How to Preserve Meat Without Refrigeration

By LeafTV Editor

Meat has been preserved for hundreds of years before the advent of refrigeration. Today the most popular ways of preserving meat include making jerky, which is basically a dehydration method, and the age old art of sausage making. Dehydrating meat for jerky and then storing it in an airtight package will keep the meat fresh for later use and is easy to pack. Sausage utilizes hog casings to create an airtight environment where spiced meat can be preserved without refrigeration for future enjoyment. Both methods allow you to experiment with herbs and seasonings to your liking so you can create your own customized preserved meats without the need for refrigeration.

Assorted deli meats - ham, sausage, salami, parma, prosciutto, bacon
credit: olgakr/iStock/GettyImages
How To Preserve Meat Without Refrigeration

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Preserve your meat without refrigeration

Make sure you trim as much fat as you can off of the meat you are using to prevent it from spoiling too soon. Fat is harder to dry and may store moisture in your meat that will cause it to spoil.

Marinate the trimmed meat in vinegar or in a marinade with salt to cure it. Let it sit in a cool, dry place overnight to really absorb the vinegar or marinade into the innermost parts of the meat.

Roll the meat in the herbs and seasonings of your choice. Herbs used include rosemary, thyme, black pepper, sage and parsley.

If you are making beef jerky, use small strips and load them into the tray of your food dehydrator so that they do not touch each other. It should take about 10 hours to fully dehydrate your meat.

If you are making sausage, you should load the meat into a meat grinder after it has been spiced. Pack the ground meat into the hog casing as tightly as possible and then twist the casing to make separate pieces, tying each one with twine and then wrapping it all in wax paper. Use natural hog casings for fresh sausage, although if you are using smoked meat, collagen or fibrous casings will do just fine.


  • Marinating a second time in just salt will further dehydrate your meat, but may diminish the flavor of the vinegar or marinade that you use.