I have tried canning beef multiple ways – raw-packed, heat-packed, with water, with-out water and almost gave-up, but I finally found a way that it actually tastes decent. Just like the chicken, I think this may be the way I do beef from now on. The convenience of being able to dump cooked beef into my meals saves me hours in the kitchen and I’ve noticed dinner is actually being made, which always makes the hubby happy. No more spending time defrosting, cooking meat, and forking out money to Taco Bell. Ok, that was a stretch, there’s no getting rid of Taco Bell, but I do really enjoy being able to just dump, cook, and serve. Plus you can’t forget the biggest benefit – shelf-stable meat for 3+ years!!!
STEPS TO CANNING BEEF:
Short Version: Put semi-cooked beef in jars, fill with beef broth, and pressure cook for 75 minutes (pint) or 90 minutes (quart)! You can use this same procedure to bottle most meats – venison, elk, sausage, brisket, pork etc.
(NOTE: Be sure to read your Instruction Manual before operating your Pressure Cooker/Canner. I’m Not responsible for death… only for Delicious BEEF :)
1- Get Supplies Ready:
- PRESSURE CANNER – (I used the All American 921)
- CANNING SUPPLIES – (Tongs, Bubble Remover, etc.)
- BEEF BROTH – A bouillion cube for each jar or enough broth to fill jars. Use Broth for Beef, Sausage, Pork.
- VINEGAR – To wipe Rim of Jar
- BEEF – Make sure it’s low in fat, at least 90/10
- JARS – Pint (holds 1 lb) or Quart (holds 2lbs) – 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- Cook Beef
Cook the meat some, but don’t worry about cooking it all the way, because it will finish cooking in the pressure canner. You can brown it in a skillet, cook in the oven, or boil it . Another option is to form the beef into patties that will fit into your jar and brown it slightly. You can put more meat in the jar this way and have the option to eat it like patties or crumble it for ground beef. Drain the fat and then fill the jars to within 3/4 to 1 inch headspace.
Raw-Packed (Raw) vs Heat-Packed (Cooked) Beef
If you’re feeling lazy and just want to can the ground beef raw, don’t worry, I did the experiment for you and it’s GROSS!!! The jar on the left is raw-packed and yes that is a layer of fat just sitting there waiting to cause some damage. For ground beef you want to make sure you cook the beef a little first. It helps remove air from its tissue, helps keep it from floating in jars, and lengthens the shelf life (and looks & tastes MUCH better)!
3- Add Beef Broth
Get a pot of boiling beef broth and add to jars until covering meat. If you use boiling water instead, make sure to add a beef boillion cube to each jar. Don’t use just water or the flavor of the meat will leach out into the water leaving meat without much flavor. It’s disgusting, believe me, don’t mess this step up!
After pouring broth in you can go around the inside of the jar with a plastic spatula to help remove any air bubbles. Never use metal or anything that can scratch or nick the glass jar.
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 rim of my jars with a little vinegar and all of them have sealed perfectly. Screw on the lids finger tight, do not overtighten or else it will not be able to exhaust properly, but don’t do it too loose either or it may not seal.
5- Get Pressure Cooker 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 cooker.
- Place a rack in bottom of pressure cooker with the rim facing down.
6- Put Jars in Pressure Cooker
Make sure to put jars on top of the rack. Never place jars directly on the bottom of the cooker. 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 the Cooker
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 unit where the cover meets the bottom. NEVER tighten just one wing nut at a time.
8 – Exhaust for 7-10 minutes
After placing lid on cooker, 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 altitude, set the weight over the vent pipe, aligning the weight so that the hole corresponds to 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 the weight jiggles and sputters it is 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 heat off and allow to cool until 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. Do not move pressure cooker 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. Be aware that 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 making it very difficult to remove.
Remove cover, raising farthest edge first to protect face and arms from steam.
13- Yay, you have GROUND BEEF!!! – Remove Screw Bands
Pull beef out and set on a 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. If you canned more than one lot in one day, add a lot number. 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.
14 – ENJOY!!!
For best eating quality and nutritive value, use within 3 years. It’s still good for much longer, some have eaten their beef 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 boil meats for 20 minutes in an open pan before eating. This will destroy the botulism toxin, should any be present.
Ron (StandsWithABeer) Fercken says
You have a truly useful and important website. . .Thank You for it! :-)
I would like to suggest you look into low-moisture cooking (waterless & greaseless cookware) as a way to ameliorate the fat issues when canning beef; since this cookware cooks almost 100% of the fat out of meat, one can pre-cook for less than 20 minutes and remove the fat this way prior to the canning phase. I am able to purchase fattier hamburger and other less expensive cuts of meat because of this feature of the cookware. I like Royal Prestige cookware most.
Again, thanks for your site!
Jamie S. says
Good to know Ron! Didn’t think of doing it like that. It would be nice to be able to get fattier meat, and I’ve been needing an excuse to buy new pots!
I just put the meat in a strainer and ran it under water to rinse off the fat. No fancy cookware necessary. There was BARELY any fat in the jars when finished.
Jamie S. says
Awesome! Thanks for sharing!
Sue Mosier says
Thank you very much for your thorough information.
canning beef. How about canning venison. assume times are the same
Jamie S. says
I haven’t done it yet, on my list ;), but what I’ve read so far it’s the same time and process. Just double check with your canning instructions.
Albert Pollard says
Fat is NOT bad. A layer of fat over the meat actually adds another layer of protection from spoilage.
Jamie S. says
Good to know! That really worried me at first!
mary caldwell says
Thanks—-this is better than my old recipe that I lost.
Curious if this can be done with prepared taco meat, putting the seasonings in the meat prior to pressure canning.