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Home Forums General Discussion What a Great site!! Re: What a Great site!!

#64848
elnav
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Off gridders who also plan to go hunting may need to give some extra thoughts to power for refrigeration at least during the early stages of meat storage.

Although the area I live in is almost an off grid community as least according to how ‘off-grid’ seems to be defined by users of this forum and website. We have no municipal services except for electricity but not for all residents. Many homes are not served by power lines either. Hunting and dressing of large game such as deer, moose or elk, is as often as not done out the back yard. One essential is a tripod or frame for hanging the whole carcass to drain and while you skin it. Building a garage is low on the priority list for most off grid home builders. One of our neighbors does have a car port so he places S hooks on the rafters. Then uses block and tackle for hoisting the carcass to drain. Another neighbour hangs Moose carcasses from the teeth of the bucket on his farm tractor. The bucket can be lifted high enough to bring the carcass well off the ground away from volves and bears looking for an easy meal.

Once the carcass is drained then you can quarter it and this is when power for a deep freezer becomes essential. Quarters can be smoke cured bu unless you really like this style of meat preservation; freezing is the way to go.

Canning is not really practical for large quantity of meat and is very time consuming.

The other alternative is to take the carcass to a custom butcher who will cut and dress everything for you including wrapping individual roasts etc. It’s expensive and you get frozen packages that require continued refrigeration which need power.

The bottom line being if you really plan to do it yourself, best be prepared ahead of time and know what method of food preservation is going to work for you in your location. Cooling down large quantities of fresh cut meat will require a lot more power for a freezer unit that if it is simply maintaining already frozen meat that you bring home from a grocery store.

Sun drying and smoking is certainly a couple of options but even here you need to have the drying racks and smokers ready to use before you bring home the fresh kill.

If you live within 50 miles of a major urban center (driving range during which the dry ice will not melt too much) where a welding gaz supply shop like Liquid Carbonic or PraxAir can provide dry ice you have a non powered source of freezing. A few 5 pound blocks of dry ice will flash freeze the meat in an insulated chest. you can bring the dry ice home in a well insulated ice chest then pack the fresh meat in the dry ice. We used to use small packets of dry ice on sailboats which did not have refrigeration. One caution. Be careful and not let the meat come into contact wdirectly with the dry ice. It burns the contact location thus ruining that part of the meat.

Hang the Dry ice in a basket and let the ice cold vapours fall down to surround the warm meat being chilled.

Failing that you can use the CO2 bottles used to provide the fuzz to soft drink fountains. We once built an environmental test chamber that could pull down to -60F on a hot august day. construction was plywood and 6″ thick styrofoam walls, to and bottom as well. A CO2 bottle mormally used to provide gas to a drink fountain was metered into the chamber to maintain a set cold temerature to demonstrate our equipment was functional during outdoor winter conditions.

So even off grid there are options as long as you plan ahead.