If you’re a fan of corned beef, you know that prices have been steadily increasing. However, there’s still hope for getting this delicious meat at a great price, especially around St. Patrick’s Day. Recently, we stumbled upon a surprising deal at our local grocery store. As we perused the meat section, we discovered a surplus of corned beef roasts, all heavily discounted. Unable to resist the temptation, we ended up walking out with over 15 pounds of corned beef. Out of the five roasts, we savored one in a slow-cooked dish, froze another, and decided to can the remaining three. By canning our corned beef, we not only extended its shelf life but also eliminated the need for refrigeration or freezing. Additionally, the canning process infused the meat with its own flavorful juices and broth. Best of all, with just a jar of canned corned beef, you can easily create an instant and scrumptious meal. Let’s dive into the process!
Preparation: A Necessity for Success
Before embarking on this culinary adventure, gather your supplies: pint-sized canning jars and a pressure canner along with your trusted canning tools. Remember, when it comes to low-acidic ingredients like meat and vegetables, pressure canning is the way to go. Each pint-sized jar can hold around one pound of meat. Since our three roasts totaled approximately 10.17 pounds, we prepared ten clean jars, fitting each pound of meat precisely into a separate jar. For any extra bits weighing less than a pound, we found a suitable home in whichever jar could accommodate them. Following this guideline ensures an efficient and organized canning process.
Meat Preparation: Unleashing the Flavor
First, remove the corned beef roast from its packaging while keeping the brine intact by cutting open one end of the plastic wrap. We recommend skipping the rinsing process and leaving some of the brine on the meat for maximum flavor. However, do rinse the seasoning packet to remove any external debris. Set the clean packet aside, as we will use it later.
Now it’s time to prepare the meat itself. Cut the roast, including the fat and silver skin layer, into bite-sized chunks measuring approximately 3/4″ to 1″ each. Place the meat in a large bowl, but don’t add it to the jars just yet.
Enhancing the Flavor: The Power of the Seasoning Packets
Once all the meat is in the bowl, unveil the first flavor packet and sprinkle it evenly over the meat. Using your hands, thoroughly mix the flavor packet into the meat. Once incorporated, repeat this process for the remaining flavor packets, adjusting the number based on the quantity of roasts you’ve cut up.
Packing the Jars: An Artful Arrangement
Now it’s time to pack the seasoned meat into clean and sterilized pint-sized jars. The jars don’t need to be hot, just clean. Using a canning funnel, gently fill the jars with the seasoned meat chunks, leaving approximately 1″ of headspace (up to the neck of the jar). If you desire, you can sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt on top of each jar, although it’s not necessary.
After filling the jars, wipe the rims with a paper towel soaked in hot water, ensuring a clean seal. Apply the hot lids and rings, tightening the rings only until they are hand-tightened. Avoid excessive tightening, as this could hinder the vacuum process during pressure canning, leading to potential issues such as siphoning or bubbled lids.
Processing the Jars: The Journey to Perfection
If you have a 23-qt pressure canner like ours, which can accommodate 16 pint-sized jars, arrange eight jars on the bottom rack. Then, stack another rack on top and add the remaining two jars. Remember, it’s crucial to keep the lids of the jars above the water level during the canning process. If you notice the water covers the lids, simply remove some water until the tops are no longer submerged.
Once all the jars are in the canner, lock the lid and set the heat on high. As the water boils and steam escapes through the vent, set a timer for 10 minutes. This initial venting phase allows all the air to escape from the canning chamber, ensuring a successful canning process.
After 10 minutes, attach the jiggler and bring the canner up to pressure. For those at sea level, maintain a pressure of 10 pounds. However, consult the pressure canning chart (available at https://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/preserving-canning/altitude-adjustments/) to determine the appropriate pressure if you reside at a higher elevation.
Once the jiggler starts shaking or the pressure gauge reaches the desired level, reduce the heat to a point where the pressure remains constant, causing the jiggler to move every few seconds. As soon as you achieve this consistency, set the timer for a total of 75 minutes and allow the pressure canner to work its magic.
After the 75-minute processing time elapses, turn off the heat completely, letting the pressure canner sit undisturbed. Do not remove the jiggler yet! Wait for the pressure to return to normal (0) before safely removing the lid of the canner and carefully transferring the jars to a towel to cool.
Once cooled, check the lids for a secure seal by holding the jar solely by the lid. If the lid remains intact, you can confidently store the jar. However, if the lid pops off, refrigerate the jar and consume its contents promptly.
You’ll notice that each jar contains a generous amount of flavorful broth and a cap of savory fat on top. This outcome is completely normal! In some instances, siphoning may occur during the canning process, leaving the jars slightly greasy on the outside. If this happens, wash the jars with warm soap and water before labeling them. Don’t worry; it’s just a minor inconvenience. Afterward, store the jars in your pantry and delight in the convenience of having ready-to-use corned beef at your fingertips.
By pressure canning your corned beef, you have extended its shelf life and created a delectable and fuss-free ingredient for countless recipes. So why not embark on this preservation journey and relish the flavors of perfectly canned corned beef whenever you want?
For more information about this process and other mouthwatering recipes, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.