Canning Meat, Poultry and Game

HYG-5330
Family and Consumer Sciences
Date: 
05/28/2015
Revised by: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences
Original author: Lana Hardy, former Extension Educator

The flavor and texture of the final meat, poultry or game product depends on how the meat is handled following slaughter. If you slaughter your own meat, contact your county OSU Extension educator for information. Use only meat from healthy, disease-free animals. The meat should be chilled without delay to 40°F or lower to prevent spoilage. To hold longer than a few days, freeze at 0°F or lower until canning time.

Handle meat rapidly and keep everything that touches the meat clean. De-bone red meats. Trim off all gristle, bruised spots and excess fat before canning. Any fat left on the meat may affect sealing. Meat, poultry and game are low-acid foods and must be processed in a pressure canner at 10 to 15 pounds of pressure per square inch (psi) for safety. See Tables 1, 2 and 3 for processing times for all meat types and stock. Meat can be packed either raw or cooked. Pack meat loosely into clean canning jars. Keep precooked meat hot while packing and cover with boiling liquid. Salt adds flavor, but it is not necessary for preservation.

When ready to serve, boil canned meat and poultry 10 minutes before you taste it, even if it looks and smells all right.

If this is your first time canning, it is suggested that you read the OSU Extension fact sheet "Canning Basics" for instructions on filling and processing recommendations.

Poultry, Rabbit or Squirrel

Choose freshly killed and dressed healthy animals. Large chickens are more flavorful than fryers. Dressed poultry should be chilled for 6 to 12 hours before canning. Dressed rabbits or squirrels should be soaked 1 hour in water containing 1 tablespoon of salt per quart, then rinsed. Remove excess fat. Cut the poultry, rabbit or squirrel into suitable sizes for canning. Can with or without bones.

Hot Pack

Boil, steam or bake meat until about two-thirds done. If desired, add 1 teaspoon salt per quart. Fill jars with meat pieces and boiling broth, leaving 1¼ inch of headspace.

Raw Pack

If desired, add 1 teaspoon salt per quart. Fill jars loosely with raw meat pieces, leaving 1¼ inch of headspace. Do not add liquid. Adjust lids and process.

Table 1. Recommended Processing Times for Poultry, Rabbit or Squirrel
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (in minutes) Canner Pressure
Dial Gauge Weighted Gauge
0–2,000 ft 0–1,000 ft 1,000+ ft
Hot or Raw (without bones) Pints 75 11 lbs 10 lbs 15 lbs
Quarts 90
Hot or Raw (with bones) Pints 65 11 lbs 10 lbs 15 lbs
Quarts 75

Bear, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Veal and Venison

Strips, Cubes or Chunks

Choose quality chilled meat. Remove excess fat. Soak strong-flavored wild meats for 1 hour in water containing 1 tablespoon of salt per quart. Rinse. Remove large bones.

Hot Pack

Precook meat until rare by roasting, stewing or browning in a small amount of fat. If desired add 2 teaspoons of salt per quart to the jar. Fill jars with meat; add boiling broth, meat drippings, water or tomato juice, leaving one inch of headspace.

Raw Pack

If desired, add 2 teaspoons of salt per quart. Fill with raw meat pieces, leaving one inch of headspace. Do not add liquid. Adjust lids and process.

Ground or Chopped Meat

Choose fresh, high-quality, chilled meat. Avoid flavoring sausage with sage; canning may cause a bitter, off-flavor. If desired, add 1 part high-quality pork fat to 3 or 4 parts venison before grinding. Shape chopped meat into patties or balls, or cut cased sausage into 3- to 4-inch links. Cook until lightly browned. Ground meat may be sautéed without shaping. Remove excess fat and fill jars. Add boiling meat broth, tomato juice or water, leaving one inch of headspace. If desired, add 2 teaspoons of salt per quart. Adjust lids and process.

Table 2. Recommended Processing Times for Bear, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Veal and Venison
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (in minutes) Canner Pressure
Dial Gauge Weighted Gauge
0–2,000 ft 0–1,000 ft 1,000+ ft
Hot or Raw (strips, cubes or chunks of meat) Pints 75 11 lbs 10 lbs 15 lbs
Quarts 90
Hot (ground or chopped meat) Pints 75 11 lbs 10 lbs 15 lbs
Quarts 90

Making Your Own Stock

Red Meat

Saw or crack freshly trimmed beef bones to help draw out flavor. Rinse bones, cover with water, cover pot and simmer 3 to 4 hours. Remove meat from bones. Chill broth, skim off fat and return meat to broth. Reheat broth and meat to boiling. Fill jars, leaving one inch of headspace. Adjust lids and process.

Poultry

Place carcass bones in a large stockpot and cover with water. Cover pot and simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until meat can be easily stripped from bones. Chill broth and skim off fat. Strip meat, discard excess skin and fat, and return meat to broth. Reheat to boiling and fill jars. Leave one inch of headspace. Adjust lids and process.

Table 3. Recommended Processing Times for Meat Stock
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time (in minutes) Canner Pressure
Dial Gauge Weighted Gauge
0–2,000 ft 0–1,000 ft 1,000+ ft
Hot Pints 20 11 lbs 10 lbs 15 lbs
Quarts 25

References

Andress, E., and J. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. 6th ed. Athens: University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, 2014.

United States Department of Agriculture. Complete Guide to Home Canning, Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539. 2009.

Ohioline http://ohioline.osu.edu