Rickard Johansson and some of the meat he dried at home on a farm in Ranio. Photo: private
Ricardo’s more ancient methods of venison care
In Gamtun in Raniu, Norrbotten, Norway, 32-year-old hunter Rickard Johansson maintains a knowledge of how to use bushmeat. Every spring and winter, the meat is dried – a knowledge that has been in the family for generations. Here Rijkaard shares his recipe.
– I learned from my grandfather and father and now my 3.5-year-old twins are learning, says Rijkaard.
He is a professional hunter and fisherman and has competed in the national team in goal game and goal run.
Shooting took a long time and a few years ago there was more and more hunting and fishing, then houses were built and then came the twins, explains Rijkaard.
Many different times of the year are spent getting meat and fish for the family.
– I take a week off in May and go to Norway to buy cod and halibut. I never take a summer off, says Ricard, because I keep it for fall and hunting.
I learned from Sami
Grandfather Goran Henrikson passed away last year at the age of 96. During his life he collaborated a lot with Sami who taught him how to make food. It’s knowledge that has largely fallen into oblivion today, but lives on in the Rickard Johansson family.
– I dry meat – basically moose meat but terribly like grilage and clean goose. It has incredible durability and is very good to chew on the couch on Friday evenings and good to take with you on woodland trips or give as a gift, says Ricard.
He tried to dry every possible cut detail and the result is almost the same. Today it does not use the finest cuts of meat but rather dry parts such as the leg and fries.
There may be fat left on the pieces, as they give a very nice taste. If you don’t want to eat fat, it is possible to cut it out afterwards.
Here is Ricard:
The meat is dried in the spring and winter seasons, preferably when cool nights turn into windy days and slightly warm and humidity is low.
Pick up frozen cuts of meat and let them thaw for 24 hours. Then cut it into equal pieces, the thickness of which is between two and three centimeters.
It must be kept in saline for 24 hours. For the law, I use ten liters of water, ten deciliters of salt, and five deciliters of sugar. Sugar is included because I think it would taste nice and round. It is a recipe that has been passed down for generations. I’ve tried all kinds of spices, but I always come back to the fact that the old recipe is the best, says Ricard.
Layers are heated while stirring. When the liquid becomes so clear that the bottom of the pot is visible, the law is ready.
– Then the law must be cooled before using it. Then I put the remaining meat in the pan for 24 hours if the pieces of meat are 2 to 3 cm thick. Rijkaard says I stir at regular intervals.
Drying time varies
After 24 hours, simply pick up the pieces of meat, put them on a string, and hang them. Ricard chooses the side of the house where the sun is least – to avoid flies that wake up in the spring sun on the meat.
Some prepare things or build cages to keep birds away. But I haven’t had any problems with birds or flies. Once upon a time, there was a seal giving up a piece of meat, but he kept the same piece of meat the whole time, so it had to be kept.
The length of time to hold the meat varies with the weather. It may take two weeks, but it may also take a month. Some cuts dry directly until completely dry, and some cuts leave a smoother, more moist medium.
Those with a softer pulp are very good to fry on a little light, says Rijkaard.
The dried meat is vacuum packed and placed in the freezer.
– Last year I lost 40 kilos, and this year I have some left. So I’ve reduced to 20 kilos now.
At least 14,000 years old
The World History website writes that for at least 14,000 years, humans have experimented with extending the shelf life of food, for example by drying it.
Now knowledge continues to be passed on to future generations. The Ricardo twins help with the procedure before drying.
They are 3.5 years old and know exactly how to dry meat. It helps with chopping and stirring the brine. It’s not far off, Ricard says, that they choose dried meat over sweets.