Canning Venison

Venison is an excellent complement to your family’s diet and is very easily canned, provided you follow strict guidelines. First, make sure the venison has been dressed properly.

The deer carcass should be refrigerated within four hours after killing, if the outdoor temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Venison can also be aged to help remove the gamey taste. This process takes 7-9 days in a maintained temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Aging also helps tenderize the meat.

The Canning Process

Important note: When canning any meat you must always use a pressure cooker. Never use a hot bath method because your meat could spoil.

• Ground Venison or Meatballs: Venison is a very lean meat so it is necessary to grind the fresh venison with pork fat. Add one pound of fat to every four pounds of venison. When adding spices to your ground mix, it is best to use only cayenne pepper and salt. Try a teaspoon of salt and ½-teaspoon cayenne pepper for every four pounds of ground mix. Other spices can change the acidic level and can spoil your canned meat. Sage is an overpowering spice. Using it in your recipe will leave a bitter taste. For best results, stick to salt and cayenne pepper. Follow the process outlined below.

1. Prepare your jars, lids, and covers by thoroughly cleaning them. Once cleaned place them in a large pan, cover them with water and bring to a boil. Keep them in this boiling water until you need them.
2. Form the ground meat into meatballs or simply leave loose. Cook until browned and drain the excess fat.
3. Fill your hot jars with the meat mix or meatballs and cover with boiling tomato juice. Be sure to leave an inch of headspace. Apply lids and rings, wipe rims, and place in pressure cooker.
4. Follow your pressure cooker directions. If you do not have them, the following is a guide you can use:

At sea level, quart jars should be processed for 90 minutes at ten pounds of pressure. Altitudes of 1,000 feet or higher, pressure should be changed to 15 pounds.

• Chunks or Strips of Venison: Venison can be very strong and gamey. The best way to combat this is to soak the chunks of venison in a salt-water mixture. Use a teaspoon of salt for every quart of water used. Let the meat soak in this salt-water mixture for an hour. When venison is ready, follow the process outlined below.

1. Prepare your jars, lids, and covers by thoroughly cleaning them. Once cleaned place them in a large pan, cover them with water and bring to a boil. Keep them in this boiling water until you need them.
2. Drain the venison salt-water bath, rinse the meat, and precook it. When meat is browned, drain any excess fat.
3. Add a teaspoon of salt to each quart jar and fill them with hot venison. Fill jars with boiling tomato juice making sure there is an inch of headspace. Apply lids and rings, wipe rims, and place in pressure cooker.
4. Follow your pressure cooker directions. If you do not have them, the following is a guide you can use:

At sea level to 2,000 feet, quart jars should be processed for 90 minutes at eleven pounds of pressure. Altitudes of 2,001 to 4,000 feet, pressure should be changed to 12 pounds. From 4,001 to 6,000 feet, change pressure to 13 pounds and altitudes above 6,000 feet, change pressure to 14 pounds.

Canned venison will keep for two years, but it is so delicious that it will probably be eaten well before that time.