Meat Canning

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by overbore, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. overbore

    overbore Monkey++

    This a copy from Lehmans:

    Meat Canning - Cheap, Easy and Convenient

    Posted September 11th, 2008 by Sarah N

    It’s 5pm on a cold, windy winter’s day, and you’re just now thinking of dinner. The kids are already hungry and your spouse will be home in half an hour. Do you take a frozen lump of something out of the freezer and hurriedly try to thaw it in the microwave? Or perhaps just order Chinese takeout or pizza? Well…you could do those things. OR, you could simply walk to the canning shelf and select a jar of convenient, fully cooked, nutritious, delicious canned meat to serve as the base for the family meal. You open the jar - and dinner is on the table in a matter of minutes!

    To many of us, canning brings visions of tomatoes, green beans and peaches to mind. But meat? Oh, yes! Canning meat is just as easy, economical and healthy as canning other foods, and requires the same basic equipment.

    I recently spoke with a longtime employee of Lehman’s - incidentally, she’s our oil lamp expert - who’s canned meat for years. And when I say can, I do mean CAN! (She listed beef chunks, chicken, turkey, beef heart and tongue, beef stew, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce with hamburger, plain hamburger, venison, squirrel, rabbit - and those are just the ones I can remember…) Almost any type of meat can be canned - it just takes a little time and know-how.

    Below is the gist of our conversation, so you readers can reap the benefits of her many years of experience!

    Really Good Reasons to Can Meat:
    1. Money Saving!
    Whether you do your own butchering or purchase a large quantity of meat to can, you’ll save money in the long run.
    2. Convenient. Anytime you need meat, just grab a can off the shelf, heat and eat. There’s no running to the store, no waiting for frozen meat to thaw, etc.
    3. Space Saving and Energy Saving. Canned meat doesn’t require any special energy or space to store it - all it has to do is sit on a cool, dark shelf. A freezer only holds so much, and you have to pay to run that freezer and store the food, but canning lets you store as much meat as you want - you could literally fill your basement (although, unless you’re a family of 20, we don’t recommend it). For those living off the grid, canning is undoubtedly the best way to preserve and store food.
    4. You control the ingredients your family eats. You don’t have to worry about artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or other additives - what you put in the jar is all that will go into their mouths.
    Three important things you need to get started:
    1. A Pressure Canner:
    This is the only USDA-approved way to can meat. In “the old days,” it may have been done in a water-bath canner or by other methods, but pressure canners are much safer because they regulate temperatures much better and seal steam-tight with NO gasket to crack, clean or burn.
    2. Wide-Mouth Canning Jars: Our resident expert highly recommends these European-style jars because they’re much easier to fill with meat, and also easier to clean after they’re emptied (meat residue or grease may need a bit more washing out than veggies would).
    3. A good reference: Lehman’s Best Pressure Canners come with a detailed owner’s manual including recipes and canning hints. Another good reference for meat specifically is The Canning- Freezing- Curing and Smoking of Meat- Fish & Game (232 pp).
    Other supplies: A jar lifter and stainless steel jar funnel are also highly recommended to save time (and burned fingers).

    Finally, if you don’t have time to can your own meat but still want to save money and have convenient meat on hand, check out Lehman’s selection of canned meats and meat broths, all minimally processed here in Ohio. Buy single cans or by the case. Bon appetit!

    We happen to use their equipment and procedures; the best. Overbore
  2. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    There is a small commercial cannery near Green Cove Springs, Fl where all the blow-boaters go to have meat, cheese, and veggies canned to take with them on cruises. They will go in together to buy a hog, a cow, bunches of chickens, etc. and take them there to be prepared and sealed into tins for storage. It makes a significant savings in their budget and allows for better food while bopping around the islands.
  3. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Reasons to learn to pressure can food

    BUMP ....... see the 1st post in this thread.
  4. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    We do chili con carne, spaghetti sauce, and beef stew. As the OP says, makes for a quick, easy meal base to grab a jar and heat.
  5. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Have never canned meat but will this year. Our goal is 400 quarts this season and some will be various meats. Have a good friend who is going to tutor me. We have 5 canners so we can keep things "cookin".
    T. Riley likes this.
  6. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    I try to keep 200 plus quarts of just meats of various types. Actually, beef, venison, wild hog and domestic pork, chicken, fish. Various soups, stews, and canned dry beans are also canned, (these are convienence items for the ready pantry more than the long term storage pantry).
    I will never bug out. This is my bunker, and my tribe rally point. I have the remoteness, the acreage, the reference library, the manual tools, and much much more. My point is, I understand glass canning jars are not for many because they plan to bug out. I am already where I will live and survive, or perish.
    kellory, Mountainman and Seawolf1090 like this.
  7. TheEconomist

    TheEconomist Creighton Bluejay

    Speaking of canneries can we please have BTPost provide us with some knowledge!?
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    What is your specific question?
  9. STANGF150

    STANGF150 Knowledge Seeker

    I hope you got an Outdoor Kitchen!!! Big canning pot running near daily polished off our old stove a couple years ago. A month later, they had to come fix new stove as excessive weight & use had cooked the eye we put canning pot on!!! LoL
  10. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Most glass top stoves indicate not to be used for canning. Weight is the main problem. I prefer electric range top stoves for canning, but with coil burners, 4 total, 2 with 8 inch coils, 2 with 6 inch. A new coil is $15 to $30 and is easy for any homeowner to obtain and change out.
  11. STANGF150

    STANGF150 Knowledge Seeker

    LoL thats what Mine Was/Is!! Old Stove was 30+ years old so its time had come when it died. Catch is, big canning pot, held heat in, cooked a couple wires in there near where you hook the 8" coils in on one the eyes. Second time cooked the part you hook the coils into. So no Canning 8 hours a day, 6 days a week at my house any more. Gotta let the appliances rest a day LoL
  12. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    We've got an All American and use it over the propane turkey fryer burner.
    oldawg likes this.
  13. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Silversnake--great idea. I normally use the burner on the grill (built into a cabinet on the patio). Just bought a one burner hot plate intended to use melting lead but will be excellent "smoking" a canner. Will check out the dimensions on the turker burner--should fit nicely---thanks.
  14. psychotic1

    psychotic1 Monkey+

    I would suggest getting one of those turkey fryer getups from Walmart or other major store. The propane goes a long ways, they heat up quick, and you would be hard pressed to put too much weight on it with a single canner. It also has the added advantage of being portable. You're gonna want a fair amount of ventilation, but I've used one in a breezy shed to can 19 pints of fish in 40 degree weather with 90% humidity. I've never fried a turkey in my life, but I'd have 3 or 4 of the burners.

    PS, they work pretty well with a dutch oven for melting lead too.
    kellory likes this.
  15. Hogtown

    Hogtown Monkey+

    I've been canning deer and beef for 6 years - got a canner for Christmas in 2005. Use an All American and the propane "turkey fryer" set up. Canning will turn the toughest meat fork tender. Like others have said, makes for a real easy and quick supper with a little rice or pasta etc.. I still have 3 pints of my first canning in January 2006. Opened and ate some 6 year old canned beef in January - it was as good as it was on Day 1. I plan on opening a pint in January for the next 3 years. When the last of the original pints is opened in January of 2015, it will be 9 years old.
  16. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    Agree 100%. I also do my initial lead clean up and some alloy blending in a dutch oven on the propane burner. Plus the canning. I do fry the occasional turkey with it, or a batch of wings.
  17. TheEconomist

    TheEconomist Creighton Bluejay

    From what I have read on other sites some of them say you have to cook the meat first and others say you do not.

    Is there a difference between meat and fish?
  18. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    All fish that is canned, commercially, is cooked as part of the Canning Process. We cook our salmon in the can in BIG Steam Retorts for specific times, at specific pressures, as set out in the NFPA Regulations that are in compliance with the FDA Regulations. Tuna is Pre-cooked, and then cooked again, during the Canning process. I am not sure what the requirements for meats are, but the locals around here can a lot of Jerky, and Smoked Meats (Moose) in Quart Jars using a Pressure Canning Process that does Cook the meat some. .... YMMV.....
  19. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    In pressure canning of meat or poultry there is hot pack (cooked or partially cooked) prior to canning, and cold pack (raw meat or poultry) canning. When I can fish or chicken, I cold pack the jars prior to canning. I do not have to bone the fish because the pressure and heat is enough to turn the vertebrae soft like in canned salmon, and the other bones simply dissolve. With poultry, I can inexpensive chicken leg quarters purchased in 10 LB bags more than anything else. I skin these, mostly defat them, and leave only the center bone in the thigh and in the drumstick. All that I have removed from the leg quarters goes into the stockpot for broth. Those bones in the leg and thigh after canning are so soft they will not splinter and are excellent treats for dogs. I myself have been known to eat easily 2/3 of each of these bones. The ends of the bones easily chew up and only the center part of the length is left. Raw pack works fine for me, regardless of what the USDA may say. The chicken meat after canning is fall off the bone excellent for creamed chicken, chicken ala king, chicken salad for sandwiches, good for casserole, soups and stews also.
  20. smithcp2002

    smithcp2002 Monkey+++

    I soo love this. I have been taking side burners from gas grills for years. Use them outside or in the vented wood room. Keeps me and my mess out of the kitchen and the wife can cook other things at the same time. Please test of leaks before every usage.
    had some bad burns.
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