Saturday, July 14, 2012

Canning Pork 7-8-12

Last weekend I did another canning experiment, canning 3 lbs of pork shoulder to be used later for sausage making. Pork is something I haven’t tried yet and just want to see if there will be a noticeable taste and texture difference using home canned pork vs frozen storage.

I want to test the canned meat for taste when making sausage so I’m using small ½ pint jars to make small batches of sausage from. This will allow spice adjustments using small amounts of meat until I get the familiar taste I’m looking for. Another reason is I cook for just two people, so a ½ pint jar of meat provides just the right amount for two meals with no waste. This is important if you lack refrigeration. Either you eat all of it at one meal sitting or it will spoil.

The finished yield per ½ pint jar is 7 ounces of meat, almost a ½ pound! You may think that’s not enough for one person! However, it will make two almost ¼ lb sausage burgers. That’s almost a ¼ pound hamburger and we all would agree we eat too much food today and eating wisely in proper amounts is the only way to maintain a suitable weight or get to a suitable weight. If you made a sausage burger then add veggies and potatoes you have a filling meal.

Processing Method; Raw Pack
The Ball Blue Book and The All-American Canner book says to cut the meat into strips the length less headspace of the jar size being used, However, Presto and a number of University’s say you can cut it into chunks. The chunk style works well for me.

Sterilize the jars.
Simmer the lids.
Raw pack the meat chunks 1 inch from the top while gently pushing out air pockets between the chunks.
Add ¼ teaspoon of canning salt to each ½ pint jar.
Add no liquids to the raw pack jars.
Process 75 minutes @ 10psi (I live at sea level, also ½ pints use the same processing time as pints)
Add 2 inches of water in the canner for processing.

How long did it take to can this small amount?
The time needed from cutting up the meat, sterilizing, processing, cleaning up and putting everything away was 3 hours. This is certainly no record but for those who have never canned, it will give you an idea of the time involved for the canning process.

The bulk pork before cutting up.

Pork cut up into chunks.

Jars in the canner.

The pressures on!

Hot out of the canner.

Still bubbling inside! All to do now is let the jars cool, remove the rings and into the pantry.

A very pleasant surprise a week after canning when I tasted the pork!
The 75-minute canning process does not cook the meat all the way through; it was still pinkish inside the chunks. So I fried up a jar of pork in just a couple tablespoons of oil and a bit of salt. To my surprise, it was very tender and fell apart with the touch of a fork. In other words, the texture was Pulled Pork not tough or chewy at all!!! All you’d need to do is add some BBQ Sauce and a bun and you’d have a great pulled pork sandwich, yuuummmy!

The taste was exactly the same as when I’d use a slow cooking crock pot. Highly recommend you give canning cheap pork cuts a try. Next week I will grind it up and make sausage from to see how that turns out. I expect it to be as good as or better than using raw meat for the sausage making because of the slow cooking canning provides.


  1. I've been meaning to start stocking up and canning meats because it is such a convenience! I LOVE having canned chicken ready for putting on top of salads or for quick chicken 'n dumplings or chicken salad. I'm looking forward to your next pork post because we LOVE sausage!

  2. Do the same thing with chicken and burger Mike. I've done both and it works great.


  3. actuallly, the slight pinkish tinge to your canned meat does not mean that it is not cooked. and your meat is safe to eat without having to cook further..this is what i like best about canning anything-in an emergency, the food, be in veggie or meat or fruit is safe and you can eat it right out of the jar if you need to. but, it is also a very convenient way to throw a meal together at anytime with things that are already prepared-a great time saver and energy saver too.

  4. I haven't tried canning yet because I plan on having multiple ways of producing my own electricity. Since I believe in backups to my backups, I think I'll try my hand at it.

    Maybe canning rabbit meat is in my near future too.

    Thanks for the idea.


  5. Your pork was definitely cooked after 75 minutes. Here is an article by the National Pork Board regarding color of pork:

  6. Carolyn,
    It certainly is a convenience when compared to frozen meats, no thaw time involved with the canned meats so that makes for a fast meal prep. Hopefully next weekend I make some sausage and post the results and if it’s good I’ll post the recipe.

    I have yet to try ground beef but it is on the list of must do!

    Anon 3:36,
    I guess because I’m old and growing up with “you never eat pork that’s not cooked to death” is hard to step away from. You’re right about the convenience in an emergency, if your generator finally uses all the stored gas and the frig becomes worthless, canned food is a lifesaver.

  7. Anon 7:57,
    Canning is an important survival skill to know because the day may come when the amount of food you have simply won’t fit in the freezer and fuels, unless it’s solar, may become too costly or scarce to run generators on an ongoing basis.

    My parents raised rabbit for food and I have had a lot of canned rabbit growing up, so I think I’ll do chicken instead :-)

    Anon 5:57 (R),
    Thank you for the pork link. Great piece of information! Now I have to get past what my parents beat into me while growing up… :-)

  8. Mike,
    I haven't canned up raw pork yet but will be doing some in the near future after I can get down to the cash n carry and get a really good bargain. I have canned up sausage patties. I just make my sausage like usual (no sage, they say it gets bitter) and make patties the size of the canning lids, lightly brown them, stack them in jars, pour a little of the drippings over them and process them. They are very good when you brown them up in the pan. BTW, your meat was cooked even if it looked a little pinkish. No worries about having to cook it some more. Let us know how making already canned pork makes sausage.

  9. I have to get over what my parents taught us about cooking pork too many years back, "cook it to death"! But back them it was an issue.

    I'm hoping to do the sausage attempt this coming weekend however yesterday I signed up for a course on 'how to defend your home'. This may take up too much time out of the weekend to let me make the sausage.

  10. Mike,
    I forgot to ask you which cut of pork you used.

  11. The cheapest cut, Pork Shoulder!

  12. It isn't easy to unlearn a habit, is it? I still cook pork the way I learned from my mother who learned from hers...

    Canning meat is on my list. So glad you shared your success as it will spur the rest of us on to go for it! Thanks. ~Lisa

  13. That was a good experiment and I never thought of using the small jars but you are right, they are a good size as we don't eat a lot of meat at once anyway. It would be perfect for a power outage.

  14. I am officially hungry !

    I can my own version of deep pit pork (crock pot) and when it comes time to eat it, I drain it, heat it and add some BBQ sauce for some killed pulled pork sandwiches. It's as close to fresh as I can get it, and who will care when everyone else is eating rice and beans !!!


  15. Hi Kris,
    Yup, that’s what I plan to do! I am still amazed at how tender the cheap shoulder cut turned out. Pulled pork right out of a jar. Doesn’t get much better than this.

  16. I should also mention that you can skip the "simmering lids" step when using the pressure canner. That's the official food police stance as well !!!


  17. Hi Kris,
    I have thought about this subject many times. While it appears to be perfectly logical to think so, I tend to go with the proven authorities like Ball and AG Universities. After all this is the food we may very well need to live on in the future and until I personally have tested the results I’ll stay with the know methods.

    Thanks for the comment; I’ll keep it in mind for future experiments!
    Enjoy your motor home and be safe!


  18. You can save a step - when pressure canning or water bath canning for more than 10 minutes, you don't have to sterilize the jars. Just keep them warm in hot water. That's to avoid breakage when you put hot food in the jars. Also, you don't have to add salt if you don't want to. It's only for taste.

    And what the other person said about lids - just hot water is all that is needed. I have an electric Little Dipper Crock Pot (it came with my full-size crock pot) & it's perfect for keeping the lids hot without boiling, as well as frees up space on my stove.

    Mike - I also raw pack beef & pork. The only reason I don't raw pack rabbit is because I'm not very good (yet) at boning raw rabbit.

    One of the ground beef recipes in the Ball Blue Book is a family favorite - Seasoned Ground Beef. Sometime we eat it "as is," other times we add cooked rice or macaroni & leftover vegetables.
    Pint jars are great for canning for just 1 or 2 people. I rarely can in quart jars any more.

    God bless,
    Master Food Preserver (WSU)

  19. Bonnie,
    Thanks for your qualified comments.

    Sterilization; I have often wondered about skipping the sterilization step due to the high sterilization temperatures inside the canner. It just makes common sense.

    Salt; is a spice and used properly will improve taste, but you are correct it is not necessary and especially for those who need to reduce their salt intake.

    Lids; just keeping them in hot water (like many times I am) will keep the seal material soft for proper sealing. I’ll have to look for a Little Dipper.

    Raw pack; glad to hear you also raw pack. It seems many people pre-process raw meat in some way such as frying or baking. I think it is a big time saver to raw pack especially if you have a lot of meat to do.

    Rabbit; we grew up raising rabbits for food and I don’t recall Mom canning any. They just went from the cages to the table. By the way it was good eating!

    Ground Beef; that’s something I have yet to try. I’m a little concerned about getting all the air bubbles that may be trapped inside. Any suggestions to make sure they’re all out? Thanks for the heads up about the Ball recipe.

    Jar size; like yourself, I find that canning takes some advanced meal planning for it to work effectively. I feel that most major events will leave us without electricity and therefore no refrigeration for meal leftovers, so selecting canning jar sizes that the contents are used entirely for one meal otherwise the leftover food will be wasted.

    Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.
    Stop by anytime!


  20. All ground meat is hot packed, so it's like anything else you would can with liquid. Just run a bubble freer, rubber spatula, or a chopstick around the edges.

    Your mom probably butchered the rabbits as needed. I butcher the litter in 1 day & can or freeze. We do eat the liver & kidneys pretty promptly - they don't freeze well.

    Keeping one's food supply on the hoof, paw or claw was the norm in the past. Fresh meat was safer to eat than meat that has been sitting around for a while.

    God bless,
    Master Food Preserver (WSU)