Episode 167 S5-4



Dark Days in Denver Ch 4

Special Guest:

Kevin Reiter

     As Dark Days in Denver continues, the characters settle into life at the new camp. Every scrap of food is used to feed the endless flow of refugees. Traveling cakes are one of the options. Pemmican is a type of traveling cake that can be a life saver in a long term scenario. Here to discuss Pemmican do's and don'ts is Kevin Reiter from the Wilderness Safety Institute.      

Pemmican first became a popular products when nations met. Native Americans survived off jerky for journeys and once native women began to marry French men pemmican was born and made popular.

Pemmican is packed with protein and fat to sustain you for many miles on the road. Making it is not as difficult as it might seem but it must be done right if you want it to last for many years without spoiling. 

You can use whatever kind of meat you want to make Pemmican. Traditionally buffalo, venison, elk, and other game animals were the typical selection. Basically, the leaner the meat, the better it is for using it to make Pemmican. 

Multiple online wilderness survival sites have recipes online for making Pemmican. However I tend to lean towards the wisdom of my go to book, Back to Basics by Reader's Digest. To do a quick cured jerky:

  • Cut meat into THIN slices

  • Dip into dry-curing mix (pure pickling salt will do)

  • Suspend from racks and smoke at 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for two to four hours. 

  • Rinse off any encrustation of salt & dry meat on papertowels. Then lay flat in baking trays and place in a cool oven (175 deg. too 200 deg Fahrenheit) until meat is stiff and dry. Leave oven door open to allow moisture to escape.


  • You can dry the meat in the sun


  • Only use a cool oven and increase time.


I read that a dehydrator is not enough to dry the meat to the desired moisture level. Regardless of the method you use, the meat should be so dry that it cracks when folded and can be ground into powder. Grind the meat into powder using a blender, food processer, grinder, etc.

As the meat is drying, render the fat. Take all of the fat you cut off and put it in a sauce pan. Cook it over very low heat. It should become a liquid. Strain off the meat particles floating in it before using. 

You can add nuts, seeds, or dried fruit that has been finely chopped or ground. I have also seen recipes that add honey or peanut butter. Keep in mind that the more extra's you add the shorter the shelf life will be.

To assemble the Pemmican mix the dried meat with the fat (usually a 2 parts meat to 1 part fat ratio, however it depends on climate and desired consistency.) Add any extras you wish to add. Put it on a cookies sheet to cut into bars or roll them into balls. Store in a lidded container in a cool, dark place.

Eating Pemmican is a little biting and a lot of chewing. That is why it's a great food for the road. 

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Character Origins


Kevin Reiter

Kevin has had an avid interest in the outdoors since his father took him fishing at age 3, and has continued to pursue many outdoor activities for over 45 years, such as hiking, camping, fishing, trapping, and hunting. While serving as a Reconnaissance Specialist in the US Military, he started his diving career, and holds the certifications of DiveMaster and Master Scuba Diver, with over 15 specialties. For most of his life, he has not only been continually learning, but has used that knowledge about nature and the outdoors to teach others.


Kevin has taught members of Search and Rescue teams, participated in numerous SAR missions, given lectures on diving medicine at university hospitals, volunteered as an EMT and firefighter in his local community, served as an Assistant Scoutmaster with a local Boy Scouts Troop, and actively participates in educational podcasts and videos for EMS providers and the Preparedness community.


In 2010, Kevin was certified by the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology as a Diver Medical Technician (DMT). At that time, he was one of less than 2,000 people to ever receive this certification in the United States.

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Copywright © 2014 by Sara F. Hathaway.

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