With Sharon Peterson
Canning venison is so easy, I wish I had started years ago. These directions will also work for canning meats such as beef, elk, or pork.
The first time I tried canning meat, I could not believe it was so easy. I thought surely there was something I am missing. Nope, nothing missing. And it tasted great!
Any meat must always be processed in a pressure canner.
Your shelves are full of canning jars with ground or cubed elk, but what do you do with it? Make supper, of course.
Gather Your Canning Supplies:
- pressure canner
- canning jars
- canning lids and rings
- jar lifter and canning funnel
- large spoons
- sharp knife
- towels, dish cloths
- venison (or other meat specified above)
- canning salt
Procedure for Canning Venison
Cut away any bruised areas, gristle, and excess fat (if you are lucky enough to have any fat on your deer). My kids all help in processing our meat. Here my 6yo is cubing meat for canning. And yes, he was closely monitored, of course. 🙂
Slice across the grain into strips about 1-inch thick.
Then cut into chunks the size you desire. You can divide into lengths to fit your jar, or cut into cubes.
Pack into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
Add canning salt. I’ve seen it recommended that you add 2 tsp per quart. I tend to like to only lightly salt our meat, so I only use 1 tsp per quart. Do not add liquid! This was the hardest part for me to get, but when you are canning venison, you really don’t add liquid. The meat will produce its own juice.
Use the handle of a spoon or something to get out some of the large air bubbles. You won’t be able to get it all out. But occasionally, you’ll notice a large gap. Just poke something in the jar to release those spaces. Fill jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace.
Wipe the rims of your jars clean. This is important. You don’t want any grease or meat particles left, or it will interfere with the seal. Just use a wet paper towel and wipe around each jar rim.
Place the lids and screw bands on finger tight.
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.
Canning Venison Processing Times:
- Quarts – 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Pints – 1 hour 15 minutes.
|Altitude in Feet||Dial Gauge Canner||Weighted Gauge Canner|
I was given some venison and moose meat canned. what are the preparations to put it on the table,in a heated form? really new to this, any advice?
Bert, your meat can be used in casseroles and for things like chili or spaghetti sauce. Anywhere you would use cooked meat, you can just substitute the canned meat.
One of the ways I use meat is to just dump the jar in a pot. I heat it to a simmer, then add a bit of water or broth if it is too dry, then add some cornstarch or flour to thicken a gravy. Then I serve it with mashed potatoes and a side vegetable. You can also use those packaged gravy mixes too for convenience. I’ve used the brown gravy mix before.
I do have a book with some of my recipes here: Venison Recipes.
Hello Sharon, I have a question regarding canning Elk meat. I was wondering if you could put butter in with the meat for some flavor? I put butter in with roasts in the crock pot and it always turns out very good.
I would not put butter in your elk before you can it. Now I realize that meat is going to have some fat in it inherently, and elk usually does not have very much, but recommendations are to not add any fat or oils to your food before canning.
You can certainly add it when you open the jar to use it though. You are right–adding that extra fat does help wild meats. I also often add bacon grease instead of butter, or if I have bacon ends and pieces, I sometimes add that instead.
Hi Sharon, I bought some of your canning books and today I canned some chunks of beef in qt. jars. I thought I did everything right, but when I opened the canner to take them out there was a little bit of oily water on top.
Does this mean my jars were not tight enough? I tightened them as much as I could with my hands. but I am not as strong as I used to be. they all made that ping sound ….. are they sealed?
It is not unusual for the water and jars to end up greasy or oily. As the jars and food heats up in the canner, it swells, and this sometimes pushes some of the liquid in your jars out. Just remove the rings and wash your jars off and store. They are safe as long as you know you processed correctly and the lids sealed.
How long will canned venison keep?
As all home-canned goods, canned venison is best used within a year. (Again, this is just a quality issue, not so much a safety issue. If you must can a LOT of venison and don’t use it as fast as you thought, just make sure and pull the older jars to the front so you remember to use them first.)
Can you can venison without a pressure canner?
No, no, no! Canning venison (or any meat, for that matter) without a pressure canner IS NOT safe.
Other Methods of Canning Venison
Not adding liquid was the most surprising part of canning venison for me. You really don’t add liquid. The meat will produce its own juice.
Sometimes, the juice will not fill the jar or completely cover the meat. That is okay.
If you are concerned about this, try looking at canning venison hot pack directions. You’ll get a more consistent appearance with more liquid in the jars with that method.
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Page last updated: 8/17/2019.