Canning Meat: Part 3 of 4 – Beef
By servantheart, Editor At Large
If you have not read the earlier posts at SCP on canning, you may want to do so before continuing:
Roast Beef, Sirloin Tip, Chuck Roast; Ground Beef
There’s just not much better than popping open a jar of sliced, seasoned sirloin tip and turning it into a quick Po’Boy, or Manhattan, or whatever you like…and chuck roast, ground beef, or roast beef have so many uses, where to start?!
I use a dial gauge pressure canner. The other type is a weighted gauge.
Do have extra beef broth standing by, in case you don’t make enough for all jars in the cooking process.
For sirloin tip roast, I simply roast it as always, so it is “ready to eat”. I prefer to slow roast, and very often use my big Nesco roaster, as it uses a lot less energy and doesn’t heat up the kitchen as much as my big oven. Once it is roasted to suit me, I simply slice it, pack it to 1and 1/2 (1 1/2) inches headspace, add liquid/gravy to cover, leaving one inch headspace, clean jar lips thoroughly, cap and process. I use the liquid created in cooking, which I filter, then add my favorite ready-to-use gravy mix and water. You don’t even need to cook the gravy mix addition – just add it to jars; it will cook and thicken during processing, after which it’s just “heat and eat”!! I usually buy a 10-12 roast, serve a meal with it, and can the leftovers; I usually get about 5 quarts leftover.
Watch for MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) in these mixes and broths folks – they’ve love to put ‘em there! I use only brands that do not add MSG.
Ground Beef: allow about 2 pounds raw ground beef per quart; 1 pound per pint (m/l). I always pre-cook ground beef; if you tried to pack this raw and then process it, you would have one big clump and would have trouble getting it out of the jar, I do believe. So, brown your ground chuck in a skillet and drain fat off. Some people can ground beef with no liquid; I prefer to pack mine in beef broth; this broth can be used later as a gravy base or saved for another project, or just cooked down, as in taco meat. I personally do not like dry meat, so, I use the wet-pack method. Process like any other beef.
Chuck roast: allow about 2.5 pounds raw chuck per quart, about half that per pint. I like to cut it up into bite-size pieces, cover with water, bring to boil. Cook JUST until it is just browned throughout – no pink left in the meat. It will finish cooking during processing.
While you’re prepping meat, put jars in dishwasher (if you have one) and wash; keep in dishwasher to keep hot. Or, wash by hand in hot, soapy water, rinse in hot water, and keep on cookie trays in 250 deg. F (121 deg. C) oven to keep jars hot and clean until ready to pack.
Skim that gunky mess of the top – DO NOT can without removing this first. This stuff will get in between the rim and the cap and prevent seal on many of your jars – trust me when I tell you this. Strain broth before packing. Besides, you’ll never win a blue ribbon at the fair with that mess in your jars! ; )
After straining the liquid – assuming you have not yet seasoned it (which you could, if you want), season to taste (or, add seasonings to jars, if you prefer) and pack your meats. Meat packs to within 1 and 1/2 (1 1/2) inches of jar top (headspace); now add your strained liquids that you made when boiling to cover meat by one-half (1/2) inch, which should give you the prerequisite one inch (1 inch) headspace.
Clean your jars twice: once with a piece of clean paper towel dipped in hot water; and the second time with a piece of clean paper towel with white vinegar. If there is any fat residue on the lid, the white vinegar will get it.
Place your boiled caps and boiled rings (30 second boil is sufficient) on jars – remember: this boil is not to sterilize – that will happen in the pressure canner – this boil is to make sure your caps and rings are clean and have no residue that might prevent a seal; place your jars (which are hot) down in water of pressure canner that should also be about the same temperature hot (remember what I taught you about thermal shock breakage? There cannot be a great difference between temp of jars and temp of water you set them down in).
Put lid on canner; on medium heat, cook until the steam spews out of vent pipe; as soon as it starts to spew out at a noticeable rate, time for ten (10) minutes; this is the important “10 minute tornado”. This will remove excess air from pressure canner, allowing it to reach and maintain proper internal temp for safe food canning. FAILURE TO TAKE THIS STEP CAN LEAD TO IMPROPERLY CANNED FOOD. If you are using a weighted gauge (such as a Mirro with only 5/10/15 lb. increments), this is not necessary, as it will vent out while cooking. It is ALWAYS necessary with a dial gauge, no matter what you are canning.
After 10 minutes, place your weight on vent pipe. Bring to temp over medium to medium-high heat (I don’t know your stove or how hot it cooks) and hold it there; start timing as soon as it reaches proper pressure. If at any time it drops below the required pressure, bring it back by turning up heat just slightly, and start timing again. Just watch it so it doesn’t have opportunity to drop below temp for very long. You don’t want food cooked to mush. If you get too much pressure, GENTLY release a little using the weight (move it slightly to release pressure) until it reads correctly. Do not get in a hurry in releasing pressure – this can result in extreme temp fluctuations, which forces liquids out of jars.
Process like any other meat: pints 75 minutes if 1000 ft. altitude or below @ 10 lbs. pressure; 12 lbs. if over 1000 and less than 2000; over 2000, 14 lbs. pressure for 75 minutes. Quarts: 90 minutes using same pressure guidelines.
Allow canner to cool on its own. Remove lid. Wait 5 minutes. Transfer jars to cooling racks on towels (to catch mess). When completely cool (at least 2 hours) test lids: remember – tap metal lids around outside edges – NOT in centers as many web sites tell you. Remember why? I mentioned that in earlier teachings.
If some did not seal, refrigerate and use within a few days (7-10). Or, reprocess them, cleaning jar lids thoroughly and a NEW metal cap. Never reuse a metal cap, other than for storing dry goods.
Wash your jars; allow to dry. Mark lids with contents and date and store away!
Give yourself another “Well done!”. You’ve earned it!