Choosing the Best Dry Cured Meats to Pack for Military Deployment
Meat is one of the most salient aspects of most of our diets when we are dining at home. Why, then, would that change out in the field?
Meat is nutrient-rich, providing an abundance of protein, healthy fats, and necessary calories the body needs to maintain a steady supply of energy while you’re running stealthy while wearing heavy boots and carrying an even heavier pack. With proper preparation, meat is convenient and easy to transport, cook, and enjoy – regardless of where your orders take you.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of exclusively eating MREs, trail mix, and candy like Jolly Ranchers or Hi-Chews along with your water. While these foods can certainly be tasty and are pretty easy to carry in your Assault Pack or your Main Pack whenever you go out in the field, it’s easy to get tired of eating the same thing day in and day out. Not to mention, candy isn’t the best source of nutrition.
This is where dry cured meat comes in.
Shelf-stable meat, like dry cured meat, is an ideal backpacking food because:
- The high calorie-weight ratio provides greater total energy per unit weight carried.
- It’s high in protein and fat content, which enables them to be digested at a much slower rate compared to carbohydrates, thus keeping your appetite more satiated for longer. Meanwhile, the fats offer more calories per gram in comparison to protein and carbs.
- Dry cured meats do not require refrigeration and are typically shelf-stable for up to 18 months.
This means dry cured meats are checking all of the boxes for Active Duty military, like yourself, on missions, operations, and deployments.
Dry cured meats help you navigate that fine line between carrying a large enough food supply to meet your daily calorie requirements and not carrying so much food that your pack is uncomfortably heavy, causing you to burn more calories.
Plus, they’re absolutely delicious!
For storing in an Assault Pack for your 1-3 day ventures, options like a combination meat like Elk & Berkshire Pork Salami. It’s 5.5 oz with relatively high caloric density and free of antibiotics, steroids, and growth hormones. It tastes incredible and comes in its own packaging.
Smart food choices are a necessity when going out in the field. You want to choose foods with high calorie-per-ounce ratio, meaning you want to pack foods that will sustain you with the highest calorie content for the least amount of weight added to your pack.
Tip: Calorie density = (calories per serving x number of servings) / net weight
In general, the foods that contain 70-80 calories per ounce are considered to be the highest in caloric density. This is essential for maintaining maximum efficiency, for those of you Active Duty going out in the field.
9 Best Dry Cured Meats for Your Pack When Out in the Field
Dry cured meats like salami and prosciutto are the best meats for packing out in the field, as they can last for a bit over a year unopened and without the need for refrigeration if it has a natural casing. If it doesn’t have a natural casing, it is still good for up to two weeks without refrigeration.
Curing salt is used to preserve salami, so do consider the sodium content of the meat you bring with you. You will already be packing a large supply of water, but bring some extra to compensate for the high salt content of the meat.
That being said, dry cured meats preserve their natural nutrients, so you will still reap all of the benefits from the protein, fat, and micronutrients you need to keep up your strength in the field.
1. Soppressata Piccante Salami
The Soppressata Picante Salami weighs just 5.5 oz and is a 100% Berkshire Pork meat. This salami is fermented and then aged for three months in a dry room. The meat has a natural casing for minimal acidity, and has flavoring ingredients that include fennel, red wine, Grappa, and Picante spices.
2. Nostrano House Salami
The Nostrano House Salami is our classic Italian-style Nostrano salami, weighing just 5.5 oz. This meat is 100% Berkshire pork meat that has been fermented and then aged in a dry room for three months. The flavors of Northern Italy are fully embodied within this salami, containing coarsely ground Berkshire pork, black peppercorn, and rich red wine.
3. French Rosette Salami
Our traditional French Rosette Salami (5.5oz) is made from 100% Berkshire pork meat that has been fermented and then allowed to age for three months. The sweet flavor of this meat comes from clove, nutmeg, garlic, and white wine to encompass the traditional Rosette recipe.
4. Italian Toscano Salami
This classic Italian-style Toscano Salami (5.5 oz) is made using 100% Berkshire Pork meat that was fermented and then aged for three months. This salami is prepared with black peppercorn, white wine, and fresh garlic.
5. Spanish Style Chorizo Salami
This Spanish-style, slow-cured Chorizo Salami (6.5 oz) is made with 100% certified purebred Berkshire Pork. The Chorizo was aged in a dry room for three months. Our special blend of four smoked and unsmoked Spanish paprikas infuse the salami with its rich, red coloration and a sweet, but smokey, flavor profile.
6. Elk & Berkshire Salami
One of the best dry cured meats for your pack when you in the field, our Elk & Berkshire Salami (5.5 oz) is a delicious blend of Elk meat and Berkshire Pork meat. This tasty salami was made with Red Port wine, Red Dutch Cacao powder, and pink peppercorn. It was fermented and then aged in a dry room for three months.
7. Venison & Berkshire Salami
Shelf-stable meats to pack for out in the field don’t have to be the typical meats. Our Venison & Berkshire Pork Salami (5.5 oz) is made with New Zealand Venison and Berkshire Pork. It was fermented and then aged for three months. Seasoned with red wine, juniper berries, and black peppercorn, this certified free-range, grass-fed, and humanely raised meat is free of any antibiotics and growth hormones. Venison is a much leaner protein than others, dense in essential nutrients, supremely tender in texture, and high in moisture.
8. Wild Boar Salami
When you want to stash some extra nutrients in your pack for out in the field, a dry cured meat like Wild Boar Salami is going to be one of your best choices. Our Wild Boar Salami (5.5 oz) is 100% Texas Wild Boar that was prepared with herbs and wine to infuse the meat with an exceptional complexity and authentic flavor of the Mediterranean.
This salami was dry cured, fermented, and then aged for two months in a dry room. This gives the Wild Boar a darker, richer coloration in comparison to domestic pork, and without the usual gamey flavor.
9. Wild Boar Prosciutto
Wild Boar Prosciutto makes for an ideal dry cured meat to pack for the field. The danger? Everyone else in your squadron will want to eat it too!
Our Wild Boar Prosciutto is made from 100% Wild Boar meat that has been dry-cured and aged for six months with sea salt and sugar-in-the-raw. This delicious prosciutto pairs well with dried fruit and nuts, which are also great additions to your Assault Pack or Main Pack for field operations. Our Wild Boar Prosciutto ranges in weight from 4.5-5lbs, so you will need to slice some up to pack for the field.
Cut Down on Weight in Your Main Pack With Pre-Sliced Meats
Another option for choosing dry cured meats to pack for military deployment is pre-sliced cured meats. These are thinly sliced and come in 3 oz, vacuum-sealed packages for your convenience, which makes them ideal for taking in any Assault Pack or Main Pack when you go out in the field.
Some pre-sliced dry cured meats for deployment include:
1. Pre-Sliced Black Truffle Salami
Our pre-sliced Black Truffle Salami is a hugely popular favorite among our Active Duty military customers, as they are remain stable for long periods without refrigeration and do not require the use of a sanitized knife to slice them. It’s been done for you!
This unique salami is made using 100% Berkshire Pork and 5% Black Truffles that we source from Perigord, France. The pre-sliced Black Truffle Salami is dry-cured, fermented, and then aged for three months in a dry room. It was prepared with red wine, Armagnac, and spices for an unforgettable and unbelievable flavor.
2. Pre-Sliced Soppressata Piccante Salami
The pre-sliced Soppressata Piccante Salami tends to fly off the shelves before our customers head out into the field. It’s delicious, it’s energy-providing, and it’s already sliced for your more immediate enjoyment.
This Italian-style salami is made using 100% Berkshire pork meat that was fermented, dry-cured, and then aged for three months in a dry room. It has a natural casing with a coarse grind for minimal acidity, and has a recipe that includes fennel, red wine, Grappa, and picante spices.
Basically, you’ll be the person in the Unit that everyone wants to share dinner with.
3. Pre-Sliced Nostrano House Salami
The pre-sliced Nostrano House Salami is one of the best dry cured meats to pack for military deployment or other operations. It’s got plenty of fuel-providing calories and protein, and it’s pre-sliced to make your meal prep and consumption a lot easier.
This classic Italian-style salami is made using 100% Berkshire Pork meat that was dry-cured, fermented for 48 hours, and then aged in a dry room for three months. With this Nostrano Salami, we chose to capture the true flavors of Northern Italy using coarsely ground Berkshire Pork, black peppercorn, and red wine, giving it a mild peppery flavor.
4. Pre-Sliced French Rosette Salami
Take some pre-sliced French Rosette salami with you in your pack on the next deployment or mission for protein-filled sustenance that doesn’t require a knife to enjoy.
Our traditional French-style Rosette de Lyon is made using 100% Berkshire Pork meat. The classic-style Rosette is then dry-cured, fermented, and then aged for three months. The sweet taste comes from clove, nutmeg, garlic, and white wine all blending together in the traditional Rosette recipe.
5. Pre-Sliced Italian Toscano Salami
Take the Italian Toscano Salami you read about above. Now, imagine it pre-sliced and ready for you to consume without having to worry about cutting it with a knife while you’re out in the field. Yeah, we think it’s pretty much perfect, too.
Our classic Pre-Sliced Italian Toscano Salami is made using 100% Berkshire Pork meat that has been prepared with black peppercorn, white wine, and fresh garlic. It is then dry-cured, fermented, and then aged for three months.
6. Pre-Sliced Chorizo Sarta Salami
This pre-sliced Chorizo Sarta Salami is a cured Spanish classic meat named for its characteristic horseshoe (or ‘sarta’) shape. This is a great dry cured meat to pack for military deployment, made from lean pork, pimenton de la vera, garlic, sea salt, and other natural ingredients.
7. Pre-Sliced Wild Boar Salami
You will be out in the wild on deployment, so take some Pre-Sliced Wild Boar Salami with you in your Assault Pack. This pre-sliced Wild Boar salami is 100% Texas Wild Boar, expertly sliced from our whole Wild Boar Salami. This pre-sliced dry cured meat for your pack was prepared with herbs and wine to give it a deep complexity and a genuine Mediterranean flavor. This Wild Boar dry cured meat tends to be darker and richer in terms of color than the typical domestic pork, and it is without the gamey taste.
8. Pre-Sliced Wild Boar Prosciutto
This boneless, dry cured, Pre-Sliced Wild Boar Prosciutto is the perfect choice of dry cured meats to pack for military deployment, especially when you get those last-minute orders and don’t have time to plan. These packages of pre-sliced Wild Boar Prosciutto are very thinly sliced and tightly packaged, so they can easily slip into your Main Pack right alongside the MREs.
This pre-sliced Wild Boar Prosciutto comes from 100% Wild Boar. It is dry-cured and aged for six months with sea salt and sugar-in-the-raw. Our pre-sliced is expertly cut from our whole leg Wild Boar Prosciutto.
9. Pre-Sliced Duck Prosciutto
This dry cured Pre-Sliced Duck Breast Prosciutto (2 oz) is made using cage-free duck breast that was air-dried to perfection. The pre-sliced, ready to eat, perfect to pack for military deployment prosciutto comes from our whole Dry-Cured Duck Breast Prosciutto for your convenience out in the field or on the ship!
10. Pre-Sliced Berkshire Pork Lonzino
Give yourself a delicious meal worth looking forward to from your pack on deployment by taking along some pre-sliced Berkshire Pork Lonzino.
This is Chef Pascal Besset’s favorite dry cured meat! Our classic Italian Lonzino is made from using 100% Berkshire Pork Loin. This pork loin is massaged with herbs to help the ingredients penetrate the meat. From there, the pork loin is dry-cured for four months to ensure optimal tenderness.
This pre-sliced Berkshire Pork Lonzino (3oz) comes sliced from our whole Berkshire Pork Lonzino (1 lb).
11. Pre-Sliced Berkshire Lomo
You won’t take up much weight in your Assault Pack with pre-sliced Berkshire Lomo as the dry cured meats to pack for military deployment. This classic Spanish Lomo is made using Berkshire Pork Loin that has been dry-cured and then rubbed with five different Spanish paprikas. After this rub, the pork loin is massaged to ensure the paprika penetrates the meat for an optimally tender texture. Finally, this Spanish Lomo is aged within its casing for four months in a dry room to trap the aroma. This pre-sliced Berkshire Lomo “will literally melt in your mouth,” according to our very own Chef Pascal Besset.
Storing Dry Cured Meats in Your Pack When in the Field
Tips for Packing Salami for the Field
When it comes to storing meat in your pack for deployment or other field operations, hard/dry salami will be your best option. Choose a salami that has a natural casing for better ease of storing, unrefrigerated, for up to 18 months, as long as it is not exceedingly hot. Salami has been around for centuries, long before the refrigeration was invented, so go for it.
Once you slice your salami, it’s best to eat the entirety of the meat within seven days (which should be plenty when eaten in conjunction with the provided MREs. Avoid pre-slicing the salami, as the extra surface area provides more space for harmful bacteria to thrive, which will speed up the spoiling process.
When out in the field, sanitize the knife you are using to cut the salami over the fire prior to slicing the meat. Avoid touching the salami directly with your hands, instead holding onto the packaging to prevent contamination – especially important if you are in the field as a Corpsman!
To be safe, do a visual and olfactory inspection of the end of a small part of the meat to ensure it’s still good to consume.
Put salt onto the exposed end of the salami as a way to preserve the meat once the packaging has been opened and the meat has been sliced. Store it in an airtight container, wrapped in tightly sealed plastic.
Tips for Packing Prosciutto for the Field
Prosciutto is a dry cured meat that can be stored without refrigeration for up to one week. The prosciutto must be wrapped in plastic to prevent dehydration. If you are unable to cook anything while out in the field, try pairing your prosciutto with wrapped dates or crackers.
Packing food for deployment or other field operations can be quite the challenge. Careful meal planning and preparation will help you to not end up carrying excess weight while still keeping you fueled up while you’re working. Adding dry cured meats to your pack for the field will help you maintain energy and feel full for a longer time.
As an added bonus, having artisan dry cured meats waiting for you will give you something to look forward to while you’re out on a mission.
Finding the Best Dry Cured Meats to Pack for Military Deployment
Your field operations may be focused on many other, bigger things, there’s nothing quite like being able to hunker down for the night, setting down your pack, and enjoying some delicious meats.
If you’re still unsure about which dry cured meats are best to pack for military deployment, missions, and operations, feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below or give us a call at 760-931-1324 to speak to a dedicated sales concierge who can help you find the best dry cured meats for your pack.