Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Canning Venison

I've never canned meat.  Not even chicken, although I have canned chicken stock.
A friend of ours recently gave us some ground venison and about three pounds of cubed venison.  Made Salsbury steaks out of the ground meat (with gravy, duh) and although I was tempted to slow cook the chunks into a thick chili, I've been meaning to try canning meat.  Since I still had the pressure canner out for making chicken stock (I'll put it away one day), I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to practice.
There was enough cubed meat to fill three pint jars.  Not enough to make it really worth firing up the pressure canner, but this was going to be a learning experience.  And if it somehow turned out yucky tasting, I would have only ruined three pints of meat.

I washed the cubed venison and soaked it in water until most of the blood had left the meat, drained it and put it into a pot and just covered the meat with water and a teaspoon of salt.  I quickly brought the pot o' meat up to a boil, then took it off the burner.  Since I was going to do use the Hot Pack method, I just wanted to cook the meat to a rare stage as it will continue cooking in the pressure canner.

I took the chunks of meat out then strained the broth through a seive lined with cheesecloth to get some of the funky looking stuff out.  Packed the hot meat into the clean and hot pint jars, stuck a clove of garlic in each and poured the broth over it up to an inch from the top.

Wiped the rims off, tightened the lids down with the bands and put them into the pressure canner:
My three little jars.
Seventy-five minutes at 11 lbs. of pressure, took the canner off the burner, let the pressure drop to zero and took the jars out to cool (next to my bazillion finished jars of chicken stock):

I'm going to let them sit for a week before I open one and give it a taste test.  If they are yummy, I'll do the same thing when we get venison again, but hopefully there will be enough to pack them into several quart jars (90 minutes at 11 lbs. though).

I've also got a big package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I bought and froze earlier this year (yes, from the store...oh, the horror) and they are defrosting in the fridge right now.  A few years ago I bought some canned chicken breasts from the store to put into our pantry for "emergency" use.  Since they were going on two years old, I opened them and made some chicken & dumplings.  They were very, very salty.  I'm going to raw pack the defrosted chicken breasts and omit salt in the jars.  I figure if it needs salt, we'll just grab the salt shaker once it's on our dinner plate.  If I'm going to store canned meat in our pantry, I may as well do it myself.  Probably tastier, and hopefully cheaper than the store-bought stuff.

I'm hoping that my first meat-canning foray will lead to more "convenience" type meals during the winter.  Open a can of chicken, make a quick batch of dumplings or noodles, turn it into chicken pot pie or just dump it in with my homemade chicken stock for a hearty soup.


  1. I've never tried to can any kind of meat. It's just to easy to toss it into the freezer. But I do see that the canning would be a much quicker perp for any meal. I may try that.

    Great post.

  2. That's a great idea. I pressure canned a bunch of chicken soup - half with rice and half with noodles. I can't tell you how nice it is to just pop open a lid and heat up dinner - knowing where everything came from. I got Jackie Clay's canning book from Backwoods Home, as she cans everything! She has some great recipes in the book.

  3. Go you! I learn so much here, I'm scared you will start charging a fee. :)

  4. Carolyn
    I canned chicken breasts and stock and turkey and stock this year, for the first time. I leave the salt out too, as it does seem to get more salty with time, and it isn't really necessary.

    Have you tried drying any meats yet? I keep thinking about

  5. Carolyn, I am looking forward to hearing how you like the canned venison. I've been thinking about canning some for us; that way I won't lose ALL of our meat if we have an extended power outage.

    Thanks for this informative post! :o)

  6. Oh that looks so good! I need to get a pressure canner, any recommendations?

  7. teresa, one of the reasons I wanted to can meats was because we're quickly running out of freezer space @ we've got a 1/2 hog coming soon.

    Susan, I've been meaning to get Jackie's book...maybe Santa will bring me one this year. Hint-hint Paul.

    Hoosier Girl, If anything, you guys should be charging ME! This is cheaper than a shrink!

    Akannie, the closest we've come to drying meats has been jerkey in the dehydrator. We'd like to one day have a smokehouse though. It's on the list.

    Mooberry, that's the other reason I want to learn to can meats....power outages!

    Stephanie, I only had this one (it's a Presto)and I haven't had any problems with it except for the fact that my stove (electric) has a hard time keeping it up to temps sometimes if it's loaded, but I blame that on the stupid glass top range.

  8. Great post! A pressure canner is on my "wish list!" (sigh)

  9. I canned venison for the first time this year, too.

  10. I canned my first vegetable beef soup and chicken soup this year and it was wonderful.

    When we get our beef back I may try canning some of the roasts chopped up in chunks. My sis had some and she said it was super good. Reminded her of high school where they served canned meat and gravy over mashed potatoes. We both loved that!

  11. If I keep reading posts like this I may get off my duff and learn to pressure can my soups instead of taking up so much room in the freezer. Of course, the great thing about home canned food is, as Susan says, you just open the jar and heat. With foods frozen, you have to remember to think ahead and defrost. And when you unexpectedly have a couple/few extra people for a meal, not having to serve them a frozen chunk of something (!) would be a lot nicer!

  12. Pressure canner is on my list for the next year. My grandma used to can venison and its the only meat I think I ate when I was little. SO GOOD! Looking forward to being able to do that myself - thanks for the tutorial!

  13. I keep putting this off. Aside from ham & beans or baked beans w/ bacon, that is. I hope you post your thoughts on it!!

  14. Candy, you DID ask Santa, right??

    Tina, how did you prepare the venison before canning & did you taste any of it yet?

    gld, that's one menu item I'm looking forward to; quick & easy Meat 'n Potatoes!

    Mama Pea, I do a LOT of scrounging around right before dinner because I tend to forget to defrost stuff also.

    Mama Tea, just think, you'll be canning in your NEW kitchen when you get your canner!!

    APG, I've been meaning to can some of my baked beans. I LOVE my recipe, but it takes all day and I never think to can some for later for when I want some right NOW!!

  15. You will love your canned meat. I just canned some a couple weeks ago, and last week some chicken breasts. The meat is tender and my hubby likes it even better than when the meat is cooked fresh because of how it is so tender. I am planning to keep my eye out for some good bargains and get some more on the pantry shelves.

  16. I'm catching up on all you've been up to and wow, nice job with the venison! You know you've reached canning/preparedness nirvana when you are canning game, nice job! I can't wait until we can leave the suburbs after the Navy and get back to an area where hunting lean, healthy wild meats can be part of our life again :) Enjoy your weekend!