I am in the process of making pinnekjøtt and skerpikjøt, two types of air-dried lamb (salted and unsalted, respectively). I am aware of the risks, not only of bacterial contimination, but also of fly infestation (they will be dried outside, but in a very well-ventilated small shed, that is otherwise completely empty). I don't live in an area with serious fly problems, but they are nonetheless present, and will flock to raw meat like, well, flies round...

What methods could I use to deter flies? I have considered:

  • Keeping a large bowl of vinegar in the shed, next to the hanging meat
  • Putting the meat inside breathable bags that are completely sealed
  • Hanging flypaper in the shed

Previous questions have only dealt with deterring insects from cooked food or the general kitchen area. This deals with a specific, known, insect-attracting item.

  • 2
    If you have power in the shed, a fan might help -- if it's strong enough, flies can't land in the wind. It would likely speed up the drying process, which may or may not be desireable. I don't know about regular flies, but for fruit flies, you can make a trap out of a container of cider vinegar in a container w/ small holes in the top. The holes need to be large enough for them to fit their body through, but not large enough for them to fly through.
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:33
  • 11
    Not sure what luxuries you have access to but you could consider framing a box with two by fours and wrapping it with an insect screen. Seal the top of the box with solid material. Do not use the insect screen on the top of this box because flies can drop their larvae through the screen and it can lodge itself into the meat.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 16:33
  • 3
    For salted air dried meat, the only concern is surface dirt carried by the flies, which is easily kept off by any form of wrapping, e.g cheesecloth or muslin. The salt will kill anything that gets into the meat. Source - personal experience salting pork, in the UK: it was quite "normal" to shake a dozen flies off the covering before unwrapping it to cut some meat that was to be eaten cold and uncooked, and nobody ever died as a result! (This was salted meat kept without any refrigeration for 6-9 months before use.) I don't have any experience with unsalted dry curing.
    – alephzero
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 20:09
  • 1
    @GermanDrulyk, that is actually very similar to what I have done already. the whole shed is lined with insect screen, but I am sure there are gaps somewhere!
    – canardgras
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 8:29
  • 2
    @canardgras I see. Well if you go the route I mentioned then you will also enjoy the added benefit of portability.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 15:00

4 Answers 4


Your second suggestion is best. When hunting, we always brought cheesecloth game bags into which to place the quarters, etc. They worked well at keeping flies off and allowing air circulation. I prefer the cheesecloth ones as they allow better air circulation than the muslin ones; particularly important for long term hanging and drying. You can also just wrap the sheep in cheesecloth if you prefer.

Also, keep a close eye on the sheep. Making pinnekjøtt and skerpikjøt as on the Faroes is partly dependent on the micro-organisms available (or unavailable) due to the salty air as well as continuous air circulation (wind).

  • 4
    Make sure the mesh is some distant from the meat (air gap), of course.
    – user34961
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:34
  • 2
    @JanDoggen Good point. Also avoid stretching the mesh so that it becomes too large; one area in which muslin or plastic screening is superior to cheesecloth. Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 19:51

My family often makes sun dried beef for African dishes and it is generally dried openly outdoors in the sun, so fly infestation is a frequent problem.

The way they usually protect it is by placing it in some sort of open container like a large tray or open wide box then covering the opening with some sort of fine net or mesh, the type you can easily find in any hardware or DIY store.

As long as its holes are finer than the insects you are trying to keep at bay it will effectively maintain them away while keeping good ventilation. Use some sort of clothes clamp or rubber band to secure it in place and keep it sealed.

Its a "passive" technique that requires no energy, or consumables and can be reused many times.


Use a food fly cover available at kitchen supply shops:

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While it may or may not work for your particular dish, the spicy component of black pepper is piperine, which is toxic enough to most insects that it has even seen use as an insecticide. As such, insects avoid it. Rubbing your drying meat down with ground black pepper will keep the flies away until the pepper goes stale (which takes quite some time.)

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