Bottled meat is one of my favorite ways to preserve game meat. You can also bottle non-game meats like beef, pork, chicken, and even fish. It takes a long time to make it (mostly processing time in the canner), but when you need to use it, it is already cooked and ready to throw in your casserole, soup, sandwich, etc. Bottled meat is shelf stable and has a shelf life of 5-7 years (totally based on my own experience, not out of a canning guide, so your mileage may vary).
Step 1: Cut your meat up in cubes about 1-1 1/2 inches across. If the pieces are too small they kind of disintegrate and turn to little meat particles in the bottle. Too large and I don’t know what would happen, but they wouldn’t be as easy to eat when they come out of the bottle. There is a lot of give here–the chunks don’t have to be cubes, they don’t have to be 1 1/2 inches, pretty much any piece you want will do fine.
Cut off as much fat and tendon as you desire. The pieces do NOT have to be cleared of all fat, tendon, hard outer meat, etc. All that will soften up in the processing. Get the big chunks of tendon/fat out, but don’t go crazy.
Step 2: Put about 1 1/2-2 inches of water in the bottom of your PRESSURE canner with the rack in and turn the burner on med/high to heat it up. You cannot use a water bath canner, meat needs to be pressure canned.
Also put some water on to boil in another pot. AND put your jar lids in a little pot of water and heat them up (no picture, but this is important–if you don’t heat your lids you’ll get a lot of bottles that lose liquid in the processing and subsequently won’t be able to store as long).
Step 3: Put the meat in clean pint jars. Fill them about to the neck. Half pints or quarts would probably work also, I’ve just never used them. You get about a pound of meat in a pint, so a pint o’ meat is about the right size for most things I use it for.
Step 4: Put 1/2 teaspoon canning salt in each pint.
Step 5: Pour boiling water in the jars over the meat and salt and free the air bubbles with your bubble freer (or butter knife). Slide the knife down the edges of the jar in at least 4 locations and use it to push the meat a little–don’t skip this step, lots of air gets trapped in these jars. Repeat until the water is to the neck of the jar.
Step 6: Screw the lids and rings on the jars and put them in the canner. Put the lid on the canner and the rocker on the steam pipe and heat to pressure. Process for 55 minutes (yep, that’s about an hour) AT 12 lbs pressure. Now, AT pressure just means it needs to be at least 12 lbs pressure for at least 55 minutes. A little fluctuation in the pressure is okay, but if your rocker is going crazy you need to get it cooled down as quick as you can. Don’t plan on going anywhere during processing–you’ll need to be nearby to turn the heat up and/or down to regulate the pressure.
You might notice a couple of my lids are already marked–they are lids I used on freezer jam so they were never sealed and can be used again to seal a jar of something else (meat in this case). Once a lid has sealed, it can’t be used again to seal another jar.
After the 55 minutes of pressure cooking, turn the heat off and let the canner cool down. When it’s safe to open you can open it and take the jars out to cool. If you do your meat right before bed, you can go to bed as soon as the 55 minutes are done and the heat is off and just open it and get your jars out in the morning . . .
(We have serious hard water here, so my jars always look like they’ve got some film on them after bottling meat–you can remedy this by adding a bit of vinegar to the water in your canner before processing.)
You now have shelf stable meat that is quick and delicious to use–recipes another time . . .