We love having a full freezer of home-raised meat, with no yucky additives… the only problem is that sometimes the quantity of meat exceeds your freezer’s capabilities. What to do? While I’m a fan of a good old-fashioned neighborhood BBQ, that wouldn’t leave me with much in the pantry. My solution: canning! And with meat you simply HAVE to use a pressure canner!

Now don’t be intimidated, it’s a lot of work…but it’s well worth it. Canning is safe and simple if you follow the directions. Pressure canners have come a long way, and I love mine! It makes even the toughest cut of beef melt in your mouth! Since we’ll be processing two cranky old bulls, pressure canning is the best way to ensure that the meat comes out nice and tender!

The best roast beef you could ever want will be ready and waiting in your pantry for all your favorite dishes. With cooler weather on the horizon, I know I’ll be in the mood for some stew, casserole, spaghetti, stir-fry, etc..! This canned beef will make your meals extra tasty, and a cinch to put together! Just pull a jar from your pantry, pop it open and add it to your meal (or eat it strait from the jar…wait, did I just admit to that? A-hem!), easy-peasy!

There are many methods to can meat: hot pack, raw pack, dry raw pack, ground, strips, cubes…. I like the dry raw pack method and small 1″ chunks the best. It doesn’t require extra pots to brown the meat first, and makes bite sized pieces in their very own delicious beef broth during the process (so I don’t have to make broth either-win!).

Have I sold you yet? If not, just scroll to the bottom and look at my tasty dinner….and then come back up here and learn how to do it!

There are a bunch of tutorials online, but I always look at the guidelines that came with my canner for proper processing times and pressure levels (and I suggest you do the same!).

Here’s the basic run-down of my Home-Canned Beef!

  1. Get your canner warming up with a few inches of water, and sterilize your jars (I use the dishwasher)

    Pressure Canner warming up. The dark line around the bottom is normal, just a water stain from using the canner. It actually helps me to remember how far to fill my pot!
    Pressure Canner warming up. The dark line around the bottom is normal, just a water stain from using the canner. It actually helps me to remember how far to fill my pot!
  2. Cut the meat into roughly 1″ cubes while really cold/partially frozen (your hand might go numb, but it makes the cutting MUCH easier)

    Handsome Assistant preparing the beef cubes
    Handsome assistant preparing the beef cubes.
  3. Pack all your meat into sterilized jars, I’m using quarts this year…I found that a pint per meal just wasn’t enough to fill the hungry Handsome Hubby’s appetite last year! If you want smaller quantities, pints might be great for you!

    A "small" portion of the meat we are canning.
    A “small” portion of the meat we are canning.
  4. Add canning salt, purely for flavor…you can omit this if you want (I once over salted the meat…so go easy!)
  5. Wipe the rims of the jars, place on your lids and tighten the rings. (remember, NO liquid added)

    Jars are ready to go in the canner!
    Jars are ready to go in the canner!
  6. Put the jars into your canner and lock the lid.

    Ready to process!
    Ready to process!
  7. Process the meat per your specific canner’s instructions. Here’s the canner I use. For mine it’s 11 pounds of pressure (adjust for your altitude), 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts *per the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Start-Timer
    I can start my “processing countdown” now!

 

A couple of notes (okay, maybe more than a couple):
-Remember, the canner can take quite a while to come up to temperature and then cool back down when you’re done processing, be patient. AND you can’t start your “processing countdown” until the guage has come up to the correct pounds of pressure, and you can’t let it drop below that point or the countdown must be restarted, NO fun!
-Remove canner from heat after processing time is complete. BE CAREFUL: it’s heavy and hot!
-Once it’s cooled down enough for the pressure valve to drop (this takes A WHILE, and don’t try to speed it up!), you can remove the weight and allow it to “vent” for 10 minutes.
-Then, FINALLY you can carefully unlock/open the lid and set your jars on the counter to finish cooling (wear oven mitts, and open AWAY from your face… the steam from opening the canning pot will burn…ask me how I know).
-If by some chance a jar doesn’t seal (the lid does not pop itself down), put it in the fridge and eat it soon. It’s not ruined, but it’s certainly NOT shelf stable.
-The meat will produce varying amounts of “broth” in each jar, that’s fine! The meat doesn’t have to be covered with broth to be safe.
Also…it may not look super appetizing in the jar, but one taste and you’ll be hooked!

*Every canner operates differently. Read your manual carefully before you begin, make sure to follow their guidelines so you and your food stay safe!

 

And that’s all folks….
Like I said before, it’s a lot of work! But I know you’ll be so thankful for all the easy meals you can enjoy throughout the winter!
Like my Super Secret Savory Chili!!! (Don’t ask, I’m not giving up the recipe! Haha)Super-Secret-Savory-Chili

So go ahead and try canning your own meat, you’ll be glad you did!

What are your favorite things to can? What methods do you prefer? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Be blessed!
–Jessica

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