Canning Pork is a very easy process even though it may seem intimidating. All meats are safely canned only in a pressure canner. Pork is handled like any red meat and has the same canning directions as beef.
This will work with any cut of pork. This day I actually used boneless pork chops just because I found a sale and it was as cheap as any other cut. Bad meat does not make good canned goods though. Be sure what you use is fresh and healthy.
The equipment you’ll need are all standard canning supplies.
- pressure canner, jars, seals, and rings.
- jar lifter and canning funnel, a lid lifter is also helpful
- Pork and canning salt.
I want to say something about the jars here. I highly recommend using wide mouth jars when you are canning any meat. You don’t have to. It is not a safety issue. But when it comes to cleaning out those jars…. you will be glad you did. Meat seems to leave a residue on your jars that simply doesn’t come out easily unless you wash by hand. It is easier to get into those widemouth jars.
Preparing your meat.
Pork can be either hot or raw packed. Both styles of packing your jars must be processed in a pressure canner. Just because the meat is cooked first does not make it safe to lessen the processing time.
Pork can be a fatty meat and that may sometimes interfere with the seals of your jars. Be sure and remove any excess fat. A small amount is fine but you don’t want large amounts.
After you have removed excess fat, cut your meat into cubes. These cubes should be around 2 inches or so. No need to measure, just chunk it up. Now you are ready to fill your jars.
For Raw Pack –
If you want to Raw pack you’ll just pack those raw pieces directly into jars leaving a one inch headspace. You’ll need to remove any air spaces between the meat pieces. You won’t be able to get it all out but get any large air bubbles removed. I use the end of an orange peeler for this step. There are also tools you can buy for this, but honestly you just need something slender and plastic. Do not add liquid. The meat will process in it’s own juices.
For a Hot Pack –
A hot pack simply means you will cook your pork before you pack it in jars. This is just personal preference. With a hot pack you can fit more meat in the jars and you will add liquid so it looks prettier on your shelf… if you can ever call canned meat pretty.
Fry in a heavy pan until just lightly browned. You can cook it more but the meat will be fully cooked in the pressure canner so rare is fine.
Then add your cooked meat to the jars. You will need to add liquid when you hot pack your jars. This can be simple like just add water, or you can use a tomato base or bouillon. Whatever liquid you do add be sure it is hot when you add it to your jar. Leave a one inch headspace.
After jars are filled –
Add canning salt if desired. Use 1 tsp per quart. 1/2 tsp per pint. Before placing lids on your jars you need to use a damp paper towel and wipe around each jar rim.
If the rims are greasy at all the lids won’t seal correctly. Place the warmed lids and screw bands on finger tight. (I simply warm my canning lids in a pan of hot water on the stove. They do not need to boil, just warm them up)
When the jars are filled and ready.
Place them in your preheated pressure canner. A few notes about temperature:
The hot pack jars will be warm just like the water in your canner. Great that is perfect.
The raw pack jars may be a different story though. If you meat is cold from the fridge then your jars will end up being cold too. Cold jars placed into very hot water may cause breakage. I try to aim for having the water in the canner just hotter than the jars… but not boiling! Remember it is the temperature difference that causes the problems.
Follow pressure canning instructions included with your canner.
Don’t forget to adjust the pressure requirements for your elevation.
Quarts – 1 hour 30 minutes
Pints – 1 hour 15 minutes
This processing time is the same whether you have precooked your pork or canned it raw. It must be processed for the full time either way.
When your canning is finished be sure and allow the canner to come back to room temperature all on its own. Do NOT try to speed up the cooling process by running cold water on the canner or any other means. This may take a couple of hours. That is ok.
When the canner reaches zero pressure wait 5 minutes more before opening your lid. Open the lid and wait another 10 minutes before you take your jars out. Allowing those jars to cool slowly like this prevents liquid from being pushed out of the jar because of pressure changes in the jar.
Let your jars set out overnight and check the seals in the morning. The lids should be sucked down and if you remove the rings you should be able to lift the jar by just the edge of the lids.
All sealed? Yay! Success. Have one that didn’t seal? No problem, just put it in the refrigerator and plan on using it in a meal in the next couple of days.
Wash up those jars before you put them in your cupboard. They may likely be greasy. This is normal. Water does not go into your jars but some liquid may be pushed out of them.
Store with the rings off in a dark cool area. Enjoy!
Use this meat in casseroles or burritos. Add some barbecue sauce for quick Barbecue Pork Sandwiches.