Get Your Jerk On! How to Smoke Moose Meat, Alaska Style

Photo by Angela Gonzalez / Many people hunt and fish along the Koyukuk River. Here is a photo of Solomon Yatlin, Janessa Gonzalez, Sarbelio Gonzalez, Ross Sam and Al Yatlin, Jr. in September 2014.

This post comes to us from a blog called the Athabascan Woman.

She offered it up and we jumped at the chance. The photos were all provided by Josephine Derendoff, Koyukon Athabascan, of Huslia.

Many Alaskans go hunting for moose and caribou in September, and they rely on it to get through the winter. We try to use and preserve as much of the meat as we can, so nothing goes to waste. Many people make steaks, soup bones, stew meat, ground meat, sausage, jarred meat, and much more. Many Alaska Natives like to make moose jerky, also known as dried moose/caribou meat or dry meat. Everyone preserves and prepares their meat and fish differently.

Josephine Derendoff, of Huslia, shared some photos of her process of making dry meat.

Photo by Josephine Derendoff / A moose quarter hangs in the smokehouse for a day or so then people put it away in a variety of different ways.

Photos by Josephine Derendoff / You start with a chunk of meat then start cutting them into smaller pieces.

Photo by Josephine Derendoff / Many people make their own hooks for drying moose meat strips. Twist it into this shape then spear the meat onto each tip. The next step is to hang it up in the smokehouse.

Photos by Josephine Derendoff / Many interior Alaskans use garlic or seasoning salt to add flavor to their dried moose meat aka dry meat).

Photo by Josephine Derendoff / People in interior Alaska hang moose meat in their smokehouses on polls, and smoke them for two to three days

Photos by Josephine Derendoff / Old cottonwood is used to smoke dried moose meat in the interior. Many residents make homemade stoves to cook and smoke meat and fish in their smokehouses and camps.

Photo by Josephine Derendoff / The fat is smoked along with the dried moose meat.

After smoking and drying for two to three days, the dried moose meat (aka dry meat) should be ready to take down and put away or eat. (Photo by Josephine Derendoff)

Photo by Josephine Derendoff / After a few days of smoking and drying, the dried moose meat aka dry meat) is ready to eat with some Pilot Bread crackers and hot tea.

​Ana basee’ to my cousin, Josephine, for sharing her dry meat making process. It is a lot of work, but the results are pretty tasty!

Photo by Angela Gonzalez / My husband, Sarbelio, cuts up dry meat in Huslia. We cut it up then bag it for the freezer. We eat some along the way.

​Speaking of a lot of work, it is helpful to work as a team and help each other when putting away moose meat. I went to Huslia in September and we lucked out and got to work on moose meat. I created a time-lapse video using the new Hyperlapse app. It is basically eight minutes squeezed into two minutes. We had fun watching and laughing at the video! The guys (Sarbelio, Ross and Al Jr.) were mainly cutting the meat up and my sister, Tanya and I, were bagging the meat.

Many Alaska Native people still subsist off the land through hunting, fishing and gathering. It can be expensive to buy fuel for ATVs or boats to go out hunting, but it is very much worth it. Transportation is not cheap, and many rural Alaskan communities can only be reached by plane. This brings the prices of food up exponentially. That is why having moose, caribou, fish and berries is so important to have in your freezer. Plus, the way we prepare foods is delicious.

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