Ground Venison

Ground venison that's cooked before canning.

I've been teaching home canning for a long time.  I'd love to share what I've learned with you.   Simply Canning School's online video based classes .

Ground Venison - Canning Venison Ground & Cooked Before Processing

These directions are for canning ground venison, packed loose in the jar. When you're canning ground venison, you must do a hot pack. The venison is lightly cooked before putting it into the jars.  

Canning venison in a cubed form for stews is another great method. Check this page for how to can cubed venison (or beef!).

These directions will work for canning beef, pork, elk, or venison.

Canning meat is so easy, I wish I had started years ago.  My husband and sons butcher our deer with me, helping as a wrapper and canner. But you can also do this with deer you've taken to the butcher.   

How to Can Ground Venison

We have the supplies and equipment to grind our own meat. 

We have a hand meat grinder that we used to use every year. That meat grinder works great is WORK. We used this method for years. A traditional activity each year was the competition between my 3 older sons (the youngest was just too little to turn the thing). The boys all competed with each other to see who could grind faster and longer. A great game for teen boys to use up some energy while Mom and Dad cheer them on.  

Grinding venison.

One year, we finally broke down and purchased an electric meat grinder. This is great for me! I don't have the energy to grind by hand. When my guys are not available, I can still take out some meat to grind for jerky. The hand grinder does not get used very much anymore, but we still keep it, just in case we ever need it.  

If you don't have this equipment, you can take your meat to a processor and have them cut or grind the meat to your preferences. 

For us, doing it ourselves saves on costs and we know just what we are getting and how our meat is handled. Part of having tasty wild game is proper preparation of the meat.

The first time I tried canning venison, I could not believe it was so easy. I thought surely there was something I was missing.

Nope, nothing missing. Our meat tasted great.

Remember, any meat (including ground venison) must always be processed in a pressure canner.


First thing to do is gather your canning supplies.

Then gather your ingredients.

  • ground venison (or other meat specified above)
  • liquid to pack your meat - you can choose tomato juice, broth made from the meat you will pack, beef stock, or plain boiling water. 
  • canning salt
  • onions and peppers (optional)

Procedure for Canning Ground Venison

Browning meat.

Brown meat, onion, and garlic in a heavy skillet. I like my cast iron dutch oven best. It is heavy to nicely brown the meat, while the sides keep the splattering to a minimum. When I'm canning venison, I brown a lot of meat, so this works well for me. You could also use a regular skillet. Whatever works!

Chopped onion.

Add salt, onion, and peppers as desired. Onion and peppers are both optional ingredients. I love my food processor for this step. It speeds things up, and I don't get quite so teary eyed when chopping this amount of onions. 

Cooked meat.

Cook until veggies are tender. The amounts of the onion and/or peppers can be adjusted for your taste preference. In fact, you can preserve just the meat if you prefer not to add the onion or garlic. 

Drain and discard any grease that collects. Grease or fat is rarely an issue with venison, but if you are canning beef or some other meat, there may be some grease build up.  

Add your choice of liquid to the pan. I usually use plain water or beef broth. You can also use tomato juice. I'll sometimes add some beef bouillon to the jars when I'm using plain water.

Add liquid until browned meat is just about covered. The amount will depend on how much meat you are canning. Bring meat and liquid back to a boil.

Pouring liquid into jar.

Pack hot meat into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. 

Adding canning salt.

Add canning salt to each jar if desired: 1/2 tsp per pint or 1 tsp per quart.

I say if desired because for those who need the low sodium, it is safe to leave salt out. But honestly, it helps the flavor so much, I really do recommend adding even just a little bit of salt. 

Add enough hot broth or other liquid to cover. Leave 1-inch headspace. 

Removing bubbles.

Remove air bubbles with a bubble tool or plastic orange peeler. 

Wiping rim.

It is especially important to wipe the rims clean when you are canning ground venision. If your jar rims get greasy, it may interfere with your seal. So take a paper towel and wipe off the rims of the jar now. I've seen it suggested to use vinegar to wipe them off as it gets the grease off well. But I've always just used hot water.  

Placing flat lid.

Now place your lid on the jar and secure with a screw band. 

Place jars in your preheated pressure canner.  

Sealing jar ring.

Follow pressure canning instructions, using the processing times below.

Don't forget to adjust the pressure requirements for your elevation.

Ground Venison: Processing Times

Process Quarts: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Process Pints: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Adjustments for Pressure Canner
Altitude in Feet Dial Gauge Canner Weighted Gauge Canner
0-1000 11 10
1001-2000 11 15
2001-4000 12 15
4001-6000 13 15
6001-8000 14 15
8000-10,000 15 15

Readers Emails & Other FAQs

I wanted to thank you for all the wonderful instructions/advise you give on your site. You really helped me to concur my fear of canning meat. It is as easy as you say! I canned ground venison last year and this year I'm doing that and cubed venison. We think it tastes even better after it's canned! You're a very kind woman for taking your time to help the rest of us. God bless! Donna :-)

When pressure cooking ground venison, I didn't cook it near as long as it should have. Pints - 20 min. when it should have been 1hr. 15 min. Stupid mistake. All the jars sealed, and when I opened one, it was brown the whole way through. Since it was sealed, is it still safe to eat?

Sharon's Answer:

No, unfortunately, I would not consider them safe. Even though they sealed, there is still a chance of botulism. Botulism you can’t see taste or smell. So if it is there, you won’t know it until you get sick. 

I’d just count this as a lesson learned and not eat those jars. Here is a page with more on Canning Safety.


Can I can ground venison through a raw pack? Does it need to be cooked to render off the fat?
I raw pack 1/2 of all of my venison...never ground though.
Thanks, Ron

Sharon's Answer:

Ron, I prefer canning venison ground precooked. When I brown it, I just lightly brown it. Not so much to render off fat (deer meat doesn't really have that much), but more to ensure the ground meat doesn't clump together in the jar. If you were to try a raw pack, I believe you'd end up with chunks all stuck together.

You want to lightly brown it, put it in your jar, and then add either plain water or a broth of some sort. Usually, I just add plain water and salt, because it is more versatile when I go to use the jars. But I've done a broth, and it is very good that way too. You can even add a tomato broth if you choose. 

Canning Venison that has been thawed.

I need to open up some freezer space and was wondering if I can can the venison that was already frozen. TIA Judy - P

Sharon's Answer:

Hi Judy,

Yes canning venison that has been frozen is fine. Just be sure the venison is fully thawed before processing.

I have never tried this so let me know how the meat turns out. I am thinking it might make it even more tender...being both frozen and then pressure canning. Yum. 

What does canned ground venison taste like? Does ground venison taste gamey?  

Sharon's Answer:

A lot will depend on the hunter, how the meat was handled just after the kill, and what the animal itself was eating. The meat coming out of the jar is only as good as the meat going in. However, home canning actually reduces any gamey flavor that might be there, and it helps tremendously with any tough meat cuts. Save the tenderest cuts for steaks, and put the rest in jars. 

How do you use canned ground venison?

Sharon's Answer:

Chili, tacos, spaghetti sauce, casseroles... Just about anywhere you would use regular cooked ground meat, you can use ground venison.

Here are some specific ideas:

Simply Canning School includes a section on Canning Meat, and another on Cooking with Home Canned Foods. There are more recipes and ideas there! Learn more about the membership here.

Canning Ground Venison
How to Can Ground Venison

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Page last updated: 12/13/2019.

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Canning Ground Meat

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