Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Monday, November 29, 2010

Canning Venison

This past weekend, Dan and I canned venison. It was my first time canning meat, but was actually very easy (though time consuming), and the results are delicious!

First, sweet-talk your hubby into helping. :)
Gather everything you need before you begin, preventing any last minute scrambles. You will need a pressure caner with rack, straight sided (wide mouth) pint jars, lids and bands, a jar lifter, magnet wand or tongs for lifting lids out of hot water, a wide mouth funnel, kitchen timer, plenty of wash cloths and kitchen towels, canning salt and some MEAT!
You may have read about canning meats, and (if you're like me) it may have scared you silly. Don't be afraid! This really is easy. The family I learned this from has been preparing and eating venison this way since they were itty bitty, and I've had my share of it as well. It is well worth the effort.
Wash all equipment in hot soapy water, using regular dish washing liquid. This includes the jars. Soak the jar lids in hot water until ready to use.
Pack your cubed meat into the jars leaving one inch of head space. We didn't pack ours quite as full as we could have. I was a bit afraid of packing them too full. We used all of the meat that people would usually grind into burger. I love all venison as long as it's NOT burger, so this works out well for us.

Add 1/4 tsp. canning salt to the top of each packed jar, wipe rim with clean, damp cloth, cover with lid and screw band finger-tip tight.

These handy little wands with magnets on the end are great for picking the lids out of the hot water.

When the jars are packed, load your canner (with approximately three inches of water in the bottom). You want enough water that it won't evaporate, but you do not want to cover the first layer of jars. Some people put a second rack on top of the first layer of jars before adding the second layer. If you don't have a second rack, just stagger the jars so each jar on the second layer is resting on two jars from the first layer.

If you have two canners, yay for you! You can make a double batch!

Now for the hard part. ;) Drag you rocking chair right into your kitchen, and grab a really good read. You're going to be here a while!

Leaving the steam escape valve open, exhaust you canner for about six to eight minutes. This means that steam should be coming out in a steady stream without breaks for about six minutes before you close the valve and begin building pressure in your canner. When the pressure gets to 10 lbs., set your timer for 75 minutes. Now settle in with your book, and keep watch over your canner, keeping the pressure as near 10 lbs. as possible. Don't allow it to fluctuate too rapidly, as this will create a vacuum that will such the liquid out of your jars.
At this point you may be wondering, "What liquid?" It's magic, I tell you, magic! The meat has a LOT of liquid in it without you having to add any. It makes it's own heavenly broth as it cooks in the jars. That broth is one of my favorite results of this whole process.
It may take a minute or two for you to get the pressure to stay relatively steady. Just adjust your flame little by little until it levels off. When the time's up, turn off the heat and wait. And wait...and wait...(I'm not very patient, especially this close to the end. I just want to see the results!)...until the pressure is at zero. You don't want to release the pressure quickly for two important reasons. First of all, the steam is HOT! And very importantly, if you do, you'll cause liquid to be sucked out of your jars. This could definitely interfere with your jars sealing properly, and you'll loose all the wonderful broth. And it is wonderful, I tell you!

We had to break into a jar when it was still warm. Oh, it was so good! The broth was wonderful, perfectly salted. The meat was oh so perfectly tender. Pressure canning absolutely transforms tough meats! You just won't believe it...until you try it! :) Enjoy!


  1. Excellent tutorial, Patty. The pictures add so much. Is there any reason why you didn't use quart jars?

    Thanks for taking the time to do this.

  2. I am SO glad you posted this. My grandma (now passed away) used to make us canned venison all the time when we were really little. I LOVED it. Now everyone is asking me to can venison and I don't have a clue how to do it. This tutorial is VERY much appreciated!!! Now I just have to find myself a pressure canner and I'm ready to go. :)

  3. Excellent post! Bravo to you and hubby for all this hard work! Now, what types of recipes do you use the canned meat in, I'm filing this all away for future use :)

    A pressure canner is on my birthday list for next year!

  4. And - what a gorgeous new header photo!

  5. Hey Mama Pea-
    There's probably not a really good reason for choosing pints. That's what was used by the people I learned from, so without really thinking about it I did the same. Also, you have to increase the canning time with larger jars, and 75 minutes was long enough for me. :)

  6. Mama Tea-
    I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, and that you found it helpful. I was so glad to learn from someone else who had a failry easy method.

    I'm going to use it any time I need something fast. It would be great with the broth thickened up for a stir fry, or made into a gravy for a roast venison sandwich or over rice or potatoes...Now I'm drawing a blank. Can't think of anything else right now.