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A trail stew and jerky weekend
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Ike Jutkowitz

Locale: Central Michigan
A trail stew and jerky weekend on 09/09/2012 15:18:43 MDT Print View

On a recent trip to Alaska, I was gifted a few moose steaks. My wife doesn't care for game meats very much, so I decided to use them to prep a few meals for an upcoming trip.

Moose Stew

2 cans kidney beans
12 baby potatoes or 2 cans potatoes
1/4 cup barley
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
1.5 pound meat of choice
turkey leg, brisket, beef shin, pork, etc
Stock to cover (3-4 cups)
2 tbsp flour (optional)
garlic powder, onion powder
salt and pepper

Add all ingredients to crockpot. Cook on higher setting for 12 hours, then lower setting for 12 hours. Longer is better with this stew, trust me. Add additional stock during cooking as needed to maintain consistency. At the end of cooking, everything should be rich brown in color and falling apart. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

If serving at home, fattier/tougher/bone in cuts of meat are ideal. I'll usually put it in the crockpot one night before I plan to serve it. For backpacking, leaner meats like venison are preferred.

After 18 hours

Made 8 cups wet stew. I divided it into 3 servings and spread it out in the dehydrator at 145 F until dry.

Weight 6.1 oz (171 g)
Kcal 880 per serving. Carbs 80 g, Fat 7.5 g, Prot 69 g. 146 kcal/oz.
Nutritional info estimated based on wet ingredients

While I had the dehydrator running, I decided to make some jerky. Piper had recently commented on a beef heart jerky recipe, and I just happened to have a grass fed beef heart in my freezer I wanted to use up. (We buy locally raised beef and pork, and try not to let any parts go to waste). While still half frozen, I sliced it into 1/4 inch strips. Starting weight was 2.2 lb.

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp freshly ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp kosher salt

I marinated it overnight, then carefully drained the meat and dabbed it dry with towels. Spread on dehydrator racks and dried at 115 F all day. Those using less well sourced ingredients and concerned about foodborne illness might choose the conventional 165 F setting.

It tastes like a good jerky, and because the heart lacks a "grain", the texture is pleasant. I think I'll just call it "beef jerky". I don't know that someone tasting it would recognize the main ingredient unless told.

I'm pretty pleased to have taken some unconventional ingredients and made them into amazing trail foods. I think my menu for this trip should be anything but ordinary.