Canning Meat

Whether it is a surplus of meat from farm-raised livestock, wild game from the hunt, or a “deal” at the market, canning meat is an easy way to preserve any abundance for future use. Besides preserving a surplus, canning meat has other advantages as well–saves freezer space, ready in an emergency, convenient, nutrient dense, and taste good.

Meat is a low acid food and must be processed in a pressure canner (dial or weighted gauge)–no exceptions. A water bath canner, steam canner, multicooker or any other devised method cannot provide sufficient heat to make meat in a jar safe for pantry storage. As with other low acid foods, the food safety concern is botulism. If using a pressure canner is a new experience, check out this quick tutorial on how to use a pressure canner.

List of meat canning recipes and instructions available on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website

The National Center for Home Food Preservation is the best resource for preparing and canning poultry, red meats, and seafood. Other resources include: The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning and So Easy to Preserve, 6th Edition. Meat can be pressure canned in strips, cubes, chunks, ground or chopped. Meat can safely be canned by either the raw or hot pack methods. While both methods are safe, many consumers find that the raw pack leaves less liquid in the jar surrounding the meat. It takes approximately one pound of meat to fill a pint jar or two pounds for a quart jar.

K-State Research and Extension has a series of videos that show canning meat step-by-step with a pressure canner:
Canning Meat – Raw Pack
Canning Meat – Hot Pack
Canning Meat Using a Pressure Canner
Canning Meat – Achieving and Maintaining Pressure
Cool Down After Processing
Removing Jars from the Canner

Canning Seafood by the Pacific Northwest Extension group, offers detailed information to guarantee safety.

Meat Canning Tips:
– Can only good quality meat, poultry, or game.
– Keep all meat clean and sanitary.
– Use lean cuts OR remove as much fat as possible. Fat can go rancid in the jar over time. Fat also contributes to seal failure. Remove gristle and bruised spots.
– Cut meat into uniform pieces suitable for cooking or canning. Slice meat across the grain.
– Soak strong-flavored game in salt water before canning in a brine made of 1 tablespoon salt for each quart of water for 1 hour or as stated in a recipe.
– Chill poultry pieces in the refrigerator 6 to 12 hours before canning.
– Use the jar size specified by the recipe. Seafood should be processed in half-pint or pint jars only to ensure there is sufficient heat penetration throughout the jar. This is particularly important as seafoods have little natural acid to inhibit the growth of bacteria and bacterial spores that produce toxins.
– Frozen meat may be canned.
– Always adjust processing time and pressures for altitude.
– Salt is optional and only added for flavor, not for any preservation benefits.

Updated 4/2024, mg.

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

More Posts

2 thoughts on “Canning Meat

  1. I recently purchased several frozen Papa Charles Seasoned Italian Beef with Au Jus. Is it safe to pressure canning these? Would I follow the same 15 lbs pressure 90 minutes for Quarts? I would like to save freezer space.

  2. Hi Carol, thank you for contacting AnswerLine. I would advise against doing what you propose. To begin, I looked at the ingredients in this product and find that it contains starches. Starches are a problem in two ways. First, starches tend to clump or coagulate during the long and intense pressure process and therefore do not allow for even heat penetration throughout the product to ensure a safe food product in a jar. Secondly, the intense heat and pressure also cause the starches to breakdown so what was once gravy will no longer be gravy. There are a variety of other food additives in this product. I have no idea how they would behave and/or taste once processed. And lastly, but most important, there are NO USDA approved methods for canning prepared products. This product was intended to be frozen for longer storage and that is what you should do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Connect with us!

AnswerLine's Facebook page AnswerLine's Pinterest page
Phone: (Monday-Friday, 9 am-noon; 1-4 pm)
1-800-262-3804 (in Iowa)
1-800-854-1678 (in Minnesota)