Published: October 9, 2012 in Cookin’ on the Wild Side
By: Chef Tim
Here’s one of my favorite ways to preserve meat – canning. This works well for those less-tender cuts of meat and is a quick way to have something available without having to wait for thawing.
Yes, freezing has its role and is an effective way to preserve your venison and other meats for that special meal. However, consider canning if you are the type who decides at the last moment that tonight is the night to enjoy that venison. You simply open the can, heat while you set your table and serve!
It’s another simple way to eating well. While I have written this for venison, this works well for any meat – squirrel, rabbit and more.
Here are the simple steps:
- Cut the venison into about ½ inch chunks.
- Brown the chunks in whatever you prefer (most use cooking oil) in a fry pan.
- Add 1 cup water to the fry pan. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Note: It will take a couple of fry pans full of venison chunks to make 4-5 pints of canned meat. Of course, if your fry pan is like mine (really big) you can make do with one.
- Heat the glass jars (ever wonder why it’s called canning when no can is used?), the covers and the lids in a shallow pan.
- Put your pressure cooker with the rack in place (I call this fix’n to get ready).
- Next: add just more than one quart of water to the bottom of the pressure cooker. Put it on the burner – and that burner needs to be on low heat.
- Put the venison in the jars. Make sure you don’t cram it in too tightly which may be your reflex. Don’t give in. Leave some room.
- Now for the salt. Pay close attention here: add 1/2 teaspoon to each pint jar. If you are one of those who thinks it makes a difference, you can use sea salt, kosher salt or if you’re like me . . . whatever salt I have close by.
- You should have some liquid remaining in the fry pans. Divide that equally among the pint jars. Then, add water so the jars are about half-full.
- Put your sterilized lids on the jars tightly. Put the jars in the pressure cooker, cover and place the valve on top to 10 pounds of pressure. Crank up the heat!
When the little thingy on top starts to jiggle with steady rhythm, turn the heat down so it stops and starts occasionally. Let that go for just more than an hour. If you are the strict recipe kind, then let’s call it 80 minutes. However, I do recommend you do try to relax as this is fun work!
Now remove the pressure cooker from the burner and let it cool. Once cooled, open it carefully. Remove the jars and let them cool. My mom used to turn the jars upside down for a few minutes (on their lids) and then right side up after that. Once they are cooled, check for seal. Remove the rings from the jars after a day – or if you are that strict time person. Let’s call it a 24-hour wait – and revisit my call to relax about this.
Now, you can open the jars at any time, even years later! It makes excellent stew and chipped beef. I personally like to put it over noodles (that’s pasta for you culinary folk).
Chef Tim reminds readers that consuming raw or uncooked food can be harmful to your health, and increase your chances of acquiring a foodborne illness.