Use a pressure-canner
Meat, poultry, and game are low acid foods and must be canned or processed in a pressure canner to assure it is safe to eat.
- 11 pounds pressure with a dial gauge pressure canner.
- 15 pounds pressure with a weighted gauge pressure canner for required times.
Handle quickly and cleanly
Choose only good meat for canning, and handle it quickly and with total cleanliness, because bacteria grow rapidly in meat held at room temperature. If you have a large amount, store the part you're not working on in the refrigerator.
Remember these important points when canning meats:
- Start with properly cleaned and chilled product.
- Can fresh meat and poultry within 2 days or freeze it.
- Fish should be canned immediately or frozen until processed.
- To can frozen products, thaw in the refrigerator until most ice crystals have disappeared, then handle as if they were fresh.
- Trim gristle and fat off meat before canning. Fat left on meat melts and climbs on the sides of the jar during processing and may interfere with the sealing of the lid.
- Salt is optional in canned meat and poultry.
- For large game animals (deer), follow beef processing times and methods.
- For small game animals and birds, follow poultry processing times and methods.
Hot-packing or raw-packing
Hot-packing or raw-packing of product in canning jars is an option in recommended recipes - with a preference towards hot packing of meat and poultry. Poultry can be canned with bone in or deboned.
Always follow tested methods
For canning meat products, always follow tested methods from the USDA or University of Minnesota Extension. Do not substitute, shortcut or guess. Botulism, which is the most severe form of food poisoning, is usually due to improper home canning.
Processing times and pressures vary for meat, fish, poultry, or wild game. Refer to our quick canning reference guide for processing times. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has additional information.
Minnesota consumers, contact the Extension AnswerLine (1-800-854-1678) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get answers to any food preservation questions.
Reviewed in 2021