Canning Venison

When Ians friend at work told us he had an extra deer, we said we’d love to take it off his hands. I know it’s perfectly fine to freeze deer meat, but the process of canning isn’t that much more work than freezing it. It takes a little longer, but if you’re going to be awake blogging anyway- may as well make it shelf stable and easy to turn into a heat and pour dinner.

This was two of the four sections of deer we got.

Once you’ve de-boned you deer parts, chunk them into quarter sized chunks or slightly bigger. Put them in a clean quart sized jar. I highly recommend using wide-mouth jars if you have them, they’re so much easier to get the meat out of.

Each jar has 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp of Beef flavored Better Than Bullion. We didn’t want them too salty, but if you prefer more salt, add 1/2 a teaspoon to each jar.

This is what they look like completely filled. You don’t need to add any liquid, the venison is very juicy and will make plenty on liquid of its own. Really, canning venison is very easy! It’s a simple project, after the project of processing.

Tips and tricks

  • If your deer has been iced in a cooler, the temperature of the meat may be cool when it gets into your jars. Cool meat going into hot water in the canner isn’t going to hurt you, but it may lead to more liquid loss. So, we don’t even turn on the canner to start warming until a few minutes before the venison is done being processed. That way the jars heat up as the canner is reaching temperature so there is minimal liquid loss.
  • Venison can actually be easier to process when it’s colder, because the outer layers of silver skin and fat come off in sheets much easier than when the meat is warm.
  • Start off with less salt (1/4 tsp) then increase it if you like it more salty. It’s better to have meat that you like rather than over salted meat you have to fix.
  • The Better Than Bullion isn’t a necessary step, but it gives the meat an amazing flavor that will work with pretty much any other recipe want to add it to.
  • Just to give you an idea, the two deer we got this year gave us 20 quart jars of chunked meat, and took up one jar of Better Than Bullion.

Price breakdown

  • Jars (if we had bought them new at an average price): $1.16 ea
  • Just canning lids (which we would have to buy even if we had jars already): $0.19 ea
  • Better Than Bullion – Beef Flavor
  • Salt: $1.00 (I just rounded this up to $1.00 to account for some of the cost. The salt is so negligible, I almost didn’t include it but my rule is to always estimate costs high.)

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