Preserving Meat with Salt

Whether your homestead is off-grid, you don’t have enough room in your freezer, or you want meat that could last when power is interrupted, salting is a great time-tested option.  In this article, we will discuss dry salting.  The process works by using the salt to draw out the moisture from the meat and any potentially harmful bacteria until microbial growth is prohibited.  It is basically chemically induced dehydration.  There is always a risk of food poisoning when one is consuming meat that is moths, or even a year old, get properly prepared and use caution when salting your meat so that you can benefit from a method of food preservation that has helped keep people alive for thousands of years.


Getting Started

To get started you will need containers, preferably ceramic or glass, that will be able to hold all the meat that you want to preserve and have room left to accommodate the salt.  You will also need to locate a place to store the meat while it is curing.  Ideally, you are looking for an area that is dry and that will remain above 32 degrees Fahrenheit and below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepping the Meat

Cut the meat into pieces, the smaller the pieces are the more surface area of meat will be exposed to the salt, and therefore the quicker the curing.  Most sources will tell you that 1 ounce of salt will cure up to 25 pounds of meat.  But salt is not expensive and food poisoning is deadly so I would error on the side of caution.  Put a thin layer of salt on the bottom of your container, start adding meat that you have rubbed with salt to the container leaving a thin gap on the sides of the container and in between each piece of meat, fill in the gaps with more salt, put a thin layer of salt on top and cover with a cheese cloth.  Store this in a cool dry location.  The curing should be done in a month.

Checking on the Meat

Check on the meat periodically.  If the meat still contained a lot of blood, or if moisture got in the area you are storing the meat, the salt may become so moist that it cannot sufficiently dehydrate the meat.  If this occurs, simply remove the meat, clean the container, and repack it with fresh salt.  After the curing is successfully completed you can remove the meat and wrap it in moisture-proof paper or plastic and can store at room temperature.


Dry salting can keep meat for months, this could be what you need to get you through the winter or a disaster that leaves you without power.


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4 thoughts on “Preserving Meat with Salt

    1. Moisture will allow bacteria to grow which will lead to spoilage. If you do not have a dry area I would not attempt this method. Try using a brine instead.

  1. Hey, this is great info. A friend always cleans everything in salt water and I know there are other salting traditions that I am not fully clear on. I heard something about “brining?” Will check this out further too. I plan to share your article with others as I know it will be very useful to others as well as me. Thank you.

  2. I would suggest one of the classic “prepper” or survivalist books to learn about food storage methods. I like the book ‘Making The Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook’ By James Talmage Stevens. Otherwise there are other books or canning guides, but this book covers a lot of methods and it’s all explained as this is meant to be an actual D.I.Y. guide, explaining step by step how to store grain, dehydrate food, or even make cheese, breads or pickles.

    I do like the article. It’s an easy and cheap method. Keep the meat dry and cool. I live in humid Florida, but it could still work in combination with a food cellar or creative search for a cool spot.

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