Meat that is canned at home is much healthier than the comparable products purchased in stores, and can be really delicious. The store-bought items are usually mass produced and contain artificial ingredients, preservatives (an enormous amount of sodium), and other less than appealing items. Knowing how to can meat will allow you and your family to enjoy healthier food choices throughout the year.
Step 1: Purchase a weighted-gauge pressure canner. This tool must be used because meat is a low-acid food so the spores, toxins, and bacteria present must be killed before canning. The weighted-gauge model will allow the internal temperature of the canner to be more accurately monitored.
Step 2: Cut the meat across its grain, forming strips. If the meat will be used for soups or stews, cut these strips into one-inch cubes. Be sure to cut all gristle and fat from the meat. If fat is present, the meat may taste gamey or the jars may not seal properly.
Step 3: Pan cook or roast the meat to 2/3 doneness. Alternatively, use a recipe developed for home canning purposes. Fill the canning jars with meat and hot broth, allowing 1 ¼ inches of space at the top of the jar.
Step 4: To cold pack meat prior to canning, place uncooked pieces in canning jars. Cover these with water or broth.
Step 5: Follow the instructions that came with the canner regarding cooking temperature, pressure, and time.
Step 6: Once cooking is completed, remove the jars from the canner, keeping them away from any drafts. Allow them to sit for 24 hours.
Step 7: Test the lids on the jars to make sure they are concave and do not move when they are pressed. If they fail this test, they must be reprocessed or consumed immediately.