Let face it. The stereotypical setting for canning food is at grandma’s house. Watching her prepare the food and doing the work while grandpa watch football on the tube. Fortunately, canning is not just a woman’s world. Plenty of men enjoy and have mastered the art of canning. From canning meat to fresh-from-the-garden vegetables, canning has preserved food for centuries.
However, for the manly man, canning peas and tomatoes just isn’t manly enough. At least that’s what I thought, until I found that canning meat was possible. Since that day, my world has been changed forever. It’s definitely been a trial and error type of process, some attempts being down right deadly (I’ll explain that later.) If you are looking to get into canning meat, have a look at this simply guide. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.
If you are new to canning, I recommend you watch our canning video first by clicking here.
The Cut of meat is important
Just going to the grocery and buying meat will not make for a good experience. Instead, when you are canning meat, you want to have a cut fresh from the animal. If you raise your own livestock, such as chickens or cattle, this shouldn’t be a hard task. If not, find the local butcher shop and they should be able to get you set up.
Of course, just as in making jerky, the goal is as little fat as possible on the cut. If there is a high fat content, the heat and pressure will make the meat rancid. Remember what I said about being deadly? Yeah. Fat is not a good thing.
Preparing the cut and Canning Process
The way you prepare for canning meat is different for each type of meat. Since you will most likely be dealing with poultry or beef, I’ll stick with those two. However, you are able to can seafood, though I’ve never tried it.
When choosing a chicken, the bigger the better because large chickens contain more flavor than fryers. Clean the chicken completely, removing anything that isn’t meat. You can choose to leave it on the bone, it you like. You will need to adjust your process; I’ll cover both ways when we get to it. Though poultry doesn’t have much fat, you’ll want to remove all you can.
Once the meat is clean, chill it for 6-12 hours before canning. From here, you can choose to can it raw or partially cooked. I, personally, like to do it partially cooked. Here is my process:
- I cut the meat into tiny chunks (you can cut it however you like but try and decide what you might use it for in the future.)
- I put the pieces in a large enough pan and the put enough water in the pan to cover the meat.
- I bring that to a boil and let the meat cook about 2/3 complete.
- While the meat is cooking, I add 1 teaspoon of salt to the jars I will be filling.
- When the meat is 2/3 way done, I remove from the heat and scoop the meat into the jars. I fill the jar about ¾ full with meat. I then pour broth till it reaches roughly 1 ¼ inch from the top.
- When completed, I tighten the lids and place the jars into my pressure cooker. I use the Presto 23-quart cooker. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to can.
- Place the jars into your pressure cooker. Your elevation will determine how many pounds of pressure you need.
- 0-2000ft :11 lb
- 2001-4000: 12
- 4001-6000: 13
- 6001-8000: 14
- This is where the difference of leaving the meat on the bones. If you take it off the bone, such as me, you’ll set the timer for 75 minutes for a pint jar and 90 for a quart. If it’s on the bone, its 65 min for pint and 75 for quart.
The process for canning beef is quite similar to that of poultry. You want your meat to be as fresh as possible and as fat-free as possible. When I can beef, I still try to plan for how I will use it. The two ways I can beef is ether ground or chopped cubes. Either way, you still cook till its roughly 2/3 done before canning. Follow the same process as above for poultry, except I add two teaspoons of salt for my beef.
You can add additional spices if you want; I choose not to until I’m going to use it. Another difference is the way you cook it. Instead of boiling it in water, I always brown it on a skillet and then drain the excess grease.
When I go to can the beef, I add the meat until the jar is ¾ way full and then add my own tomato juice till the mixture is a little more than one inch from the top. The sealing process is the same as with the poultry above.
This should be a fun process and rather enjoyable experience. You’ll find that your taste buds may be different than mine so fell free to tweak any recipes to fit what you want. Add more salt or none at all depending on your preferences.
If you are looking for more information on preserving meat through canning, check this out
Here’s the same pressure cooker I use:
For an guide to all of your food preservation needs, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation