Safely Canning Meat, Poultry, and Game

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For many in our area, it’s meat harvesting time. Whether it’s a wild game like bear or deer, or you come across a great deal on fresh chicken at the local grocery store, meat, poultry, and game are low-acid foods. This means they must be processed using a pressure canner to be considered safely canned.

jar of canned meat

Low-acid foods are especially prone to develop the harmful bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria known to most as botulism thrives in environments with little oxygen, such as in home-canned food. Low-acid foods can cause severe illness – even death, if not properly processed. Here are the tested, safe, instructions for processing meats at home:

Meat Strips, Cubes, or Chunks

Choose high-quality, chilled meat. Remove excess fat. Strong-flavored wild meats should be soaked for 1 hour in a brine made from 1 tablespoon salt per quart of water. Rinse meat. Cut into 1-inch wide strips, cubes, or chunks.

The hot pack method is preferred for the best liquid cover and quality during storage. The natural amount of fat and juices in today’s leaner meat cuts are usually not enough to cover most of the meat in raw packs.

Hot Pack

– Pre-cook meat to the rare stage, by roasting, stewing or browning in a small                   amount of fat.
– Pack hot meat loosely into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
– Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pints; 1 teaspoon to quarts, if desired.
– Fill the jar to 1 inch from the top with boiling meat juices, broth, water, or tomato           juice (especially for wild game).
– Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims.
– Adjust lids and process as directed below.

Raw Pack

– Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pints; 1 teaspoon to quarts, if desired.
– Pack raw meat in hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
– DO NOT add liquid.
– Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process as directed below.

Process in a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner at 11 pounds pressure OR in a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner at 10  pounds pressure:
Pints = 75 minutes
Quarts = 90 minutes

*remember to make altitude adjustments. 
**this information is taken from the book, So Easy to Preserve by Cooperative Extension, UGA.