How to Can Meat – Beef, Pork, Venison, Elk, Bear, etc.
This should be a mainstay for anyone interested in prepping for SHTF or just prepping -period. This is an old fashioned way of preserving meat. Also, if you are a hunter, and happen to bag some old sinewy animal, this process will yield very tender meat without chemicals! Our grandparents did it, and today, the Amish still can their meat this way.
The items you will need: A pressure canner, wide mouth jars (easier to fill these), new lids or rubber seals, and jar rings or other tops, tongs, a canning jar lifter (very handy), canning salt, and (of course) the meat (fairly lean) cut into approximately 2” cubes.
The approximate ratio is about 1 pound of meat to fill a pint jar (grandma’s old adage – a pint is a pound the world around).
First, sterilize the jars, seals and lids. I place the seals and tops or rings in a small sauce pan of gently boiling water, and use a skillet for the jars. I place the clean jars upside down in the skillet with a few inches boiling water (keep an eye on it, you may have to tip the jar and let the hot water level again). While doing this, partially fill the pressure canner with water and start slowly heating it.
Fill the sterilized jars with the cubed meat (I trim off excess fat if the butcher left too much), packing it tightly – leave as little air space as possible between the cubes, and fill to about ¾ inch from the top. Place a half teaspoon of canning salt (per pint) on top of the meat. There is no need to add broth as some cookbooks state. Wipe the jar rim clean with a damp cloth, and set your seal and ring in place. Screw-on rings need only be finger tight.
Place the filled and sealed jars in the pressure canner, and cover with about an inch of water. Consult the directions as some canning units may vary. Place the lid on the pressure canner, and turn up the heat! I process the meat for 1 ½ hours at around 15 lbs of pressure for pints, 2 hours for quarts. KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON THE PRESSURE CANNER as pressure builds quickly, but is easily adjusted down by reducing the heat, or adjusting the pressure release valve. Turn off heat, and allow canner to cool down. It is VERY HOT, so just leave it there, it will cool down in and hour or so.
The canner and contents are extremely HOT, so always exercise caution! I cannot stress caution enough! This is not meant to scare you, just to keep you cautious!
When the pressure is back to zero, test it by opening the pressure release valve. I always do this first, as a precaution. Use the jar lifter to remove the jars and place on a cooling rack. Allow to stand undisturbed (where there is no draft) for 12 – 24 hours. Any that didn’t seal properly, refrigerate and use within a few days (I have rarely had this happen) The jars may be a bit greasy, especially if you canned pork, and can be cleaned up with warm water prior to being put in a dark place for storage. It should keep fine for a year or more (mine is usually used up in 6 to 8 months).
This meat will have a unique taste, it will have its own broth. The broth makes wonderful gravy for stews and casseroles! Also, as it is very tender, you can drain off the broth (save it for gravy!), pull the meat apart with a fork, and add your favorite barbecue sauce – you will the best pulled (fill in the meat) barbecue!
When opening any home canned item, be sure the lid is concave, and doesn’t move, and listen for the telltale ‘pssst’ as you break the seal on the jar – this also for the rubber seal on glass tops and zinc tops. If you don’t hear that, the seal may have been compromised.
I have learned that by adding vinegar to the water in the pressure canner will keep the jars from having a white film on them.
Interesting, I’ll have to remember that!
Great tips on canning. I grew up with my parents canning veggies from the garden, but not meat. I’m a hunter & will have to try this with the venison I have.
I canned 25+ pints of deer meet, I just used a little salt and a pressure cooker for 75 minutes at between 10 and 15 pounds. A few cans I added some BBQ seasoning. It’s all amazing stuff.
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