Canned Meat: Scary or Delicious?

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So I’ve always been a little bit afraid of canned meat. Afraid in that I wont even eat canned soups or stews that have it. It grossed me out. I gave Jodi a sarcastic two thumbs up when she said she was going to start canning meat and figured canned meat would just never be part of my storage plans.

Jodi has been canning ground beef lately and is thrilled at the possibilities it opens up in her storage. I know she’s right in that it’s better for certain scenarios and all, but still… I haven’t wanted her to tell me about it because why bother – if I’m not going to do it … right?

Well the other day I was at Costco and saw this:

In a temporary state of insanity, I thought, maybe – just maybe I could use some of the canned roast beef in a homemade beef stew, or a Quesidilla, or something else non threatening. So I bought some. Who doesn’t love delicious beef stew made from left over roast beef? My problem is I never, ever make roast beef dinners because my family is small and Grandma Lori does that often enough. This means I never have leftover roast beef to make stews with. I figured if I was considering storing some of this, I probably should TRY some of it first…. I finally experimented with the canned meat by making a stew, and was actually very pleased with the results. Wanna know how I made my little beef stew? You’ll be shocked at how I thickened it!


4 cups of potatoes cubed
2 cups of carrots
pack of onion soup mix
2 cans of roast beef
1 cup of water
Juices from 2 cans of roast beef
4 tablespoons of white bean flour (ground regular white beans in my Wondermill)


Cut up potatoes and carrots. Add the juice from ONE of the cans of meat, the onion soup mix, and 1 cup of water to pressure cooker (You can boil this on the stove, but you’ll probably need more water). The reason I do it in the pressure cooker is because it only takes 8 minutes to cook.

Once your potatoes and carrots are cooked save them in a separate bowl. Combine the juice from the other can of meat with 4 tablespoons of white bean flour (grind in your wheat grinder). You can probably also use white flour, or cornstarch, I just like how healthy the bean flour is. Make sure you mix it well. The picture here is showing it clumpy because I took the picture before I mixed it well.

The mixture will thicken as you bring it to a boil. If you’re finding it’s to thick, you can add water. If it’s not thick enough, you can add more bean flour (just make sure you mix the bean flour with a little bit of cold water first). Once it’s boiling, add the meat.

Once the meat is warm add back in the potatoes and carrots. I actually did this ALL in my pressure cooker and it took me about 25 minutes from start to finish. I added salt and pepper to taste, then bravely TRIED the canned meat. I was so excited it tasted so great.

So Jodi- NOW you can tell us how to can your own meat. I’ll listen now. Maybe you can do a post MONDAY about how you do it all 😉 hint hint

  • Judith Mimranek

    I have been canning for 30 years or more and the oven canning is not the same thing as canning for food preserving. Regular canning is done by waterbath for acid foods like tomatoes and fruits and jams and pickles, all other canning for meats and non acid vegetables is done in a pressure canner and no other way is safe. The oven canning is a way of doing up dry foods only such as flour and cerals and crackers and the like. Never wet food. Please do not ever mistake the one for the other.

  • Brian

    Is there anything special that needs to be done when canning pork?  Can I follow the same steps as for hamburger?


    • I’d look in your manual or in a canning guide. I dont’ know off the top of my head but I would assume it would be similar. Maybe just different length of processing time. Good luck!

    • Pork is canned the same as any other meat. If you’re doing raw pack, simply cut it into chunks, pack it in, add salt if you like, and process pints 1 hour 15 minutes at 10 PSI. It will form its own broth. If you’re using cooked meat, you’ll need to add liquid as it will not make its own.

      Hamburger is generally cooked first, and broth added for canning, but it’s the only meat that really needs to be. And seafood is canned for a longer time – 1 hour 40 minutes, I believe, for pints. Other than those two, meat is all canned the same.

      • Thanks for the details! I’ve only done chicken and beef so far 🙂

        • No problem. I’ve been canning meat for about two years now – I’ve done chicken & turkey (raw & cooked), stew beef, loose ground beef, meatballs (in broth & in tomato sauce), sausage links in broth, stew pork, pork hock meat in pork broth. I haven’t done goat or rabbit because they’re both so pricey, but they’d be the same. Buying bulk meat and canning it is probably the most money-saving habit I have developed.

  • Harmony

    I just read your comments on Food Storage Made Easy about canning hamburger. I cannot understand why you boiled your beef and then didn’t add the water you cooked it in, back to your jars after you packed them with meat. Instead you added even more water to the jars. Doesn’t this make your canned hamburger taste washed out? I would think that if you browned the hamburger first, packed it into jars and then added water to fill that it would make it taste better.

  • Silverfirestorm

    I’ve been using the Kirkland Turkey, Chichen and Roast Beef for the last year.  Whenever my store puts the Hamburger/Chicken/Tuna Helpers on sale I buy two of every box (I have a husband and 3 boys). One meal takes two boxes but I’ll use the RB if I didn’t have the time to brown the Ground Beef. I’ll use the Chicken or Turkey in the Tuna Helpers because the boys aren’t big into Tuna. I’ll also use the Evaporated Milk with the Helpers…tends to thicken better. Besides, using the canned meat and canned milk makes this meal a 100% food storage meal.
    I’ve used the canned meats in stews, tossed into a rice cooker with rice, frozen peas, corn, ect. broth and spices for a rice type meal! My picky boys LOVED that meal.
    Also, in soups made from canned broth, dehydrated veggies and spices.

    I’m trying to save up the money to can my own meat. I loved the idea of making my own speggeti sauce.

  • Donna in Jax

    If you can’t get fresh vegetables – because of whatever reason – couldn’t you also make this using shelf-stable canned potatoes and carrots?

    • Donna, I make my stew with home-canned potatoes, carrots, stewed beef, and usually a can of commercial-canned corn (only because I haven’t started canning that yet). It’s simply a matter of warming it all up, thickening the broth, and adding seasoning.

      My family loves our food storage stew.

  • Drmomski

    I went to my local Costco for their canned beef and was informed that it is not stocked on the east coast. They recommended that I write a request for it and place it in the suggestion box which every store has. If you live on the east coast, could you help me by filling in a suggestion form requesting Kirkland canned beef be stocked?

  • Umstetter

    Friends, do NOT confuse a sealed jar with a “canned” jar. ANY jar with a good lid on it will seal if the rim/lid are in good condition and the food inside is hot. THAT’S NOT “CANNING”. Canning is when you get the food contents hot enough to kill the bacteria AND seal the jar.

    Oven “canning” is playing Russian Roulette!

    Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The water will NEVER get hotter than that – UNLESS it’s under PRESSURE. Water= broth, tap water, well water, juice – anything that is wet. The bacteria that is responsible for Botulism will NOT be killed until the temperature reaches 249 or so. THAT is why ANY non-acidic foods – which is ANY food that is not a fruit, pickled or high sugared needs to be PRESSURE canned! Ovens will NEVER get food to the proper temperature no matter how long it’s in the oven, pot, etc.

    Thinking that keeping food in the oven for a longer time so it kills the bacteria is like thinking that; “well something needs to cook for 20 minutes at 325, so if I set the oven to 550 I can cook it in 10 minutes.” It just don’t work that way!

    Please understand that not all foods, all the time carry dangerous bacteria. Chicken doesn’t ALWAYS carry Salmonella, but do you really want to eat rare chicken and find out if that particular chicken DOES have it? Same deal with the canning.

    This goes for things like “cake in a jar” (baked in the jar, not mixes TO bake that are stored in a jar.) I know because I watched a friend of mine bake some. She gifted me with one. I was a little nervous as I watched her do it. She did not follow the instructions as she should have. I put the cake on a shelf and left it for a couple of months. I finally noticed a white netting running through it, so I opened it up. It was spoiled! But the lid on it was still SEALED – as in I had to pry the lid off of it.

    ALWAYS follow canning directions to the “T”! This is not bread baking where you can make changes and the worst thing that happens is the bread is under or over cooked or a brick. This is DANGEROUS territory.

    Having said that, no we do NOT need to be afraid to can. JUST FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE “T”. If it says to boil something for 10 mins, boil it for 10 mins. not 8 or 9. If it says to pressure can, pressure can. If it says can at a certain pressure, keep it at that pressure. And make sure you’ve looked at a altitude chart for where YOU live. It makes a difference.

    Darlene – who took the Master Home Preserver Course from the county extension agent and was part of the group that was given the task of answering people’s questions about all things canning, freezing, drying and preserving for the Home Ec. agent. (They are called something else now, but I can’t remember the title change.

  • Esther

    I canned chicken breast cut in cubes this last year and it is delicious in soups, chicken enchiladas and makes dinner prep soooo quick and easy! I would love to do beef & chicken with the bone. Anyone with a recipe?

  • Joan Schmidt

    I have used the ‘Yoder’ canned meat that I got from MRE Depot…it is very delicious!! I’ve tried the freeze dried roast beef, but didn’t like it nearly as wellllI haven’t tried the Costco roast beef, but will get some the next time I go there.

  • Jess

    I love the canned meats from costco….I use the chicken in all kinds of stuff (quesadillas, white bean chili, soups, pasta salad) and the canned beef makes a great BBQ sandwich (just shred the meat, add sauce, heat.) It’s a must in my food storage. 🙂

  • Regina

    1. Yes the meat makes it’s own broth. I would think you could cut down on the meat and allow for a small amount of added liquid.
    2. I have cut the salt in 1/2. I have never tried it w/o any salt.

    That said — make sure you do your research well. It would appear I am the only one that cans meat in the oven! I do have many friends and family that use this method also — although I agree that is anecdotal evidence at best.

  • That website is coming up as page not found. Is there a typo in it? I’d like to access the info.

  • Tamra

    I can elk all the time. The National Home Preservation website has all the info from the tested U of Georgia Extension recipes. I only can via approved recipes that have been quality tested under pressure. I also would not feel comfortable w/ the oven process as the pressure/temp combination isn’t likely to produce reliable results & that’s scary w/ a low pH food.

  • Sharron

    I love my canned meats and was so excited to see how much $$ it saved when i did them with sale meats. For ground meats, I have the meat cutters trim and grind the really cheap cuts and have almost instant meals from them. Was very nervous about not being able to replace my opened jars this last summer and now I am putting money away to do tons of it this summer!!

    I have worked in a church cannery doing every step of the process from beginning to quality control. I would never can meats in the oven. It is critical that the temperature stays up at the correctly for the proper time, with no dips during the process.

    I was trained at the Food Sciences Dept. at University of Arizona and was given some pretty tragic information of mistakes made in food processing.

    Regardless, ALWAYS check the seal on any food, commercial or home canned, BEFORE you open it!

  • Littledochy

    I use the canned chicken from Costco all the time. I use it in my hawaiian haystacks, in my enchiladas, quesadillas, almost anything that asks for cut up chicken. It’s so convenient. And it doesn’t taste bad!

  • Cobbsmom

    Canning meat is so easy – just trim off the fat, chunk the meat, toss into canning jar and pressure can for 75/90 minutes for pints/quarts. I use one quart to make a meal for 4 people. I make the beef stew, as well as casseroles, enchiladas (using mashed pinto beans instead of cream of chicken soup), salads (mostly chicken or turkey – drain and use a little relish and mayo). I can pork with half vinegar and half water – drained and with a little BBQ sauce you have a great BBQ sandwich. The texture of the home canned meat will be just like the commercially canned meat and is much cheaper.

    You can also cook the meat fully then pressure can. As long as you have enough moisture in the jar, the meat won’t dry out.

    Your recipe for beef stew can be canned, just leave out the bean flour. When you are ready to prepare, drain the juice from the jar into the saucepan, proceed as you instructed, then add the rest of the contents to reheat. Your meal will be ready in less than 10 minutes.

    A pint jar will hold a pound of meat so that gives you an idea of the number of jars you will get from each package. I buy chicken when on sale and in the large packages. Sames goes for beef – with only 2 in the family, I don’t buy the roast unless for a special occasion.

    • Cobbsmom

      I forgot to add – you can add water/broth/tomato sauce to the meat prior to canning or you can just fill the jar with meat and no liquid. I personally prefer canning meats will some liquid covering it. Uncovered processed meats tend to be a little dry but when you reheat they will rehydrate.

  • Lshellnu

    Being new to food storage, I have a question about the canning of meat. Once the jars are done and sealed, how long will they keep? And I am assuming no refrigeration needed until they are opened, right?

    • Cobbsmom

      The pressure canned meats will last on the shelf for several years. It is recommended that your canned foods be rotated every year. As you add new canned foods to the back of the older canned foods, this gets you in the habit of using the oldest items first.

      • Lshellnu

        Thanks! One of the first things I picked up was FIFO and I have gone through my supply and made sure the oldest items are in the front. Trying to get a cleaned out area in the basement to be better organized which will help a lot. My husband is the better cook but now that I am working on the food storage, we have both started discussing canning some foods. Saving meals with my Food Saver and freezing right now. Thanks again.

  • I canned meat for the first time yesterday. I was scared of canned meat, too, but I’m so glad I got over that. It’s such a convenience! You can read about my canning experience on my blog here:

    I have to disagree with the previous poster’s method of oven canning. I know people have used it for years, but the research from the USDA indicates it is not guaranteed to be safe. I would be scared of botulism if I used the oven to can meat or anything else low-acid. But, I also don’t can my own butter for that reason and I know lots of people do that, too.

  • Regina Hess

    I have been canning meat in the oven for the past 3 years. It is simple AND delicious! I can chicken tenders and whole bottom round roasts cut into small pieces. Pack meat tightly in jars. Do not add water. Add 1/2 t. salt/pint. Boil jar lid to soften rubber seal, and screw ring on tight. Set jars on cookie sheet or foil. Bake at 250 for 7 hours. DON”T OPEN OVEN! Turn oven off and leave jars in for 2 hours. Tighten jar rings when you take them out of the oven. Our family especially loves the beef. Tastes like tender roast beef, make a gravy and serve with potatoes! Mmmm!

    • J – newbie

      Regina, I have two questions if you come back to the discussion:

      1. Do you not add liquid because of the possibility of overflowing? If so, could the amount of meat be decreased slight to allow for liquid?
      I’m asking because wouldn’t it stay more moist if a bit of broth were added … and be immediately usable “as is” in a power outage type emergency?

      2. Is it absolutely necessary to add salt? For health reasons, we don’t usually use.

      Many thanks

      • Ronna

        Hi Regina, I pack my meat into jars raw. If you look in canning books they refer to this as “raw pace”. If I am canning chicken I add chicken broth or chicken boullion and leave 1 inch head space. For beef or pork, I boil trimmings and any bones and use this broth with the meats. It make the meat more flavorful. I don’t add salt until I am ready to prepare a meal with the canned meat.


    • Jtrsam

      you don’t pressure cook your meats?

    • lilredhenmom

      The information you have given is not safe…. Check out for current, approved safe canning practices!

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