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Canning Wild Game

Updated August 02, 2022
 Curtis Braun

Curtis Braun

SDSU Extension Food Safety Field Specialist

Cubes of lean venison on a plate.
Courtesy: Canva

Written by Abigail Lambert, SDSU Extension Food Preservation Intern, under the direction and review of Curtis Braun, SDSU Extension Food Safety Field Specialist.

Wild game, such as venison (deer, elk, antelope) buffalo, pheasant and turkey can be preserved for future use through canning. The process is very similar to preserving domesticated animal meat and provides a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy wild game well past its hunting season.

Ingredients

The key to great preserved products includes starting with high-quality ingredients. The meat used can be purchased or butchered at home. If butchering at home, follow sanitation standards and chill quickly to control the growth of illness-causing bacteria. Trim fat and heavy gristle from game as excess fat can compromise the seal during canning and accelerate rancidity when frozen.

    "The key to great preserved products includes starting with high-quality ingredients. The meat used can be purchased or butchered at home."

    — Abigail Lambert, SDSU Extension Food Preservation Intern

    Canning

    Several jars of meat being prepared for home canning.
    Courtesy: Canva

    Animal meat is a low-acid food, meaning it must be canned using a pressure canner for safety. Wild game is often canned in cubes or strips using a hot or raw pack method and can be safely enjoyed for up to 18 months.

    Some things to note when canning wild game:

    • Fresh meat should be canned within two days or frozen to can at a later time.
    • Before canning frozen meat, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours or until ice crystals have disappeared.
    • Strong-flavored wild meats can be cooked in brine beforehand to improve flavor.
    • Trim fat and heavy gristle from game, as excess fat can compromise the seal during canning.
    • Evidence-based recipes using correct pressure and temperature are important to canning safely. The National Center for Home Food Preservation and SDSU Extension are great resources for current, researched food preservation resources. View our canned meat article to learn more.

    Resources

    Related Topics

    Canning, Meat Consumer, Food Safety