Prepping News, Information & Commentary

Is It Necessary to Always Cook Meat?



You’ve been stranded in the wilderness for days. Your minimal food supplies dwindled down to nothing yesterday. It’s been hours since your last meal – days since anything substantial.

Your stomach growls and turns, letting you know that you need to find food or risk starvation. Not an optimal outcome…

Around you, you can see critters of all sorts: fish in the lake, rabbits, squirrels, birds, beavers, and what looks like deer tracks.

Skills like trapping and fishing come easy. After all, you’ve been prepping your entire life. Catching something that would provide life-saving calories shouldn’t be a problem.

The real problem: building a fire to cook the food. First you must gather the tinder, then find wood to sustain the fire, and finally, attempt to spark a fire with your limited resources. All of this takes time and energy – both of which should be conserved as much as possible in survival situations. Is building a fire to cook your freshly caught meat actually necessary?

Is it OK to simply eat your freshly cooked meat raw?

The short and simple answer is NO.

Certain rules are OK to skirt while you’re in the wilderness, but cooking your meat isn’t one of them!

To effectively kill most bacteria found in meat, it’s necessary to cook your meat until internal temperatures reach at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Skipping this step opens you up to a whole host of nasties that can live and bread within your body, not to mention parasites that can (literally) make your skin crawl.

This is so important that the the U.S. Armed Forces have even produced guidelines in their Survival Guide.

Does this logic still apply to saltwater animals? Well, yes and no. Salt water is unique in that it can create a condition known as hypertonic solution that will dry up bacteria and kills them. Salt water animals are not immune to parasites, however, so it’s still advisable to cook them if given the opportunity.

Lastly, cold temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit can also kill bacteria. This is how sushi is safely served across the world without sickening most people who indulge.

When in doubt, it’s always safest to cook your meat. Just because something is caught in the wild doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cleaner than something that you’d find in your local grocery store.

Here’s a list of 11 food borne illnesses that you can catch from clumsily prepared food:

  • Brucellosis
  • E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Tapeworm
  • Botulism
  • Campylobacter
  • Listeria
  • Mad Cow
  • Norovirus
  • Staph
  • Trichinosis

The hunger pains that you might feel from a skipped meal pale in comparison to the side effects each of these will give you. Diarrhea at home is an annoyance. In the wild, it can kill you.