic salt, oregano, onion, black pepper, cayenne, six pepper mix, beef bullion, chives, and what ever else I could find!

The resulting mix was darn tasty! I kept sampling it, it was so good! The fat absorbed all the flavors, and the result was excellent! I think the salt is a major flavor plus here, and will also replace sweat-excreted salts.

Then I pulled out a couple of my wife's special cupcake/muffin pans. These don't have round indentations but square ones. Apparently it's to produce brownie squares that have four crispy edges. I mocked her mercilessly when she bought them, and now I'll have to eat crow (not mixed into the pemmican!). Cuz the pemmican squares fit nicely into a pint sized freezer bag (about half the bag is empty, but the air is easily removed).

I expect to use these in two ways:

1) by themselves (or halved with dry salami, hard cheese, etc) as a lunch;

2) with half a freeze dried dinner (beef stew, spaghetti, etc.), to minimize simple carbs and maximize calories. (This works for breakfast too, if you're not locked into "normal" breakfasts.)

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Pemmican Follow-up - Paleo Spices! on 03/29/2012 17:25:31 MDT Print View

Good news. I also plan on trying make my own. I plan on using my own soy sauce ( the real fermented gluten free kind) jerky to make a batch. Next step is to see if I can eat a diet based on pemmicam for a weekend. No stove. I feel that I should have no problem since I can easily eat just jerky all weekend.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Jerky plus fat on 03/29/2012 17:42:48 MDT Print View

Jerky is easy to eat - especially spiced with soy, etc. It's the addition of so much fat that is so odd to our tastes, yet vital to healthy "paleo" eating. Or Canadian voyager eating!

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Re: Pemmican Follow-up on 04/01/2012 03:49:26 MDT Print View

Would it have helped to marinade the strips of meat before drying them (referring to your first post)--to give them some kind of flavor?

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Fat and flavor on 04/01/2012 08:38:50 MDT Print View

I'm sure adding flavor to the meat before drying would make a difference, but adding it to the fat is more effective. Fat tends to absorb flavors much easier than met. If you have ever been placed on a no/low fat diet, you know that "flavor" is spelled F-A-T.

Jack Elliott
(JackElliott) - F

Locale: Bend, Oregon, USA
Thanks! on 04/08/2012 18:51:37 MDT Print View

Stephan, thanks for your post and your research. I'm about to begin a new season of Old Guy backpacking in the Oregon Cascades; and, having lost 55 lbs by eating Paleo since 2009, I am trying to work up trail foods not loaded with the usual carbs and sugars. It ain't easy, but old-school pemmican sounds like just the ticket.

You know, if it weren't for the fact that I like hot beverages in the evening and a hot breakfast, I could totally dump the stove, pot, and the rest of the darn kitchen!

Edited by JackElliott on 04/08/2012 18:52:20 MDT.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Thanks! on 04/08/2012 21:43:38 MDT Print View

Congratulations, Jack on your terrific weight loss. I am a Paleo-eater, too. In fact, at this moment, I have a batch of jerky in the dehydrator. I have been toying with ideas for Paleo-friendly hot meals, but haven't had time for much experimentation, so have kept it gluten-free, but have made the compromise of using rice for freezer bag dinners. Lunches are easy, but I do love a hot meal for dinner.

(tordnado) - MLife

Locale: Europe
Pemmican experiences on 09/26/2012 01:23:45 MDT Print View


Pemmican is absolutely great. It is also half the weight compared to standard freeze dried food and the packaging is a lot smaller to.

What I tend to do if I have time, feel like it, brought something to cook in is to put my piece of pemmican in hot water (2-3 dl) and add half a cube of stock. You dont have to boil it just heat it to the temprature you want to drink it at. (for me it takes 4 grams of Esbit in a caldera cone). What you get is a very nice meat soup!

I tend to use ghee since it is easier to make/extract compared to lard, pure butter also works well but you will carry some water and a tiny bit of protein and milksugar. I tried ready made ghee but it does not get hard in room temprature (20 C) for some reason and the taste is not so nice.

I have repeatedly eaten dinner (pemmican) and then waited until next dinner (24 h) without problems. While my hiking mates have been preparing lunch or stopping for energybars I have just been laying down relaxing and watching the views. To my surprise I have not at all been keen on their sugery stuff.

Another possibilty is to make jerky (I salt and put chili on it before drying) and eat the jerky together with a soup made of butter (ghee, tallow) and half a stock cube. It is not as compact to pack but it is a nice variation.

The longest time I have been eating pemmican is for 12 days in a row. Strangely enough I did not crave other tastes, I felt very pleased all the time.

An important note is that it is not a good idea to try pemmican if you are used to a lot of carbs. You would then have to go on a paleo/low carb "diet" at home some time before you hit the trail.

I also have a recipe for energybars paleo/low carb style, let me know if you are interested.

I´ll be glad to answer any questions.

Edited by tordnado on 09/26/2012 01:52:18 MDT.

(tordnado) - MLife

Locale: Europe
Paleo bar on 09/26/2012 07:45:36 MDT Print View

I got a PM about the paleo bar recipe so here it comes: I made it up myself so i dont have exact mesurements but its not critical.

I got the idea after making pemmican that if the finely grinded meat absorbs fat that well, maybe finely grinded nuts do the same! So I grounded (in food processor) nuts very fine and added to that melted coconut oil, ghee as well as some melted cacao (not powder) and some salt. I also added some bigger pieces of nuts for texture and variation. You could stop here but if you dont have a problem with adding some carbs you could also put in finely minced dried dates and raisins. Pour the whole thing in a pan and when hardened cut it into small energybar sizes.

Just as I am typing the above I realise that before hardened I could put them in shredded coconut to make them dryer to touch in warm temperatures. I believe that the fats in this recipe melts at above 24 degree C or so, if you are above that you would have to pack it accordingly and squeese it out instead of eating it like cakes (Apparently the nuts does not absorb the fat as efficently as meat).

Other ideas of what could be put in the basic paste are:

Coffebeans, sour berries like lingon berries or cranberries, gojiberries, other dried fruits let your imagination go wild :-)

So to summarize:

1) Grind nuts finely
2) To that you add melted fat(s)and melted cacao, pinch of salt, until most of the fat is absorbed
(For sweeter taste and some more carbs add minced raisins or dates in step 2)
3)Put on plate or tray and let it harden then cut it.
4) Adjust proportions and write them down until next time if you, unlike me, like to follow strict recipes.

I hope it is all understandable (english is not my native language). Let me know the outcome of your baking!

A side note. Airtraveling with pemmican or primal bars in my handluggage is not something I like to do. It looks like big cakes of hash. Any ideas of packaging that makes it look "normal"?

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Pemmican Follow-up - Paleo Spices! on 09/26/2012 09:17:52 MDT Print View

Interesting ideas, Mr. T! I'll have to experiment with that!

This summer on most of my hikes I would take a standard freeze dried meal, split it in half, add a chunk of pemmican to each, then in the field add hot water like your method above. I was very pleased with the results, which was a much richer soup/stew/glop meal, quite filling, with no hunger between meals at all.

Leaving out the freeze-dried meal entirely, and adding extra dried ingredients (per your method) should work very nicely!

Thanks for sharing!

Dawn Anderson
Re: re: Pemmican Follow-up - Paleo Spices! on 11/14/2013 20:12:01 MST Print View

Hi Stephen,

I like your suggestions about the pemmican. I wanted to let you know, if you want a change or get tired of pemmican or don't have time to make it, that there is a place you can buy a freeze-dried Paleo MEAL. Not just a snack, but actual meals! My son is a backpacker, CrossFitTM athlete, marathon runner, and a Paleo Diet follower. He had been searching and searching for a freeze dried backpacker meal that adhered to the Paleo Diet guidelines and was never able to find one. He also runs marathons and works at a remote job site where he can't always fix meals, so he often needs a meal that is quick, wholesome and Paleo. As you probably have noticed, most of the ready-made, freeze-dried meals out there are full of ingredients not allowed on the Paleo Diet. When he couldn't find one, he decided to make one! He is an engineer in Denver and has an entrepreneurial mind set so he suggested we start a business manufacturing freeze-dried Paleo meals. So, I have spent the last three months starting a company to do just that!

Our website is and I thought you might be willing to take a look at it, give us some feedback and maybe even try a meal. We are a small company, it's just the two of us, and my son works full-time at another job, so any help you could give us as far as promoting our product would be greatly appreciated.

I hope this information is helpful.
Dawn Anderson

I contacted Ryan and received permission to post this exciting news about there actually being a place you can buy a freeze-dried complete Paleo meal now. We thought the Backpacking Light readers would be happy to know this!