Canning Venison

Ground and cooked before processing.

with Sharon Peterson
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Canning Venison - Canning Meat Ground and Cooked Before Processing

These directions are for canning venison ground. 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. We also have the supplies and equipment to grind our own meat.

I love our Cabela's meat grinder. We have the big #32 grinder. That plus the energy of all my guys, our meat is taken care of in no time.

We have used this method for years. It has become a traditional activity each year. The boys all compete with each other to see who can grind faster and longer.

This 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.

Grinding meat.

If you don't have this equipment you can have your meat processor cut or grind your 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 am missing.

Nope, nothing missing. Our meat tasted great

Any meat must always be processed in a pressure canner.


Elk & Venison Recipes.

Venison Recipes

Your shelves are full of canning jars with ground or cubed elk, but what do you do with it? Make supper, of course.

First thing to do is gather your canning supplies.


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

    I used 2 qts home canned tomatoes, and 4 cups of water with 4 beef bullion cubes.

note - Sometimes I'll mix in some beef or other ground meat. This year my husband got a big ol bull elk. This was really fun... but the meat was not as good as a nice cow. So I mixed in beef.


Chopped onions.

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 and the sides keeps the splattering to a minimum. When I'm canning venison I will be browning a lot of meat so this works well for me. You could also use a regular skillet. Whatever works!

Add salt, onion and garlic.

Use a garlic press or mince garlic with a knife. Chop onions.

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.

Cook until veggies are tender. The amounts of these 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.

Add your choice of liquid.

I like canning venison in broth made from the browned meat, plus 2 quarts of home canned tomatoes, and beef broth made from bullion cubes.

You can also use all tomato juice or even just boiling water.
Add liquid until browned meat is not quite covered. Bring back to a boil.

Filling jars.

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

Pack hot meat mixture into hot jars, leaving 1-inch head space.

Add enough hot broth or other liquid to cover. Leave 1 inch of head space. If you do not have enough liquid to fill jars simply top them off with boiling water.

Remove air bubbles, wipe rims clean and place your lids.

Place jars in your preheated pressure canner. Do your best to make sure the jars are not touching each other. For my canner this is a tight fit so sometimes it takes a little maneuvering.

Follow pressure canning instructions using the processing times below.

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


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

from Sharon's inbox...

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?

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

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 and raw pack it 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

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.

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by Sharon Peterson, Copyright © 2009-2019

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Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You are encouraged to verify all canning and food preservation advice on the USDA food preservation website. 

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