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As I’ve mentioned in some of my other canning and preserving posts, there is nothing like having your own home-canned food on the shelf, especially if it’s the kind you have grown or raised on your own property. If you raise your own meat livestock, knowing how to can meat is one of the vital skills you will want under your homesteader’s belt.
At Stone Family Farmstead, we run a no-kill farm. Not because we are against eating meat (obviously) but darn it all if we don’t get attached to all of our animals here. We haven’t found a way to make that part of the farm happen without the risk of making ourselves very sad, so we just opt to purchase the best meat we can afford each week.
Having canned meat on the shelf can save a good bit of time when you are in a hurry and need something quick. Shaving off an extra 20-30 minutes off meal prep can really be a life saver at dinner time! Canned meats can be used in recipes like spaghetti sauce, soups and chili, casseroles, tacos, and pretty much wherever you would use cooked meat mixed with other ingredients (so, not as a standalone meat source for your meal). This post will share with you how to can meats in chunks, strips or cubes. (If you are looking for a ground beef recipe, I have one for your right here.)
There’s a couple different ways you fill your jars. You can raw pack or hot pack the meat, and both are just as good as the other (though I prefer the raw pack method). I will give you instructions on how to raw and hot pack the meat since today’s instruction will cover canning strips, cubes or chunks of bear, beef, lamb, pork, veal or venison meat, as well as boneless chicken. Knowing how to pressure can these meats will get you well on your way to filling your shelves with your very own jars of home-canned meat for use in all kinds of different meals!
This post is going to assume that you understand the basics of pressure canning, but if you are doing this for the first time, or are not quite sure you have the basics down, you can refer to my post, “How to Can Food for Beginners”. It’s a fantastic article that takes you step-by-step through both canning processes. This time you will only need the information under the headings of Steps Before Processing, Pressure Canning, and Steps After Processing.
Items Needed for Canning Meat
How to Can Meat Step-by-Step
Preserve in pint or quart jars.
- Step 1, Prep the meat: Remove excess fat. If you are canning strongly-flavored game meats, it is recommended by National Center for Home Food Preparation to brine the meat for 1 hour in a solution of 1 Tbsp of salt per quart of water. Remove large bones and cut into 1″ strips, 2″ cubes or chunks.
- Step 2, Pack the jars: RAW PACK (all meat varieties): Add 1 tsp. salt to your pint jar, or 2 tsp. to your quart jar. Pack pieces of meat into hot jar, leaving a 1-inch head space. Do not add liquid to any of the jars, except if you are canning chicken, in which case you would ladle hot water or broth over the chicken, leaving 1-inch head space. HOT PACK (for all meat, except chicken): Precook meat until rare by roasting, stewing, or browning in a small amount of fat. Precook chicken by boiling, steaming, or baking until 2/3 of the way cooked. Fill hot jars with meat pieces and add boiling broth, meat drippings, or water to the jar, leaving 1″ head space.
- Step 3, Preparing for the canner: Remove air bubbles with a bubble remover, and clean the jar rim. Center the lid onto the clean jar rim and screw on the band only fingertip-tight. Repeat steps 2-3 until all jars are filled.
- Step 4, Fill your canner: Place all jars into your pressure canner. (For instructions on how much water should be in your canner at this point, please refer to the instructions for your canner, as each one is different).
- Step 5, Close the canner and vent: Place the lid on the canner and lock into place, according to the instructions for your canner. Turn heat up to high and wait for the canner to begin exhausting steam from the vent. Allow steam to escape for 10 minutes, then put the weighted gauge on the vent. Bring canner to 10lbs pressure (make sure to check your altitude, because if you are over 1,000 ft altitude, this will be different).
- Step 6, Begin timing: Once the canner is at the proper pressure, set your timer for 75 minutes for pints, or 90 minutes for quarts.
- Step 7, After processing: Once processing time is finished, turn off the heat and allow the canner to depressurize naturally down to zero pressure. Allow canner to sit for 5 minutes, then remove the lid, allowing steam to escape AWAY from you so as not to burn yourself. Let jars cool 10 minutes, then with the jar lifter, remove jars to a towel on your counter. Allow to cool for 12 hours. Test seals, label, and store jars.