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Canned Meats - Basic Methods

Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 05:01
by Seminole
There are two basic methods of canning:

1. The well known traditional boiling water method. At sea level, water always boils in the open container at 212 F (100 C). This method is ideally suited for acidic foods as Clostridium Botulinum bacteria will not develop into toxins under such conditions. Meat is only slightly acidic and Clostridium spores are known to survive boiling water temperature, especially when the processing time is short.

2. The high pressure method is recommended for meats. When the container is sealed, the pressure builds up inside and water will boil at much higher temperature. All bacteria will die, the product is safe and the cans be stored for a very long time at room temperature.

The acidity of food dictates which method should be chosen. Red meats, poultry, fish, fresh vegetables, milk products are not acidic and are at risk when boiling water method is used. To compensate for that vinegar, lemon juice, ascorbic or citric acid is added to increase the acidity of the food. The simplest solution is to crush some Vitamin C tablets (ascorbic acid) and dissolve them in water. This increases overall acidity of the food and provides more safety.

Foods which are acidic by nature such as tomatoes, pickles, sauerkraut, pickles are naturally acidic and are safe to be processed in boiling water open container.
In most cases in order not to ruin the flavor, we don`t want to increase acidity of meat and such a product should be processed in a pressurized container. It is accepted that all low-acid foods should be processed at temperatures of 240° to 250°F (116 - 121° C). At those temperatures the time needed to destroy bacteria in low-acid canned food can vary from 20 to 100 minutes. The time needed to safely process low-acid foods in a boiling water container can vary from 7 to 11 hours.

Of course, the processing time will be affected by the kind of food and the size of jars. This time must be also adjusted when processing foods at higher altitudes. At higher altitudes water boils at lower temperatures and the process time must be increased.

Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 16:28
by Dave Zac
While we can a lot of vegetables, I have never canned meat or fish. What are the benefits of canning meat besides not having the freezer space to store frozen meats?

Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 23:46
by Chuckwagon
Hi Guys! Seminole, that is terrific information. It seems like canning is "going out of style" with this generation. May parents lived through the great depression of the thirties and I grew up canning everything in sight. Through the war years, people canned everything they could lay their hands on as there were always shortages of certain products.
Dave, I had a friend whose family canned fish at every opportunity. He made trout taste like tuna fish right out of a tin on the grocer's shelf. Eastern Utah is full of coal mines. Preserves were made for hard times when miners were either on strike or laid off. As the county sheriff, my only objection was "how" some people fished... with "Carbon County Spinners".... (sticks of dynamite). Stunned fish would rise to the top and hungry miners simply gathered them up. As a cop, it was pretty hard to charge a hungry man with a felony. I often just asked people to "fish" when I was busy in the other end of the county. I guess I was a pushover. I saw a hungry miner poaching a deer to feed his family. I rolled up my sleeves and helped him clean the damned thing! I'll bet he voted for me in the next election! :lol:
I still can a lot of fruit just for great tasting preserves throughout the winter. Like sausage making, canning becomes another self-sufficient craft to master.
Best wishes, Chuckwagon
P.S. Do you want a recipe for canning fish? Glad to share it with you.

Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 09:05
by steelchef
As a senior citizen and newcomer to the forum I have overlooked this topic which is one of my passions.
My grandmother used to can venison in glass jars equipped with wire hooks and rubber sealing bands. She always put a half inch dollop of grease on the top of the ingredients, presumably to add a further sealing layer. She included a small amount of vinegar along with other spices which I`m sure included juniper. I was too busy pursuing other things to get her recipe but would do almost anything to taste it again.
She would prepare plates with potatoes, green beans, fresh bread and lots of homemade butter plus small portions of this taste intensive venison, with juices. Delicious!
She reserved the grease for use in frying breakfast foods like hash browns and cabbage with sausage. Add a couple of eggs and I would pick apples all day.
Before you may come to believe that I`m really related to Chuckwagon, I assure you that any old or heirloom meat canning recipes would be really appreciated.
I have canned sausage, seasoned stew meat and ground beef quite successfully. With pressure cooker technology it's not a big deal. It's also a great quick meal.

Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 23:23
by unclebuck
Funny your mentioning canned venison. My mother(bless her memory)did all sorts of red meat & fowl, including chicken, geese, ducks, and believe it or not squab in glass jars in the old pressure cooker(which had more than a single purpose on the farm in Sask.) Anything & everything that came out of that cooker, whether it was meat or rocket fuel was the finest!!!! Any and all that partook of the proceeds had a belly full, whether it was meat or liquid.

Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 09:52
by Chuckwagon
Hey Unclebuck,
I know what you mean. It's pretty hard to beat that ol' pressure cooker. When I was very young, my mother was burned terribly by using one improperly. After a hospital trip and treatment, she gritted her teeth and got right back into canning and pressure cooking. She cooked everything in it but nut and bolts. It was sort of the "microwave of the 50's and 60's". I just purchased more Mason jar lids and bands this evening. Going to put up some extra-hot (habanero) Louisiana Links in brine. Hey buck, isn't it funny how certain foods bring back memories?

Best Wishes,

Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 20:01
by steelchef
unclebuck wrote:Funny your mentioning canned venison. My mother(bless her memory)did all sorts of red meat & fowl, including chicken, geese, ducks, and believe it or not squab in glass jars in the old pressure cooker(which had more than a single purpose on the farm in Sask.) Anything & everything that came out of that cooker, whether it was meat or rocket fuel was the finest!!!! Any and all that partook of the proceeds had a belly full, whether it was meat or liquid.

In my case it was the next generation which progressed to pressure canning and ours was also a muli-purpose device. We used it primarily for veggies but a lot of smoked salmon was canned along with sausage and chicken. Unfortunately there are no remaining recipes. The canning part is easy, the spicing is what I miss. The other (liquid) component would burn with an invisible flame. Only the Great Spirit knows what proof that stuff was. :wink:

Keep warm friend.

Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 04:12
by ssorllih
I bought my first canner in '74. Mother canned food on the farm when we were kids. The great advantage of canned meat is it doesn't need to thaw before you can prepare it for a meal. this link to the national center for home food preservation is the best I have found.
I have a good recipe for venison mincemeat pie filling.

Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 05:08
by Chuckwagon
ssorllih wrote:
I have a good recipe for venison mincemeat pie filling.
Ross- tightwad home cook
How about sharing it Ross? Lots of folks would like to try it. :wink: If it is a really good recipe, why not enter it into the "recipe of the month" and win a book? Be sure to take some photos and give it a really "original" name. :lol:

Thank you.

Best Wishes,

venison mincemeat

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 02:27
by ssorllih
This works well as a round latice top pie or as turnover pies for the lunch box.
4 pounds of venison trim meat, very minimal fat.
3/4 pounds of beef kidney fat
3 pounds of apples quartered and cored. peel them if you like.
3 pounds of raisins.
3/4 pound of dry currents if you can find them
1 Tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
tablespoon ground ginger
tablespoon ground cloves
tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground mace
2 quarts of apple cider
1 pound of brown sugar

trim all of the fat from the venison. cover with water and simmer until the meat is tender.
Refrigerate the meat/water over noght and skimm the fat. Remove any bones and grind with a course blade/plate. You will need about 2 quarts of ground meat. grind the suet and apples.
combine everything in a large heavy pot and simmer for 2 hours. Pack into pint jars and process for 75 minutes at the pressure for your elevation.
Up to 1000 feet 10 psi, over 1000 feet use 15 psi for 75 minutes, allow the canner to cool naturally and remove the jars to a towel in a draft free area..
It takes about a quart of mincemeat for a pie.

Attribution: from the Farm Journal Cookbook copyright 1972.

canned venison

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 17:56
by unclebuck
This is my mother's canned venison recipe, all the way from sunny Saskatchewan, as I recall it. It goes back to when my grandparents immigrated to Canada. Dollars were short, and you had to be self sufficient.

Trim meat of fat & "silverskin" and cube into 1/2 - 3/4" pieces.

Pack semi tightly into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt (2 or 3 drops liquid smoke optional) per pint, along with one cube of beef bouillon.(The liquid smoke is my addition)

Place a slice of onion(clove(s) of garlic optional) on top of each jar of packed meat.

Do not add liquid!!! If you added liquid, you could have a "runaway" in your pressure cooker. The meat will produce its own juice.

Sometimes this juice will not fill the jar or completely cover the meat. That is nothing to be worried about.

Wipe the rims of your jars clean. (critical for a good seal)

Place the warmed lids and screw bands on real tight.

Place jars in your preheated pressure canner, trying to keep them from touching each other. This can be a tight fit depending on the size of your pressure cooker, so it may require some manouvering of the jars.

Follow pressure canning instructions using the processing times below.

Don't forget to adjust the pressure requirements for your elevation.
Quarts - 1 hour 30 minutes
Pints - 1 hour 15 minutes

For variety you can add vegetables and make a superb canned stew.

Makes for an easy & fine repast while hunting or a fast & tasty meal at home to be eaten with homemade cheese biscuits.

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 23:19
by steelchef
Thanks to both ssorllih and Unclebuck for sharing those recipes. I have found a few on the 'net but as we all know by now, reliability of blind recipes is iffy at best.
I've put them both in my "Must Try" file.

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 00:20
by steelchef
In an earlier post I requested recipes for canned venison recipes that had vineger as an ingredient. I think I have stumbled on a workable marinade which could be used as a substitute.

Wild Things for Wild Game
1 pt cider vinegar
1 qt water
1 cup NON-IODIZED salt
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 blade mace
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 Tbsp. parsley
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium sliced carrot
1 cup dry red wine
Bring all ingredients, except wine, to a boil. Turn to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain into a large container and add wine. Use immediately. Do not store.
Brine meat 3 to 4 days turning often and keeping refrigerated.
Place in smoker using 2 to 5 panfuls of Hickory or Cherry "Chips 'n Chunks" flavor fuel (depending on thickness of meat).
Finish cooking on broiler or in the oven.
Use this recipe for: venison, elk, moose, bear, horsemeat, antelope, sheep and reindeer.

Courtesy of the "Little Chief Smoker Cookbook"

I'm going to try converting this to a canning recipe and will let you all know how it turns out. (Any and all advice gratefully accepted.)

The Little Chief website is an amazing resource for beginners. There are downloadable PDF & DOC files (34 pages) which cover a lot of territory.

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:44
by Chuckwagon
Update 7/31/13

See also:
Food Preservation Methods (Stan's New Website) - Click on this link:
Can Sealers: ... assembling (Don't miss the many subfiles. For example, Sauerkraut has 10 subfiles.)

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 19:35
by ssorllih
When canning meat there are some choices that we should consider. Some jars are larger in the body of the jar than at the top. I once packed turkey drums into a regular mouth quart jar and had a terrible time getting them out. The jar makers produce jars with straight sides in sizes from quarter pint to pint and a half.