Canning your own food is a great way to build up your emergency food supply, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are several steps involved, but the trick to easy canning is to 1. get organized and 2. keep it simple. In this article I’ll demonstrate a very simple recipe for canned meat.
For this demonstration I chose the chuck roll because it is a relatively inexpensive cut, it has great flavor that mixes well with many dishes, and it has a high fat content, which is perfect in survival situations. Combining rich flavor and high calorie content means that your canned meat will go a long way.
Important Note: Although not shown in this video, meat and other low-acid foods must be processed in a pressure canner to destroy the spores that cause botulism. I processed these jars for 90 minutes at ten pounds of pressure.
Basic Canning Method
Proper canning and storage will yield a shelf life of several years. The basic idea is to sterilize the food, seal it from the air, and store it in a cool, dark place. Low temperatures will extend the shelf life, and darkness will prevent degradation by ultraviolet light, which discolors the meat, gives it a stale flavor, and destroys essential nutrients.
Simple Canned Beef Recipe
This might look like a long list, but that’s just because I covered all the details. It’s actually a very simple and easy process. I start with a whole chuck roll. (I also canned some sirloin tip roast, which is leaner but a little more expensive). This recipe works just as well with chicken, pork, or venison. In the video you’ll see I cut the meat into large 2-inch cubes to reduce the prep time, but if you want to pack more into every jar, cut it smaller. That probably pays off in your canning time because you’ll pack the same amount of meat into fewer jars.
I don’t waste any of the fat. If chunks of fat gross you out, trim it as you go, then render it into tallow for frying. It will keep in the fridge for a year, or you can freeze it.
- Get a big pot of water boiling (to sterilize the jars, lids, and rings).
- Cut meat and fat into 1 to 2-inch cubes.
- Place meat in stock pot 2/3 full, cover with water, and bring to boil.
- While the meat boils for 30-60 minutes (depending how tender you want it), wash your canning jars, lids, and rings, rinse thoroughly, then boil in the other pot for a minute or two.
- Bring to boil a pressure canning pot 1/4 to 1/3 full of water.
- When the meat is done, transfer it to the jars and pack it down.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to each jar.
- Top off with the hot broth in which the meat was cooked.
- Place the sterile lids and rings on the jars, and tighten them down thoroughly so the jars don’t leak out the broth when you process them in the pressure canner.
- Place the jars in boiling water in the canner, and make sure they are completely covered, adding water if necessary.
- Bring to 10 pounds of pressure, and process for 90 minutes.
- Remove the jars and set them on the counter. When they cool, the lids should seal with a pop. When cool enough, label the jars with the date.
Canning Tips and Tricks
- If you have left-over broth, use it to boil the next batch, or can it!
- To keep the bottles from getting a white powdery coating, put a tablespoon or two of white vinegar with the water in the canner.
- Stretch the meat by making stew. I made several gallons with sirloin, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, and salt. Each quart of stew will yield two quarts of delicious soup when you water it down.
- Get help. Make an assembly line. Two of my boys helped, and we got it done 3 times as fast.
- If a jar doesn’t seal, store it in the fridge and eat it within the week.
- For extra flavor, brown the meat before you boil it.
- Avoid eye of round roast; it’s too dry and chewy.
- If you use pork (shoulder or “Boston Butt” works well), season it with pepper and/or fresh ginger to counter the weird stink of boiled pork.
- Make sure you fill each jar nearly to the top with broth (about 1/4-inch from the top). The layer of liquid and fat on top of the meat seals it to keep it looking and tasting fresh.