Full proof method for canning pork, chicken, beef

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Central Florida Denise

I’ve not met many canners who have canned pork, chicken and beef, however, this is the food I enjoy most to can. Having fresh canned meat to add to numerous dinner choices such as soup, stews, chicken salad, rice dishes, potato dishes, pasta etc. will make it much easier to please your family if you can add some protein to the mix.

The reason I’m writing is because some of what I’ve read on canning sites tend to make the meat sound quite unappealing in it’s texture and appearance and I can say from experience that couldn’t be further from the truth if you follow my method for canning meat. Lets start with the cut of meat. For the pork I use center cut boneless, thick cut approximately 1″ to 1 1/4″ thick. For chicken I buy skinless, boneless white meat breasts at the big warehouse stores buying the “store brand”. For the beef, which is a bit expensive right now, I buy Delmonico, New York strip or Ribeye. It may be best to buy the beef when it is on sale. I buy all my pork when it is “buy one get one free” packages. The chicken has been a good deal at $1.97 per pound for at least the last 6 to 9 months.

The length of time I cook my meat is quite different from the canning books, but the end result is meat that will be fork tender and have an appealing appearance. First is the pork, trim all excess fat from around the edges and sprinkle liberally with Montreal Steak Seasoning on the front and back and place in large aluminum rectangular cake pan with lid. This should hold approximately 8 to 9 pieces of boneless pork loin, (they will look like small filets). You can cook them very close together. Add chicken broth or chicken stock to pan and cover loins at least 3/4 of the way, add lid.

Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours, removing the lid for the last 20 to 30 minutes to brown. You should still have a good amount of chicken broth in the pan that will be added to your pint jars for the liquid that is needed in the canning process. If your broth is low, you can add some at this point so it will mingle with the broth that has been cooking with the pork absorbing the flavors. After you remove pan from oven, cut loins in half and fill pint jars per your canners instructions and add hot broth to within 1″ of top of pint jars. I use pint jars because it is just the right amount of meat for my husband and myself for one meal. You must can the pints at 75 minutes and the quarts at 90 minutes, unless you have altitude requirements.

Next is the chicken. I can two different types of chicken. The first is a more plain chicken, trim all excess fat from chicken breast and season with salt, pepper, parsley (whatever your family likes in seasoning) on both front and back. Place chicken in large aluminum rectangular cake pan with lid and follow instructions for pork, adding chicken broth or stock and cooking for 2 hours.

Also remove lid the last 20 to 30 minutes to brown. You do not need to flip these while they are cooking. The chicken we use most often is Chipotle chicken. I use Grill Mates Chipotle Seasoning and follow instructions on the back for amount of chicken you are cooking. You can reduce the amount of oil you mix with this to make the processing less fatty. Again, after you place all the chicken in the pan, add chicken broth to 3/4 of the way and add lid. Cook for 2 hours and remove from oven. Cut to desired chunks and fill jars, adding broth to within 1″ of top. Process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes, unless you have altitude requirements.

Last but not least is the steak. I use Montreal Steak Seasoning front and back, place in pan, add beef broth same as above and cook for 2 hours, removing lid the last 20 to 30 minutes to brown. Cut into pieces or strips and pack per your canners instructions, adding the beef broth to within 1″ of top. The steak is excellent in beef stew, chili etc. I have also found that using diluted vinegar to wipe the rims gives me a better chance of no failures with my jars. The vinegar cuts through any fatty residue that may have been left on the rims. Give it a try, the results are tender and appealing.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com   A total prize value of over $600.

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Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution”  and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company.  A total prize value of $107.

Contest ends on June 5 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. This is a great article! I’m new to canning and still trying to do veggies without ruining them! Prepper friends of mine have been canning meat for quite a while. I’ll admit, meat doesn’t look as beautiful in the jars as colorful fruits/veggies, but practicality-wise it’s a must. We learned from experience, 3 weeks w/ out electricity and we had to cook and eat every bit of meat in the freezer so it wouldn’t go bad. We wound up giving a lot of it away. Another plus to canning meat is that you get the liquid with it, add some veggies and you’ve got yourself a meal. Great post!

  2. anonymous says:


  3. It has to be processed in a PRESSURE COOKER!!! Otherwise if it is stored for a long time it will go bad no matter how good your cleanliness. Don’t chance getting sick or worse yet loosing you $$$ meat preps.

  4. I agree – great article! What do you all feel is a reasonable shelf life for canned meat – how old is too old and you would throw it out?

    • Ken,

      If the meats were canned properly and remain sealed, I would have no problem using them two years out. The problem is that once you have home canned meat, it gets really easy to fix pulled pork or bbq chicken sandwiches for supper or to make pulled pork with beans and rice. I have a hard time stockpiling home canned meats because we eat them so fast.

  5. Jim (Ohio) says:

    Great post! Just as a note to those new into canning, the USDA recommends that low acid foods (such as meat and most vegetables) be pressure canned to kill any botulism spores that may be present. This recipe didn’t really specify whether to pressure can or use boiling water bath. While this recipe is probably low risk because the meat is cooked so long, the inside of the jars won’t be properly sterilized (must get up to 240 degrees to kill C. botulinum) unless pressure canning is used, leading to a small risk of botulism infection.

    • charlie (NC) says:

      Jim, I agree, the author should have specified pressure canning, however, I’m sure that is what was intended. The reference to canning time except if you had altitude requirements was the give away to folks who know pressure canning but those that don’t might not pick up on it.

    • As someone who has canned for decades I just assumed that the time and altitude requirements implied pressure canning, but you are correct in mentioning it for those who are new to the process. Good catch. This is a case where sometimes you know too much about a subject to catch the nuances.

    • Denise (Central Florida) says:

      Thank you for all your comments on the article. I appologize for not mentioning the pressure cooker. I made an assumption that it was a given. I’m pleased you have found it useful and I agree it doesn’t stay around long unless you make several batches. I like to keep 50 to 70 pints of each at an given time. Thank again!

  6. The canning thing seems very interesting and somewhat tricky,but looking forward to trying it. My mom would make some jellies when I was growing up and her mom,from what I remember of her root cellar, was filled with rows of all her work from the garden. I’m not wanting to jump in head first,so do you recommend fruits and veggies first or can a novice go right into canning meats? Also you had wrote to trim the fat from the pork. Is that the same for the ribeyes ‘which I LOVE’ with that little nugget of fat in the center? I do recall seeing in canned meats some fat on the inside of the jar which at first glance might make some peoples arteries clog. Also, does Kerr or Ball make a jar big enough for beef brisket? Just kidding. Great article today.

    • Clippins,

      Check out the like I posted below to Repair Mama’s article. I started with water bath canning. You can make salsas, chutneys, pickles, relishes using the water bath method. Low acid fruits, veggies and meats have to be pressure canned. I think pressure canning meat is really easy. Take the pork (use pork roast) and cut off the fat. Dice it into chunks and raw pack it in jars. Add canning salt. And process. Get a copy of the Ball Blue Book and follow the instructions–very easy.

    • Kelekona says:

      I’ve had more luck with meat than tomato-based preserves, but it’s more the ingredients in the jams that make me sick, everyone else who eats them seems fine.

      You start with water-bath canning fruit because the starter kit (canning funnel, magnetic wand, jar lifter, plastic scrapers, a big pot, and a tray to keep the jars off the bottom) is cheaper than adding a pressure-caner for the meat.

      The basic instructions are pretty similar for both techniques, you just have to be able to follow them fairly slavishly.

    • Boiling water canning is easy and a good place to start – it is also cheaper to start since the canner is much cheaper than a pressure canner. If there is an county extension office near you, you might check with them to see if they have classes on canning. The classes give you the latest information on safety, filling jars, recipes, etc.

      By the way, it is recommended that the 1/2 gallon jars not be used in canning (two exceptions one is grape juice and I can’t remember what the other is) because the food may not get sufficiently heated thru and most canners aren’t tall enough to give the two or three inches of water above the top of the jars room to boil.

      Start with something easy and then move on to the harder items – it would be awful to spend a lot of money on equipment and then discover you really don’t enjoy the process.

    • yes they do make a 1/2 gallon size -if it fits in your canner 🙂

    • Denise (Central Florida) says:

      By all means jump right into the meats. I haven’t done much of veggies myself, preferring to do spaghetti sauce, soups, meat, etc. About trimming the fat off the rib eyes, the fat doesn’t stand a chance of lasting to the processing, we eat that before it ever ends up in the jar. By the way, the cut of meat does make a difference. I’ve tried stew meat the same way and it does NOT come out as tender. Thanks and good luck!

  7. I’ve heard that you should re-heat home-canned meat before eating because it might have anaerobic bacteria. It seems counter-intuitive since wouldn’t that bacteria already have invisibly fouled the meat before you open it?

    I tend to raw-pack since the processing times are the same, but overcooked meat is going to be overcooked meat, and it probably just depends on whether or not you want the roasted flavor.

    • Kelekona,

      Meat is canned in a pressure caner where temperatures get hot enough to kill spores. As long as the meat is canned properly (with canning salt) and sealed, bacteria cannot grow.

  8. Rich Muszynski says:

    greetings. another meat to can is turkey. i get them when they go on sale and are cheaper. get big one and roast it just like normally for eating. i can it in pint jars with the stock from the pan as the liquid. take the turkey and simply take it apart with my hands to remove all the bones. and can it as usual, the 75 minute pressure canning. to use I simply take a jar of canned turkey and add it to egg noodles, or any form of pasta, or even rice, and you have a meal. I have given a lot of the canned turkey to friends and find they rarely say it lasted long enough to make with the other ingredients to make a soup. they simply ate it right out of the jar as a snack. handy, no cooking necessary to enjoy it after it is pressure canned. and turkey, the whole birds go for sometimes 49 cents a pound at the super markets who want to get rid of their surplus frozen foods rather then store them.

  9. Thanks, Denise, for a nicely-written and detailed primer for those of us who have not yet tread into the world of canning meats. You are right – the canning sites and many manuals describe the process in less-than-appealing ways, but I suspect that may be because the writers are concerned that in our current society, if anyone were to do it improperly and become ill, they might turn around and blame the source of their inspiration to can the meat in the first place! I have my grandmother’s battered and stained copy of the Betty Crocker Cookbook, copyrighted some time in the late 50’s. There are detailed instructions for canning meats there, but even back then, the authors were careful to write specific warnings if the instructions were not followed to the letter! People today are not so self-reliant as to assume they are responsible if something goes wrong. Must be someone else’s fault, right?
    I have always prided myself on my well-stocked chest freezer, but really need to learn to can meats for a true shelf-stable way of providing for my family. Your ‘fool-proof’ guide and advice are helpful to those of us who have been unwilling to take that next step with materials that most of us already have on hand.
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I do have the equipment on hand to try canning meat, and a freezer full of things to do it with. Hopefully, I will be able to report back on my progress in the next couple of weeks.
    Thank you for the incentive!

    • Cat,

      Keep in mind that you will need a pressure caner if you want to can meat. Adding canning salt is essential to the preservation process.

      • As one who studies and practices pressure canning , I submit that the salt used in properly pressure-canned foods serves only to season, not to preserve.

        • Candy in Nebraska says:

          I have to back gamrich. I been canning for a long time, and was taught by an old Ranch Cook. Canning Salt is for seasoning, not to preserve.

          • I stand corrected. I looked this up on the USDA website and it said adding salt is not essential to preserving home canned meats.

      • Hi BamBam-
        I have a 4-quart pressure cooker. It’s not huge… but I think it should be able to be rigged to work as a pressure canner for small batches. I have access to a machine shop and will make my own if I can’t find a rack to raise the jars above the bottom of the pot. I think that is the only thing I’m missing to make a pressure cooker into a pressure canner.
        I will not forget the salt! I’m afraid I’m rather fond of it, whether or not it is strictly necessary or good for you. 😛
        As always, thank you for your advice.

        • Kelekona says:

          Alikaat, just make sure that you know the psi of your pressure cooker. Off the top of my head, I think I’m using a 10 psi weight at sea level, and if the pressure drops, I have to start over.

          Finding that I don’t need to cover the jars in water for that process does save some time and energy.

    • Very well said, thank you!

  10. Great article Denise. I have never tried to can meat before and I have to admit that the sites that I have read about canning meat do not make it appealing. Using the methods you described, it sounds no different than adding any store bought canned meat for a meal. Also as I currently keep my meat in a freezer, if we lose power, its a problem. Thanks for the information.
    Keep the Faith

    • TN Sam,

      I started pressure canning meat because I wanted a way to store meat that was not dependent on refrigeration. I have canned chicken breast and pork loin. The consistence is just like pulled pork. I did can meatloaf. I didn’t care for the texture but my dh loves the meatloaf.

  11. We cut out the precooking our meat a while ago. We just raw pack it. You can add seasoning if you wish. Cut into cubes of the size that you want. Put in clean jars to within one inch of the rim. Seal and pressure cook 90 min at 10 pounds for quart jars. For beef it’s usually a chuck roast. They all come out fork tender and juicy. The only time we cook meat for canning is if it’s for my wife’s BBQ recipe. It’s on my site, gardenforyourlife.blogspot.com. Raw packing is just simple with less to clean up.

  12. benjammin says:

    In addition to chicken breast, pork, and beef, I also can turkey, salmon, and some wild game. With the exception of Ground meat, I do not pre-cook any meat for cannin, preferring the raw process instead. There are two reasons why I pre-cook ground meat. First, I can remove a fair amount of fat in the cooking process, which greatly improves the finished canned product. Second, ground meat will congeal into a meat loaf in the jar if it is raw processed. Generally I prefer to consume canned meats within 24 months. I prefer canning in pints as most of my recipes using canned meat break out by the pound, which is roughly one jar.

    Canning meat is not that difficult once you’ve done it a time or two. To begin with, practice with someone who knows what they are doing, and you will catch on pretty quickly. Based on how much I put up in a year, I’ve probably canned around 12,ooo or so jars of food so far. I retain about 700 pint and quart jars a year, having to replace a couple dozen each year to loss (give aways and breakage).

  13. Repair Mama wrote an article a while back on canning meat, a step-by-step guide. If you are new to canning, you might check out this article–it accords with the Ball Blue Book’s recommendations.


  14. Schatzie Ohio says:

    I can a lot of browned ground beef. I just finished pressure canning meat balls in tomato sauce using the recipe in “Growing and Canning Your Own Food” by Jackie Clay.

  15. I pressure can alot of meat from the farm, I much perfer the taste of bone in raw packed meat if I can do so, I like to can chicken, turkey, rabbit and duck bone in, and do raw pack method for the Goat, Lamb, Pork or Beef.

    It certianly makes a huge diffence to have canned meats available in the pantry, but if you have a cold celler, do consider also learning to cure your meats as it gives you a nice texture change from time to time.

  16. Back in college went with one of my roomates to his parents farm to help his dad with some stuff and his mom pulled a qt jar of canned
    kettle beef out for lunch and put it over some noodles, man that was some good stuff. My biggest concerns for long term after shtf is having meat and fruit stored away. Rice and beans are okay but I want some variety. I am going to work on canning skills and dehydrating this summer to be able to put away for the winter what I can get when there is an abundance and keep my belly full.

  17. JP in MT says:

    Canning of meat is something on our list of new skills.

  18. I just canned my first 12 pints of meat a couple of weeks ago and I’m ecstatic with the results! I loved your ideas on the chicken. Will try that myself! Thanks for the article!

  19. George is Learning says:

    cooking a ribeye for 2 hours just seems like a crime .

    come shtf a 2 hour cooked ribeye would be a small piece of heaven 🙂

    thanks for the article

  20. I have been canning meat now for a few months and it is wonderful. I don’t go to the trouble of precooking anything but hamburger. I do raw pack on everything else. Chicken legs and thighs,with the skin removed,in quart jars can be used for a great many things as can pork loin. I even do hotdogs,very handy.
    Happy canning.

    • How do the hot dogs come out? I read somewhere that the hot dogs swelled and looked kinda like man-parts. ( sorry so blunt hope that no offence is taken) The article also said that the meat split and that it did not turn out well. Wish I could remember where I read this article, but have not found it since. I have been hesitant to can hot dogs or polish sausage because of this article. I like to make scalloped potatoes with polish sausage and it would be a nice filling meal.

  21. It doesn’t really matter what cut of meat you use, the long processing times gives it all the same texture. Prime Rib, or ball joint rump, it all comes out the same, so use the cheaper cuts.

    I like to grill meats on the BBQ before canning. They don’t have to be grilled until “done”, just get a good brown on it, cut it up into appropriate sized chunks, and can away. This is all so easy to do, there’s no reason not to. Spend several days a year putting up meats, soups and stews and have a good portion of your dinners nearly ready made for a year.

  22. Rich Muszynski says:

    greetings. note article should be foolproof canning and not full proof canning.

  23. I have canned some meats and after my last batch I began to notice that all the “juice” boiled out of the jar. I have since figured out why (cooled canner way to quickly). Is it ok to still use these cans? There is about 1-2 inches of juice left in the can. The jars did seal and all looks well.

    • Just in case anyone is interested, I spoke with a seasoned canning veteran and she told me that as long as the jar sealed my meat is ok. She also said that I was lucky that my jars didn’t explode due to cooling to quickly. Learn something new every day!!

  24. Denise (Central Florida) says:

    Thanks for all your comments on the article. I appologize for not mentioning the pressure canner specifically, I assumed it was a given. My mistake. Yes, novices can jump right into canning meat pretty easy. I prefer meats, soups, spaghetti sauces etc. I haven’t done much in the way of vegetables. And one more comment, the cut of meat does make a difference. I have tried stew meat the same way and it does not come out as good as a better cut of beef. The Ball book states, “canning will not make the meat taste better, a good cut of meat will”. (I’m paraphrasing.) Thanks again.

    • I like to can soups, stews, chili, or anything else that already has meat. Dont have to worry about canning so much. Still pretty new at the meat canning thing, so keep the education comming!

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