Imagine having tender and flavorful beef ready to serve in an instant, without the hassle of defrosting or worrying about spoilage during a power outage. Canning beef offers a simple and effective way to preserve meat while creating delicious, shelf-stable meals. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various methods of canning beef, including cubes, ground crumbles, formed hamburgers, and meat stock.
When it comes to stocking up on beef, buying in bulk is a cost-effective option. Purchasing a half cow share provides an abundance of meat but can strain freezer space. Canning beef not only saves precious freezer real estate but also ensures that you have ready-to-eat meals on hand for busy weeknights or emergency situations. It’s a win-win!
Canning beef involves pressure cooking the meat in jars, resulting in tender and flavorful meat that’s already cooked and waiting to be enjoyed. The process is similar to canning other types of meat like pork, lamb, venison, moose, or even bear. So, let’s dive into the different methods of canning beef.
Canning Beef Chunks
Chunks of beef, whether strips, cubes, or small steaks or roasts, are the traditional choice for canning beef. You have two options: raw pack or hot pack.
Raw pack involves simply packing the chunks of meat into jars without adding any liquid. The meat releases its own juices during the cooking process. However, modern lean beef cuts may not release as much liquid as older beef cuts, resulting in a “boiled” consistency. To raw pack, chop the meat as desired and pack it into jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace.
For a better-quality result, consider hot pack. In this method, brown the beef chunks before loading them into jars. Browning helps retain the shape and adds flavor and texture to the canned beef. Simply brown the meat on all sides in a hot skillet without fully cooking it through. Fill the jars with the browned beef chunks and top them with boiling liquid (such as water, broth, or tomato juice), leaving a 1-inch headspace.
Regardless of whether you choose raw pack or hot pack, the pressure canning instructions remain mostly the same. Preheat the pressure canner while warming the water in the bottom of the canner to the appropriate temperature. Then load the canner, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and process the jars for the recommended time.
Canning Ground Beef
Canning ground beef crumbles or whole hamburgers follows a similar process to canning beef chunks.
Ground Beef Crumbles
Begin by browning the ground beef crumbles in a skillet. Drain any excess fat and pack the cooked crumbles into jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace. You can season the meat with salt, pepper, and spices of your choice before canning. However, certain spices may not can well or become overpowering after pressure canning. It is safer to season the meat at serving time.
Canning Hamburger Patties
Surprisingly, you can even can whole hamburger patties. Season the meat before forming the patties, ensuring not to include any binders like egg, breadcrumbs, or starch. Shape the patties tightly and brown them on both sides in a skillet. Then pack the burgers into jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace.
Load the jars into a preheated pressure canner and process them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The cooking times for ground beef and hamburger patties are the same as for beef chunks.
Canning Beef Broth
To enhance the flavor of canned beef and prevent the meat’s flavors from seeping into the liquid, it’s recommended to can beef broth instead of water. Making your own beef broth adds an extra step in the canning process but is worth the effort. Simmer roasted beef bones and meat scraps in a stockpot for several hours, then strain the broth.
Once you have the beef broth ready, reheat it to boiling and fill canning jars with the hot broth, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Process the jars in a pressure canner according to the recommended times and pressures for beef broth.
Canning beef opens up a world of possibilities for creating convenient, shelf-stable meals. Whether you choose to can beef chunks, ground beef crumbles, or even whole hamburger patties, the process is simple and rewarding. By following safe canning practices and adjusting processing times according to your altitude, you can enjoy homemade beef dishes all year round.
Remember, for more inspiration, you can try canning beef chili, beef stew, or even mincemeat pie filling. The options are endless.
To get started on your beef canning journey, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ for more information and helpful resources.