Making my own canned chicken was one of those projects I kept putting off until I ordered 80 lbs of chicken and either had to can it or waste it. I was leaving town for a week so I stayed up for 24 hours straight and got it all canned!
Luckily nothing blew-up, but canning chicken was only half of the issue, I now had to eat it! I’m not going to lie, I was scared I was going to kill not only myself, but my family and land a spot on Dumbest Ways to Die.
I am proud to say though, over two years later we are all still alive and it’s some of the best meat I’ve ever had! I love the convenience of pulling out a jar of cooked chicken and putting it into any meal. This is definitely something I plan to do with my chicken from now on! It’s even better having the peace of mind knowing I don’t have to show my face or purple pj’s at the store for years to come.
Canned chicken’s nutritive value is best for up to 3 years, but can last much longer. So go ahead, give it a try – I dare you ;)
STEPS TO CANNING CHICKEN:
(NOTE: Be sure to read your Instruction Manual before operating your Pressure Cooker/Canner. I’m Not responsible for death… only for AWESOME chicken :)
Short Version: Put raw chicken in jars, put 1/4-1/2 tsp of salt on top, & then pressure cook for 75 (pint) or 90 (quart) minutes!
You can use this same procedure to bottle most meats (some just need to be cooked slightly and maybe need broth added) – beef, venison, elk, sausage, brisket, etc.
1- Get Supplies Ready:
- PRESSURE CANNER – I love the All American 921 Pressure Cooker/Canner
- CANNING SUPPLIES – Utensil Set (Tongs, Funnel, Lid Holder, etc.)
- SALT – Pint (abt. 1/4 tsp) & Quart (abt. 1/2 tsp)
- VINEGAR – To wipe Rim of Jar
- CANNING JARS – Pint (holds 1 lb) or Quart (holds 2lbs) – I Prefer Wide Mouth (Easier to fit meat in, and I’m able to use the same lids for all my jars)
- Inspect jars for chips in the rim and hairline cracks and discard damaged ones.
- Inspect metal rings and discard any with dents or rust.
- Wash jars, metal screw bands and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse.
- Place jars upside down on a clean, dry cloth or leave them in the dishwasher until needed.
- DO NOT reuse flat metal lids.
2- Cut & Put Raw Chicken into Jars
Slice the chicken however you like so it will fit in the jar – leave about 3/4 to an 1 inch of headspace. You can cube it, slice it, or dice it, I really don’t care.
There is no need to pre-cook chicken, because it will cook in the pressure canner. Chicken also produces enough juice so that no water needs to be added. It makes it’s own chicken broth that you can choose to use if you like.
3- Add Salt
Put about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of salt for Pint size jars and put 1/2 – 1 tsp of salt for Quart size jars.
4- Wipe Rim with a Rag or Paper Towel & Screw on Lids
Much of your canning success depends on this one step. Lately, I have wiped the edges of my jars with a little vinegar and all of them have sealed perfectly.
Screw on lids finger tight, do not over tighten or else it will not be able to exhaust properly, but don’t do too loose or it may not seal (no pressure or anything ;)
5- Get Pressure Canner Ready:
- Check metal-to-metal seal for lubrication.
- Check to make sure vent pipe is clear.
- Place 1 1/2″ of water in bottom of canner.
- Place a rack in bottom of pressure canner with the rim facing down.
6- Put Jars in Pressure Canner
Make sure to put jars on top of the rack. Never place jars directly on the bottom of the canner.
Also make sure to stagger the top layer if there are two layers, using a rack between layers. I can fit about 7 pint jars on the bottom and 7-9 on the top.
7- Put Cover on Canner
Place cover on cooker bottom so that arrow on cover aligns with the arrow on the bottom. Gradually and evenly tighten two opposite wing nuts at the same time, maintaining the same size gap around the entire canner where the cover meets the bottom.
NEVER tighten just one wing nut at a time – that’s a big NO NO! You don’t want to end up with a lop-sided lid!
8 – Exhaust for 7-10 minutes
After placing lid on canner, turn stove onto high and allow steam to escape from the vent pipe.
Once you see steam escaping start timing for 7 minutes to allow for the air to escape from the jars.
9- Set Pressure Regulator Weight Over Vent Pipe for 10 P.S.I.
Depending on your elevation, set the weight over the vent pipe, aligning the weight so that the hole corresponds to the desired pressure (for sea level or Texas it’s 10 p.s.i.).
10- Build Pressure & Wait for Regulator Weight to Jiggle & Sputter:
When the regulator weight begins to jiggle and sputter immediately start timing:
- Pint-Size Jars – 75 Minutes
- Quart-Size Jars – 90 Minutes
Adjust the Heat
Adjust the heat until it jiggles only one to four times a minute (On my stove I set it between 3.5-5). Try to keep the pressure as steady as possible by regulating the amount of heat applied to the cooker. At no time should the pressure be allowed to rise above 15 P.S.I.
Do not expect the gauge to always show the exact pressure setting, when the weight jiggles and sputters it’s releasing pressure to maintain the setting on the pressure regulator weight. Even in the situation where the gauge is not registering correctly for any reason, the cooker should still be functioning at the pressure regulator weight setting.
11- Turn off Heat
When cooking is completed turn the heat off and allow it to cool until the steam pressure gauge reads zero.
Remove the selective pressure regulator weight slowly and do not release steam pressure too rapidly as liquid will be drawn from jars. You want to make sure to not move the pressure canner until the pressure is completely reduced.
12- Remove Cover
CAUTION: Never loosen wing nuts until the steam pressure gauge registers zero, and you have allowed any remaining pressure to escape by carefully removing the selective pressure regulator weight. (The longer you wait without removing the pressure regulator weight after it reaches zero P.S.I., the more vacuum will form, pulling the cover tighter and tighter to the bottom.)
Remove cover, raising farthest edge first to protect face and arms from steam.
13- Yay, you now have CANNED CHICKEN!!! – Remove Screw Bands
Pull chicken out and set on towel to cool. As jars seal you will hear a popping sound and you can check by seeing if the lid has popped down in the center. If a jar does not seal, refrigerate contents and use or reprocess within 24 hours of the original processing.
Wipe containers off after they are cool. Label with the date and contents. You can also choose to add a lot number if you canned more than one lot in a day.
Screw bands are not needed on stored jars. They can be removed easily after jars are cooled. If left on stored jars, they become difficult to remove, often rust, and may not work properly again.
How long does Canned Chicken last?
For best eating quality and nutritive value, use within 3 years. It’s still good for much longer, some have eaten their chicken at 10+ years, but optimal nutrition value is within 3 years.
Never eat anything you think might be spoiled. Discard it. As an added safety precaution you can also boil meats for 20 minutes in an open pan before eating. This will destroy the botulism toxin, should any be present.
Cooking with Canned Chicken…
You can substitute most of your recipes that call for chicken with the chicken you canned.
No need to cook it again, it’s ready to throw into any meal you want! It falls apart very easy so it’s great for chicken salad, tacos, casseroles, and much more. Another great part about canned chicken is the liquid inside is now chicken broth you can use too!
I have a few canned chicken recipes you can use, but will be definitely be adding more so stay tuned ;)