Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Why would you can beef? Canned meat brings me back to my childhood in Minnesota where I ate lots of Spam. This is completely different and oh-so-fabulous.

What is canned ground beef?

This is ground beef, lightly sautéed, and canned in water. It is fully cooked and ready to use with any recipes. It is not a large, formed piece of meat (Spam), but ground and separated. Canned ground beef can be stored at room temperature in your pantry.

Why can ground beef?

  1. Tender and recipe-ready at a moment’s notice. No thawing or browning necessary.
  2. Great way to store beef if your garage freezer is busting at the seams with other meats and produce.
  3. Tender, cooked meat ready to go with tacos, enchiladas, beef pies, and spaghetti.
  4. Perfect if you are wary of power outages and losing hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of frozen meats.
  5. Use this recipe to can other meats such as venison, bear, pork, veal, etc.

Great! Can I use my waterbath canner or Instant Pot to can it?

Sorry, but no. You must use a pressure canner to can meat.  Meat is a low-acid food that must be processed at 240 degrees to kill toxin-producing spores.  You cannot waterbath can meat because this method will not get the water temperature hot enough.  I bought my Presto pressure canner at Amazon for under $100 and love it.

NOTE: This recipe is for the moderate to advanced canner. Please read your canner’s instructions before proceeding and note your location’s altitude as that can affect processing times.

Canned Ground Beef

6 lb of ground beef yields about 8 pint jars. (We canned 16 pounds of ground beef which yielded 8 quarts.)

Ground beef (the leaner the better)

Beef broth, water, or tomato juice

Table salt, if desired

Wash jars, lids, and screw bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Place rack in the pressure canner and place jars on the rack. Fill jars halfway with water and add 2 to 3 inches of water to the canner. Bring water to a simmer over medium heat and maintain heat until you are ready to use the jars.

On a side burner, simmer beef broth, water, or tomato juice. In another small saucepan, simmer canning lids.

Lightly sauté ground beef until rare (beef will finish cooking during the canning process). Saute in batches if necessary. Drain as much fat off of the meat as possible.

Loosely pack cooked meat into jars and fill jars with hot beef broth, water or tomato juice. Add a teaspoon of canning salt to jars if desired. Salt has nothing to do with preservation in pressure canning so feel free to leave out if desired.

Leave 1″ head space in jars. Poke a skewer in each jar and remove air pockets and readjust head space if necessary.

Wipe jar tops with a white vinegar-moistened towel to ensure tops are clear of food particles and grease. Assemble lids and rings. Fill pressure canner with jars according to manufacturer’s directions. Adjust water level in canner as directed by the canner’s manufacturer. Place lid on canner and lock into place. Leave weight off of vent pipe and get water to a boil. Wait until steam comes out of vent in a steady stream and vent steam from the canner for 10 minutes. Place weight on vent.

Pints 10 lbs pressure for 75 minutes. Quarts 10 lbs pressure for 90 minutes. If pressure falls below 10 lbs at any time, restart the clock to zero and start the minute countdown again.

When processing time is complete, turn off heat and let canner cool naturally. Do not remove the weight from the canner until cooled and pressure has returned to zero. When at zero, remove weight, unlock lid making sure steam escapes away from your face. Let jars sit in canner 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and place on a sheet pan lined with a towel to ensure jars do not break. Allow jars to sit and cool for at least 12 hours undisturbed before testing the lids.

Once jars are cooled and lids have been tested for a tight seal, remove metal rings and clean jars with Dawn dish detergent to remove any grease. (Any jars that did not seal can be either refrigerated and used within one week or reprocessed in the canner). Date cans and store for up to one year in a dark, cool pantry.