Freezer full? Enjoy lightning-fast home cooked meals? Looking for a foolproof way to get fork-tender game meat every time? The answer is canning meat in jars! This time-tested, simple way of preserving game meat has been overlooked by many home cooks and hunters. It takes very little equipment (pressure cooker, jars, lids) and only two ingredients (meat & salt).
By Halloween, we had been butchering, wrapping, freezing and smoking much of the seasons catch, the freezers were full so it was time to bring out the new pressure cooker from Cabela’s. This All-American brand pressure cooker and canner can pressure cook huge portions of food and pressure-can up to 19 pints at a time. It can also be used as a hot-water canner for things like jams and salsa. For meat and many other foods, pressure-canning is the only safe way to go. The result is well worth the effort as the meat can be eaten right out of the jar. By the time it is pressure-canned, it is fully cooked and shelf-stable (no refrigeration or freezing necessary). Added right from the jar to warm pasta, rice, gravy or BBQ sauce, lunch or dinner only takes minutes. My boys love it because it’s a great protein source that is ready to eat, even they can put a dinner together without much prep.
When pressure canning anything, refer to the instructions on your pressure canner or an approved canning cookbook or home extension website. DO NOT just make up your own recipes and can them, this is dangerous territory for experimentation.
The guidelines I followed here were from All-American. For raw-pack meat, remove all fat and sinew and cube meat into 1”-2” cubes. Fill sterilized jars with meat, leaving 1” headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the jar. Wipe jar rim clean and place lids on jars. Fill pressure canner with 1 1/2” to 2” water. Add jars to canner and cover. Heat canner until steam begins to escape from pressure vent. Allow steam to escape for 7 minutes before adding 10# weight to pressure vent. When canner reaches 10# of pressure, set timer for 75 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to keep canner at 10# of pressure for the entire canning time. After 75 minutes, turn off heat and allow pressure to drop to zero. Once pressure has dropped to zero, remove jars and allow to cool at room temperature. Check for seal. If jars do not seal, eat meat immediately or store in refrigerator (eat within 3 days).
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