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Make meals a cinch with this easy canned venison recipe. Eat it as is warmed up or on a bed of rice or mashed potatoes or use it as a quick addition to soups, stews, chili, and sandwiches.
Usually after we butcher a deer, we package it up in vacuum seal bags and fill our freezer with an abundance of delicious red meat. And I still love doing that. Nothing beats a delicious backstrap steak on the grill. But sometimes freezer space is at a premium. And nothing beats the ease of popping open a can of meat to throw in a soup or stew after a busy day.
In fact, before everyone had refrigerators and huge deep freezers, a lot of meat was canned and put up for the winter. Of course, there is always other methods of preserving meat without refrigeration that people definitely utilized (and still do). But canning became a large part of preservation, especially during WWI up until refrigerators became common place in the mid 1940s.
How To Can Venison
A Note On Pressure Canning
First and foremost, you must use a pressure canner to safely can any meat, including venison. Putting it in a waterbath is not safe and things you cannot smell or see could be in that jar of meat.
I know some people are really afraid of using a pressure canner. Which makes things like canning broth and meat impossible. But, using a pressure canner is not really all that difficult. I’ve been using pressure canners and cookers in some capacity my entire adult life. My mom used a pressure cooker multiple times a year my entire life. Nothing bad ever happened. And using a pressure canner allows you to can so many more foods… safely.
Canning food safely is just one of those things I won’t back down from. It’s not worth the risk to me or my family and friends. So, make sure you can this properly using a pressure canner. They’re worth their weight in gold, they really are.
Raw Pack or Hot Pack?
There are two ways of canning venison. One is to raw pack, which is just like it sounds. You pack raw meat into a warm jar. The other is to brown the meat before packing, called hot pack.
Both result in safe, delicious canned venison. However, a lot of folks say that taking the extra step to brown the meat results in a more flavorful product. Does it? Maybe. But, I have 3 kids, my husband works off the homestead 60 hours a week and I have other things to do. To me, it’s just not worth the extra step and mess that it makes. So, I raw pack.
If you do choose to hot pack, you simply put some olive oil in a skillet and brown the meat like you would to make a stew that was to simmer all day. Once it’s done browning, but you’re not done working your way through all the meat, you need to keep it warm. A slow cooker is a great way to do this. If you don’t have one, or don’t want to pull one out, a 5 quart pan with a bit of broth in the bottom (so the meat doesn’t stick) placed on low heat on the stove top will do the trick. See? Extra dishes. 😉
Do I Need to Add Anything To the Jar?
You don’t have to add anything. Not even water. I always add salt to savory canning recipes. Some people swear by adding a cube of pork fat, I think that’s silly and takes away from the flavor. Just like when we make burgers, I never add ground pork or lard to the burger. They taste less like venison and more like beef to me.
I do choose to add some onion to the jars. It’s not necessary, it just brings out some flavor and most recipes I use canned venison in utilize onions anyway. Another quick easy addition is a clove of garlic. Some people choose to add herbs and/or pepper all of those things are fine. None of them will affect the time you need to can the meat.
It’s really up to you whether or not you add anything beyond meat to the jars. Try a few different things if you want. Add some herbs to one, maybe a bay leaf or some thyme. Add a clove of garlic to one. Be creative and think about how you like your venison seasoned when you prepare it fresh (or from the freezer). I suggest the salt as it brings out some of the flavor, but you don’t have to.
- 6 Pounds Venison (cut into 1" cubes)
- 6 teaspoons Salt (divided)
- 3 Tablespoon Onion (diced, divided) optional
- Start by sanitizing your jars and washing lids and rings. I generally sanitize my jars in the dishwasher and just wash the lids and rings before getting started on canning day.
- Cut the venison into 1" cubes trying to make sure to remove as much fat and silverskin as possible. And chop onion up.
- Pack the jars tightly with meat and ½ Tablespoon of chopped onion. Leaving 1" of headspace. If you see a lot of air pockets, use a spatula along to remove the air pocket and push the meat down into the space. You want this to be as tightly packed as you can manage.
- Once you have them packed, sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt onto the top of the meat.
- Wipe the jar rim with a clean, damp cloth and center the lid on the jar. Tighten the ring to finger tight.
- Place the jars in your pressure canner. Add about 3" of water and a Tablespoon of vinegar to your canner. Tighten the lid to the top.
- Start with high heat and allow the water to come to a boil and steam begins escaping the vent. Allow canner to vent for 10 minutes.
- Place the weight on the vent. You'll need a 10 pound weight under 1,000 ft and 15 for over 1,000 ft.
- Allow the canner to come to pressure. Once the weight starts jiggling, reduce the heat to medium. You should continue to see and hear your weight jiggle every 10 to 15 seconds once you reduce the heat.
- Process pint jars for one hour fifteen minutes. Quarts you will process for 90 minutes.
- Once the jars have processed, turn off the heat and allow the canner to come down to 0 pressure naturally. Once the canner reads 0 pressure, carefully remove the lid and allow the jars to sit for another 2 minutes.
- Remove the jars to a towel-lined counter to sit undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours before checking the seal. Store good seals in a cool dark place. If one doesn't have a good seal, place in the refrigerator to eat within a few days.
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Serving Size:1/2 Cup
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 171 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 90mg Sodium: 593mg Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Protein: 34g
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