Monday, October 22, 2012

Canning Bear Meat

Why can bear meat? 

1) To free up space in the freezer for other things.
2) Canned food doesn't spoil when the power goes out.
3) Canned meats don't need to be cooked before they can be eaten.
4) To learn how to do it in practice.

What did I can?
The shoulders, the neck, the rump, and the lower legs. All in all about 40 lbs of frozen packaged meat. That weight is raw, frozen, bone-in.

I did cut off the nice slices from the rump for frying up over the last couple days. So, that's about 4 to 6 lbs we ate before canning.

I chose these parts because, for example, the neck is kind of awkward to trim for anything other than a roast, and that's hard to trim after it is cooked. The shoulders have a lot of tendons in them, as do the legs and the high rump.


I did two batches in our 18x12x8 inch enameled roaster.

350F until the meat falls off the bone.

Then sterilize the jars and lids.

The meat gets pulled in chunks with a fork and knife and packed into the jars while still hot.

I put a bit of broth into each jar then topped with water until they were filled with 1 inch of head space. Wipe off the grease. I wanted as little grease as possible so that the seals would hold.

In my first batch there were 3 quarts of meat, in the second batch there were 6 quarts. I placed unpacked jars full of water in the spaces in the canner to keep jars from tipping over.

The canner needs to be above 10 lbs for 90 minutes to process quart jars. After the canner gets up to pressure, it really doesn't take much heat to do this. I kept the burner down to 2 or 3 for the whole time.

I left the fat and the trimmings in the roaster and let it warm up to 290F then strained the fat and put it into a couple pint jars. Below are what remains of the trimmings.

These I put into the crock pot with the bones to make broth.

So the results here are about 1.5 qt bear fat, about 1 qt concentrated broth, 9 qt canned bear meat, and a pile of soft bones good for cats, dogs, or garden.

Each quart of meat is 3 lbs + a few ounces, so that's 27 to 30-something pounds of meat in 9 jars.

Remove the rings, wash the greasy jars, wash the greasy canner, and get the jars stored.

Wow, it sure smelled great while roasting and in the crock pot.

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