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I watched a couple survival shows and started reading a bit about how jerky is made. A big point they get across no matter how they make it is to trim the fat. Fat doesn't dehydrate well enough to keep bacteria from growing, they say. Fat can go rancid, and nobody wants that, they say.

I don't doubt that trimming fat is a good idea, but I still have a few questions.

  1. Why exactly doesn't fat dehydrate as well as muscle? Is it simply because its hydrophobic fats and oils block water from reach the surface, like how we use vaseline to keep our skin from drying?
  2. What exactly are the negative effects of eating rancid fat? Obviously nausea-inducing food is a bad way to stay fed, but when I try to look up the toxicity of rancid fat, the most I get is the broader meaning of "rancid" for all spoiled food or unconvincing naturopathic blogs.
  3. In a situation where your only option of preserving meat is jerkying, where can you find a reliable source of fats to avoid rabbit starvation?
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    Convert the beef fat to tallow. It keeps for a year without refrigeration, if the container is air-tight. – Weather Vane Mar 23 at 20:07
  • If the container must be airtight that might explain why those survival show episodes didn't bother processing the fat. They're a few days from a rescue crew and a proper meal anyway. – BatWannaBe Mar 24 at 0:50

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