Do It Yourself Canned Beef and Broth

The richest beef broth is the one you make yourself, and it makes the most savory soups and sauces you ever tasted. And since you’re already making broth, you might as well can some meat too. After discovering how ridiculously easy it is, if you’re like me you’ll make your own from now on. There’s just no down side. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it tastes better than anything you can buy.

Plus, it’s an excellent addition to your emergency food supply.

Beef Broth Recipe

Don’t worry about the lack of specifics — I’ll explain quantities in just a moment.

  • Beef Shank (“soup bones” with meat still on them)
  • Salt
  • Water

Yes, it’s that simple. No spices, no herbs, no vegetables, no worries. Just meat, salt, and water.

Beef Broth Instructions

1. Getting the right meat. What you’re looking for it this:

Beef Shank -- this is the forearm of the cow.

This is a cross-cut of the cow’s forearm. It has lots of connective tissue, which is great for getting rich-tasting broth. If you can’t get this cut, I recommend chuck with the bone in.

The bone is very important for flavor. One great advantage of the shank is that the bone has a big chunk of marrow, unlike the chuck.

I use organic grass-fed beef because it has a richer, gamier taste that is essential for stews and sauces and basically any recipe for which canned beef is suitable. In other words, anything that canned beef or broth is good for, you need the slightly gamy taste of grass-fed beef.

2. Figuring the quantity. Get out your largest stock pot. You’re going to use whatever amount of meat it takes to fill it halfway.

3. Roasting. Put the meat in a 350 oven for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 275 and roast it until rather dark — probably an hour more. If the meat has drawn away from the bone, and the edges of the bone are starting to turn brown, that’s a very good sign. You can try to keep roasting until this happens, but just don’t let the meat get dry and crisp. The inside needs to be tender for canning.

4. Simmering. Pour all the meat, bones, and fat, into the stock pot. Scrape the roasting pan drippings into the pot as well. Fill the pot with water, to within an inch or so from the top. Add some salt. Your experience will guide you, but I use about a tablespoon per five pounds of uncooked meat. It’s not a big deal — you’re going to add some in the canning step anyway. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-14 hours, covered. The simmer really needs to be literally a simmer, very gentle to keep from boiling off water and flavor.

5. Sorting. Let cool, and separate the meat and bones from the liquid. I don’t skim the fat or clarify the broth, but you might prefer to. If so, follow these steps:

  • Strain through a sieve.
  • Skim the fat (chill, and then remove the hardened chunks of fat).
  • To clarify:
    • beat egg whites to soft peaks
    • crumble egg shells and stir into whites
    • stir all into the broth
    • bring to simmer, stirring gently now and then, let simmer ten minutes
    • strain through a towel

6. Packing. This is the part of canning where you put the stuff in jars before processing. I just pour the unskimmed, unclarified broth into the jars. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt per quart.

7. Processing. You have to get this right to avoid food poisoning. Do your own research, but we boil the broth and pour into hot jars, then process seven quarts at 10 pounds of pressure for 45 minutes. Be sure to let the pot cool before removing the lid.

Here’s what you get:

Make it rich. You can always water it down if you need to stretch it.

Now let’s see what to do with the meat and bones left over from the broth.

Canned Beef Instructions

Before canning the broth, you had to separate it from the meat and bones. There’s no reason to discard this, although you may choose to get rid of the bones. As you can see in the photo, I kept the bones.

Canned beef. Yours should be packed tighter -- this is the last jar, and we didn't have enough meat for a full quart.

Normally, your jars will be packed tight with meat, but the one pictured was the last jar. In any event, pack it down, add a level teaspoon of salt per quart, top it with broth, and process for 1.5 hours. The processing takes longer because you’re starting with cold or merely warm meat.

If you’d like to have more canned meat, the chuck is a great cut for this. Prepare it the same way you did the shank, but fill the pot with meat and then cover with water. Also, you’ll probably want to separate any large chunks of gristle from the meat before canning.

Notice that the meat is still nice and red. That’s because we stored it in the dark. If the room gets any light, all your food in jars will eventually turn gray.

~SnoMan

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