A massive piece of dry meat: Because she can
'It's taller than me,' Loretta Margaret Wiley of her large strips of dry moose meat
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Patience and skill — that's what Loretta Margaret Wiley says it takes to make a big, honkin' piece of moose dry meat.
"I learned it through my grannies and grandmother when I was growing up," she said.
Wiley lives in Norman Wells, N.W.T., and has spent 30 years mastering the art of making dry meat. She says she used the Deline method for the giant cuts she shared on CBC North's The Arctic Kitchen recipe page on Facebook.
She says the Deline method is when the meat is cut and hung over a fire or stove to dry the outer layer of the meat. Once that happens, the meat it cut again to expose the wet inner layer so it can be exposed to the heat and dried. It's a process that can take a couple of days to complete.
"The moose meat is such a big volume of meat, so whenever I tried to make the big, large piece of dry meat it never works out for me because it ends up ripping," said Wiley
"So I use the Deline method and with patience it just turned out so amazing," she said.
It also turned out to be gigantic — about 6.3 kilograms.
"It's the backstrap of the moose and it's huge ... When you have full moose backstrap, it's taller than me," she said.
"It was so heavy to even hold up."
And when she posted photos on The Arctic Kitchen of the massive piece of meat, people were floored.
"Now that's a piece of dry meat!!! Wow!!," wrote one commenter.
"Thinking about the knife work has got my mind blown," said another.
Wiley dries the meat over a fire in her teepee in Norman Wells. She says she burns diamond willow, which gives the meat a delicious flavour, and the smoke isn't overwhelming.
"As you grow up you are watching your elders and you just carry on those tools … you hold onto those skills and then you pass it on."
And that's exactly what she is doing. Wiley says she plans on passing those skills onto her children and grandchildren.
"I try to use it the best way I can."
And clearly, by the looks of that impressive piece of dry meat, she knows exactly what she's doing.