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Monday, December 13, 2010

Home Canned Burger

I could have sworn I've done a previous post here on canning meat.  I did one on another site a few years ago, but I thought I copied it over here.  Apparently not!

I mentioned a while back that I bought a pork butt or shoulder at a great price.  Here's how I turned it into home canned storage -

I started with a 21 pound portion.  I boned the piece and ended up with 14 pounds of meat and fat.

With any kind of meat canning, I firmly believe that you want to cover the meat in the jar with a fluid.  Some folks just add water and a bit of salt.  I like adding a broth or stock.

I took the bones from the pieces, and boiled them up with salt and a couple of bay leaves.

I let these bones come to a boil.  I skimmed off the fat and flotsam, and kept it at the ready.

The slabs of meat were cut into small pieces that were able to fit into my meat grinder.  I then ground up the meat to make my own burger.

When you're canning meat, you can do it hot- or cold-packed.  With cold-packed, you just add the chunked meat to your jars - about 1 pound per pint - cover with your liquid (3/4 inch head space), then pressure can the meat (I go 10 lbs pressure for 75 minutes for pints).

Hot-packed is basically the same process, but you're adding cooked meat.  When I make burger, I ALWAYS use hot-packed, as it is way too easy for the inner-most burger to not be fully cooked because of the compact nature of the meat.

I took my 14 pounds of burger and cooked it up in 3-4 pound batches.

I SLIGHTLY undercook the meat.  I'm not browning it, I'm really just rendering some of the fat off.

I then take each batch of cooked meat and put it in a collander in the sink.  I do this to let as much fat run off as is possible.  If I were in an emergency situation, I would skip this step, as I would want to retain the fat.

As you'll see later, a good amount of the fat is still retained.  After I cooked up all of the meat, my 14 pounds of meat and fat had turned into 11 pound of cooked pork.  That means my original boned meat was about an 80/20 mixture.

Before I packed the meat, I wanted to turn it into a quasi-Italian Sausage.  I went to my recipe bin and added the following ingredients.  Please note that this recipe is for 5 pound batches.  Since I started with 14 pounds - or 3 recipe's worth - I tripled the recipe, NOT doubled it for the 11 pounds of post-cooking weight.

Italian Sausage recipe for 5 pounds of raw pork -

3T fresh garlic, minced
2T salt
1T ground black pepper
3T fennel seeds, roughly ground
3T dried parsley flakes
2T red pepper flakes

This makes a nice, VERY spicy Italian sausage.  Try it with two TEASPOONS of red pepper flakes for one with just a bit of a "bite".  When I make this sausage raw and stuff it into casings, I also add 1/2 cup of grated Romano cheese, and 1 cup of water.  It's a great sausage!

Back to the canning:

I filled each pint with the ground sausage mixture - about 3/4 pound worth, cooked - and covered it with the pork stock I had made earlier.  I went to within 3/4 inches of the lip of the jar.

I lidded everything up, did the 10 lbs pressure for 75 minutes gig, and viola! - home canned ground sausage.

After the jars cooled, I still got a "cap" of fat that rose to the top of the jars.  I'm OK with that, as it adds additional flavor to this sausage.

Accept The Challenge

Don't assume your fridge and freezer will always be working.  Home canning meat is a great way to do some long-term storage while not having to worry about keeping the meat refrigerated.

Be sure to check all of the lids for a proper seal after they've cooled!  With the fat in the meat, you will sometimes get some on the rim and not get a good seal.  One of my jars failed to seal, so it went into a lasagna the next day.

I've talked in the past about the texture of home canned meats.  I'm not a big fan of the texture of chunks of beef, pork or chicken breast.  It's just like canned tuna - flaky.  Canned burger, on the other hand, has the same mouth-feel as fresh-ground burger.

BTW, you may be thinking, "Why didn't he just buy ground pork or beef instead of boning the meat himself?"  Two reasons.

First, I know EXACTLY what is in my burger because I "produced" it myself.  No snouts, ears or other parts that might find their way into commercially ground meat.

Secondly, price.  I bought the pork for $1 per pound ($21).  After boning it, I had 14 lbs remaining, so the cost-per-pound was $1.50.  The commercially ground pork at the store was $1.99/lb, so I saved seven bucks.  Not retirement money, but every little bit counts!

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Copyright 2010 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


suek said...

I found that if I'm cooking ground meat, adding a small bit of water to the pan helps break up the meat and avoid chunks of ground meat(little meatballs, in effect). If you have a reason to want to remove most of the fat, you could add somewhat more water, bring to a simmer, then chill and the fat would rise to the top to be removed. That would add a couple of steps and probably 24 hours to the process. I'm not sure it would be worth it, but I'm assuming that you removed the fat in order to prevent rancidity. That would extend the shelf life somewhat, I think.

I'd probably simmer those bones for an hour or two, add peppercorns to the water...oh what the heck - probably onion and celery as well - and then reduce the volume in half. Pour the water off the ground meat after you've removed all the fat (assuming above), add it to the "soup" water, and proceed.

Our local Albertson's had an 8 hour sale last week - ground beef at $1.88 per lb. My daughter picked me up 5#. She started chatting with the next guy in line - he was Indian. He didn't eat beef (meat?) he said, but then he bought 25#. For his dogs. He only feeds them fresh natural foods, he said.


Life is interesting!

suek said...

(We had hamburgers two nights, meat loaf one night, and I froze 2 small meat loafs for later. I freeze them, wrap in foil or saran wrap, then freeze. To thaw, unwrap, drop into a glass loaf pan and microwave. Defrost for a cycle, then when defrosted, about 10 minutes on high, 5 minutes on about 60 power. The frozen loaves are about 3" x 6". Maybe a bit less than a pound.

We've found that we prefer fresh hamburger to frozen for hamburgers, but it doesn't really matter if it's for either meatloaf or a casserole.

Chief Instructor said...

That's too funny about the Indian guy. I used to work for a bank that was primarily owned by Indians, but most of the staff was Anglo. We'd have our company picnics and the Anglos had hamburgers and hot dogs, and the Indian owners all ate veggie burgers.

That was a very interesting bank. A regular United Nations. We had Indians and Pakistani's. Chineses and Koreans. Catholics, Protestants, LDS's, Seventh Day Adventists, and atheists.

Gay and straight employees, and one of our biggest customers was a trans-sexual. I've got to share one of the guy/gals stories. Very interesting, to say the least.

liteluvr said...

Hey CI... good post.
I started canning meat this past summer, and have around 40 quarts of various types.
I buy chicken leg quarters cheap (~$.50/lb) and cook the meat off the bone, then cook the bones for more stock. Usually get several pints of meat and a few quarts of stock.
I Raw pack pork butt and beef roast all the time. Open it up and it's like slow cooked roast.
I also canned some DIY pot roast recently... 2 inches of cubed roast, 2 inches of cubed spuds, 1 inch of diced carrots, handful of celery and onions. Top with some 3x strong beef broth, and can.
Dump it into a pan with a cup or two of water or beef stock, heat it up, and if needed, thicken the juice. Makes AWESOME beef pot roast on the quick.

Chief Instructor said...

liteluvr, When you say you cook the chicken quarters "off the bone", how do you do that? Are you boiling the quarters, roasting them or something else?

I LOVE dark chicken meat, and would certainly add that to my preps.

I really like making meals in a jar like your pot roast. That's actually how I got started home canning. I'd read an article by Jackie Clay in Backwoods Home Magazine, and I've been hooked ever since!

Anonymous said...


After you can up your chicken stock, take some pliers and break up the bones to expose the marrow, add one TBSP white vinegar per quart of water and cook the bones to make bone stock. The vinegar draws out the minerals and the bone stock is VERY good for you when sick. Add it to your chicken soup!


Anonymous said...

forgot to add... can up the bone stock in pint jars.