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How do I? ...Can Meats

Selecting, Preparing and Canning Meat

Ground or Chopped Meat

Bear, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Sausage, Veal, Venison

Please read Using Pressure Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Choose fresh, chilled meat. With venison, add one part high-quality pork fat to three or four parts venison before grinding. Use freshly made sausage, seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper (sage may cause a bitter off-flavor). 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 sauteed without shaping. Remove excess fat. Fill jars with pieces. Add boiling meat broth, tomato juice, or water, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add 2 teaspoons of salt per quart to the jars, if desired.

Adjust lids and process following the recommendations in Table 1 and Table 2 according to the canning method used.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Ground or Chopped Meat in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 - 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 75 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 90 11 12 13 14

Table 2. Recommended process time for Ground or Chopped Meat in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 75 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 90 10 15


This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.

Reviewed November 2009.

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