Smoking Moose Meat in Interior Alaska

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.

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

 

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

 

 

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. Photo by Josephine Derendoff of Huslia
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. Photo by Josephine Derendoff of Huslia
Many interior Alaskans use garlic or seasoning salt to add flavor their dried moose meat (aka dry meat). Photos by Josephine Derendoff of Huslia
Many interior Alaskans use garlic or seasoning salt to add flavor their dried moose meat (aka dry meat). Photos by Josephine Derendoff of Huslia
People in the interior Alaska hang moose meat in their smokehouses on polls, and smoke them for two to three days. Photo by Josephine Derendoff of Huslia
People in the interior Alaska hang moose meat in their smokehouses on polls, and smoke them for two to three days. Photo by Josephine Derendoff of Huslia
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. Photos by Josephine Derendoff in Huslia
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. Photos by Josephine Derendoff in Huslia
After smoking and drying for a 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 of Huslia
After smoking and drying for a 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 of Huslia

 

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

 

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. Photo by Josephine Derendoff of Huslia
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. Photo by Josephine Derendoff of Huslia

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!

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

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 to important to have in your freezer. Plus, the way we prepare foods is delicious.

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. 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. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

5 thoughts on “Smoking Moose Meat in Interior Alaska”

  1. Excellent piece and full of interesting information! I have a background in food manufacturing so I found the information extremely interesting. While I’ve spent much time in large scale food production I prefer the simpler, more natural approach to food creation and preservation. I do have a question; where can I find local moose meat? I live in the Talkeetna area and am very interested in getting some meat to experiment with in terms of meals. Keep up the great work, Angela!!

    1. Good question. You might looking for a local company that processes meat and fish. I think you might find some at Alaska Sausage and Seafoods or Indian Valley Meats. Perhaps you can ask around to see if there are any local hunters that would be willing to share a little bit with you.

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