LONG LAKE Treating animal hide"skin of an animal", Proper Processing of Wild Game and Fish,
Curing"smoking" meat in the SmokeHouse and types of wood used

When an animal is alive, its skin is soft, flexible, very tough and hard wearing: it has the ability to allow water vapour to pass out, but it will not allow water in.
When the skin dies it loses these characteristics: if it is kept wet it rots, and if it is dried it goes hard and brittle.
The process of tanning is to retain the skin's natural properties, to stabilise its structure and at the same time to chemically process it so it will no longer be subject to putrefecation. Thus, leather is animal skin that has been treated such that its natural properties are retained.
Skin is made up of many bundles of interwoven protein fibres which are able to move in relation to one another when the skin is alive.
When the skin dies, these fibres tend to shrivel and stick together.
Essentially, the purpose of tanning is to permanently fix the fibres apart by chemical treatment, and to lubricate them so they can move in relation to one another.
Well tanned leather, therefore, retains the properties of flexibility, toughness and wear.
It also continues to 'breathe', allowing water vapour to pass through but remaining reasonably water-proof.
It is this characteristic which accounts for the comfort of genuine leather shoes and clothing.

The chemistry of the leather industry

Commercially used;

in Oak trees for tanning the hide

Quercitannic and Gallotannic acids

Quercitannic acid is one of the two forms of tannic acid found in oak bark and leaves.

The other form is called gallotannic acid and is found in oak galls,

The quercitannic acid molecule is also present in quercitron, a yellow dye obtained from the bark of the Eastern black oak (Quercus velutina), a forest tree indigenous in North America. It is described as a yellowish-brown amorphous powder.

Commercial Tannic acid is a specific form of tannin, a type of polyphenol, its weak acidity (pKa around 10) is due to the numerous phenol groups in the structure, the chemical formula for commercial tannic acid is often given as C76H52O46, which corresponds with decagalloyl glucose, but in fact it is a mixture of polygalloyl glucoses or polygalloyl quinic acid esters with the number of galloyl moieties per molecule ranging from 2 up to 12 depending on the plant source used to extract the tannic acid, commercial tannic acid is usually extracted from any of the following plant parts:
Tara pods (Caesalpinia spinosa), gallnuts from Rhus semialata or Quercus infectoria or Sicilian Sumac leaves (Rhus coriaria).

How to make leather naturally - Natural vegetable tanning
Things You'll Need; Animal skin(obviously), a large, preferably plastic 10–20 gallon (37.9–75.7 Liter) container, plenty of oak, hemlock, sumac, or tanoak bark, a water source, an assortment of knives, including at least one convex blade, Lime, a rounded stick or paddle(optional), enthusiasm and patience.
10 steps
Natural vegetable tanning, one of the best known methods of producing leather.
Make Leather Naturally;
Step 1, Start by setting up a work area.
Step 2, Soak the hide in a bucket of water overnight to make it more pliable.
Step 3, Carefully scrape the flesh off the skin using a very sharp convex blade or drawknife.
Step 4, Once clean, the hide must be de-haired. Lime is usually used to break down the keratin in the hair, making it easier to remove, mix up a solution of 2 cups lime to 1 gallon (3.8 Liter) water, soak the hide in the lime solution for one to two weeks,
Hair, especially deer fur, is notoriously difficult to remove, leaving it in the solution too long might damage the skin itself, when it's finished soaking, lay it over your work-bench and scrape the loosened hair off the skin using a canoe paddle, drawknife, seashell or similar implement.
Step 5, By now the hide looks clean, but is still covered in protective layers, a membrane on the flesh side and the epidermis on the fur side, these layers, especially the tough epidermis, must be removed to allow the tanning solution to penetrate and fully preserve the hide, first allow the surface of both sides to dry out, carefully scrape the hide using sharp blades held perpendicular to the skin, sand the surface with medium-grade sandpaper for a more polished job and to help remove any tough spots.
Step 6, finally, the hide is ready to be tanned, collect a large amount of oak or hemlock bark, try not to strip bark from living trees as this can kill or severely injure the tree, with a little exploration, you can usually find plenty of fallen trees to collect from, also, make sure you have the right tree! Add the bark to a large container of water, an empty trash can or plastic box is ideal, soak the skin in this bark "tea" for up to nine months, during this time the tannic acid in the bark will seep through every pore in the skin, coating the microscopic fibers with preservative, for best results, change the water and add fresh bark once in a while, say once every three months, once it's done tanning, remove the skin from the solution and clean it well, scrubbing and even scraping it with a blade.
Step 7, the final part of the process, currying, is turning the preserved but rough and poorly-colored skin into a polished final product, to prepare for currying, poke a series of holes along the border of the hide using a leather awl or similar instrument, tie ropes to the holes and stretch the skin taut on a wooden frame by fastening the ropes to the frame, In this position, the skin will be easier to manipulate, leave it on the frame until semi-dry, a few hours in the sun should suffice, scrape both sides vigorously with a very blunt blade or alternatively, rub a rounded stick or canoe paddle across the surface, this process, called sleaking, rapidly and repeatedly stretches the leather making it permanently soft, smooth, and supple, as the skin MUST be continuously and vigorously sleaked until dry, the longer and more energetically the leather is sleaked now, the better the final product will be.
Step 8, the leather can be smoked suspended over a fire of greenwood, this isn't necessary, but it helps waterproof the leather and darken its color, a tripod would work, but be careful not to let the leather fall into the fire!
Step 9, Either way, the leather is finished by rubbing oil into the surface and giving it a final round of sleaking.
Step 10, congratulations! If you completed the above steps carefully and methodically, your finished leather should be soft, smooth and lightweight, ready to be dyed or used as-is in your favorite leather crafts, some examples include leather-bound books, bags and pouches, clothes, moccasins, belts, and wall decorations.
Have fun and be creative!
Commercial Tanning
Animal skins are converted to leather in an eight step process as follows:
8 steps
Step 1 - Unhairing, The animal skins are steeped in an alkali solution that breaks down the structure of the hair at its weakest point(the root) and so removes the hair.
Step 2 - Liming, The hairless skin is immersed in a solution of alkali and sulphide to complete the removal of the hair and to alter the properties of the skin protein (collagen). The collagen becomes chemically modified and swells, leaving a more open structure.
Step 3 - Deliming and Bateing, The skin structure is then opened further by treatment with enzymes, and further unwanted material is removed.
Step 4 - Pickling, The skins are then treated with acid to preserve them for up to two years
Step 5 - Tanning, This is the most chemically complex step. During tanning, the skin structure is stabilised in its open form by replacing some of the collagen with complex ions of chromium. Depending on the compounds used, the colour and texture of the leather changes. When leather has been tanned it is able to 'breathe' and to withstand 100°C.(212°F.) boiling water, as well as being much more flexible than an untreated dead skin.
Step 6 - Neutralising, Dyeing and Fat Liquoring, The leather is then treated with alkali to neutralise it and so prevent deteroration, and then dyed. This involves fixing a variety of compounds onto the chromium, as that is the most reactive site present. Once the leather is dyed, it is treated with reactive oils that attach themselves to the fibrous structure, improving suppleness and flexibility.
Step 7 - Drying, Water is removed from the leather, and its chemical properties stabilised.
Step 8 - Finishing, A surface coating is applied to ensure an even colour and texture and to improve its ability to wear. Suede leather is also buffed at this point to give it its distinctive finish.
Proper Processing of Wild Game and Fish
Most outdoorsmen hunt or fish for sport, many of them also do it to provide food for themselves and their families.
The meat from hunted animals, birds, or fish is processed and either prepared for immediate consumption or preserved for later consumption.
Those who field dress animals, fish, and birds and transport them from the field are often unaware of the potential risks associated with foodborne pathogen contamination.
As with any perishable meat, raw or undercooked game meat can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonellae and pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli. These bacteria, often associated with the gastrointestinal tracts of animals, can cause illness in humans when ingested.
Contamination of meat or fish may occur through the initial wound as well as during field dressing, handling, and transport.
Bacterial numbers will increase on the meat, especially if held at improper temperatures. If the meat is not properly cooked or preserved, or if cross-contamination occurs, there is an increased risk that these pathogens will be ingested, often resulting in foodborne illness.
Therefore, proper handling of game meat or fish from the field or stream to the table is extremely important.

The Importance of Temperature Control

Bacteria exist everywhere in nature--in the soil, air, water, and our food--and it can grow on that food when the temperature is right because it provides the nutrients and other conditions bacteria need to grow.
Temperature control plays a critical role in keeping food safe and is essential for the prevention foodborne illness.

Bacteria grows most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40°F.(4.444°C.) and 140°F.(60°C.), in some cases, doubling in number every 20 minutes.
This range of temperatures is often called the "temperature danger zone.
The Temperature Danger Zone: 41°-140°F.(5°-60°C.)
Temperatures below 40°F.(4.444°C.) will slow the growth of the bacteria but will not kill them.
Bacteria capable of causing foodborne illness either do not grow at these refrigerator temperatures or grow very slowly. However, spoilage bacteria, yeasts, and molds will grow and cause the meat or fish to spoil over time.
After days of refrigerated storage, meats may develop uncharacteristic odors or colors and/or may become sticky or slimy.
Always use a refrigerator/freezer thermometer to verify that the temperature of the refrigeration unit is below 40°F.(4.444C.)

Properly handled and prepared game meat, birds, or fish stored in a freezer at 0°F(-17.77778C) will last up to a year or so.
Freezing prevents bacterial growth, but it does not kill them. Once thawed, these bacteria can again become active and multiply to levels that may lead to foodborne illness. Therefore, thawed meats should be handled in the same manner as fresh meats.

Be sure to thaw frozen meats properly either in the refrigerator, in a microwave, or, if vacuum packaged, under cold running water--but never at room temperature.
Cook the meat quickly after thawing is completed.

When storing and handling meats, preventing cross-contamination is important.
Prevent meat juice from dripping onto other food items in the refrigerator and clean all surfaces and utensils that come in contact with the raw meat or its juices with hot, soapy water and rinse well.

Always cook raw game meat, birds, and fish to the proper internal temperature.
This internal temperature must be reached or exceeded during baking, roasting, frying, or boiling in order to destroy bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

When roasting meat and poultry, use an oven temperature no lower than 325°F.(162.7778°C.) Cook ground meats to an internal temperature of at least 160°F.(71.11111°C.) Cook game bird breast meat to an internal temperature of at least 165°F.(73.88889°C.)

Use an instant-read meat thermometer to ensure that all meats have reached the proper internal temperature.

An uncommon but severe parasite that may be associated with bear and wild pigs from North America is Trichinella spiralis.
The parasite can be inactivated by freezing the raw meat for at least three weeks prior to consumption.
Cooking also will destroy the parasite.
So, bear or wild pig meat should be cooked using the same temperature guidelines as other meats such as venison.

Once cooked, it is important to cool the meat down rapidly and then store it at refrigeration temperatures if the food will not be consumed immediately.
Spore-forming bacteria, such as Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium perfringens, are a risk in cooked meat items that are not properly chilled and stored.

Safe food-handling practices are a good defense against foodborne illness. Because we know how different temperatures affect the growth of bacteria in our food, we can protect ourselves and our families from foodborne illnesses by properly handling, cooking, and storing game meat, birds, or fish at safe temperatures.
Hickory is highly prized for wood-burning stoves and chimineas because of its high energy content.
Hickory wood is also a preferred type for smoking cured meats.
In the Southern United States, hickory is popular for cooking barbecue, as hickory grows abundantly in the region and adds flavor to the meat.

Smoking Woods
Plenty of information at the following site, a must see, Extracted here is only the wood or other items used or not to be used for smoking and which wood goes best with which meat and some very good points.


There are many types of wood that can be used for smoking food.
I have compiled a list of ,any of these woods and what they are recommended to be used with.
You may also find you like to use a combination of woods from you smoked meats.
My favorite combination is Hickory, Cherry, Apple and Pecan wood. I used this blend for just about every smoke.
I also use quite a bit of apricot, peach, maple and oak because it’s easy for me to get for free and maintains a simpler flavor profile as my preferred blend.

I personally find mesquite revolting. It is in ever BBQ store but you have to use it carefully. Mesquite is very harsh and easily becomes over powering. Gotta be a Texan to like that stuff. It’s rather harsh like burnt sugar and a little bitter for my taste.

Wood Smoking Flavor Chart, Wood type, Smoking Flavor Characteristics, Meats or Veggies to use wood with;
Acacia, Alder, Almond, Apple, Apricot, Ash, Avocado, Bay, Beech, Birch, Blackberry, Butternut, Carrotwood, Cherry, Chestnut, Corncob, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Fig, Fruitwood, Grapefruit, Grapevines, Guava, Hickory, Jack Daniel's Chips, Kiawe, Lemon, Lilac, Lime, Maple, Mesquite, Mulberry, Nectarine, Oak(White and Black Jack)(RED OAK is good on ribs), Olive, Orange, Peach, Pear, Pecan, Persimmon, Pimento, Pistachio Nut Shells, Plum/Prune, Sassafras, Seaweed, Walnut (Black), Walnut (English), Whiskey Barrels (Nice).

Smoking Herb Blends
Italian Herbs, Oriental Herbs, Dried Herbs.

Wood that is considered poisonous when used for smoking.
DO NOT USE any wood from conifer trees: PINE, FIR, SPRUCE, REDWOOD, CEDAR, CYPRESS, or they will make you sick!

More woods that you should not to use for smoking:
Never use lumber scraps, either new or used. First, you cannot know for sure what kind of wood it is; Second, the wood may have been chemically treated; Third, you have no idea where the wood may have been or how it was used.
Never use any wood that has been painted or stained.
Do not use wood scraps from a furniture manufacturer as this wood is often chemically treated.
Never use wood from old pallets. Many pallets are treated with chemicals that can be hazardous to your health and the pallet may have been used to carry chemicals or poison.
Avoid old wood that is covered with mold and fungus that can impart a bad taste to your meat.
See full chart @

Meat eating animals are not good to eat.