How to Can Hamburger for Quick Meals

How to can hamburger

Ever get tired of expensive, mediocre, canned meat at the store?  Want to take control the quality of the canned meat you eat? Can your own!  It’s simple to do and it’s a great way to boost your pantry! Let’s take a look at my tutorial “How to Can Hamburger for Quick Meals”.

Typically, I can meat in the late fall/winter.  That’s because our beef is usually ready, from the farmer, at that time of year.

This year, we’re raising our own beef! 


However, it’s April, my beef freezer is getting low and our beef won’t be ready to process until January 2021!

jars of canned hamburger

In order to stretch our meat supply, I decided to purchase some local ground chuck and bring it home to can the meat.  We’re also raising meat birds soon, so that should tide us over.

We like to have a year’s worth of meat at a time, both canned and in the freezer.


  1.  It keeps me out of the grocery store!  (I hate grocery shopping!)
  2.  We choose who will raise our beef and can set specifications, so we know what we’re eating! (We prefer grass-fed beef)
  3.  The price per pound is so much less when you buy 1/4, 1/2 or a whole beef!
  4.  Regardless of what the weather or economy does, we’ve got meat!
  5.  If the power goes down, we won’t have a freezer full of meat going bad! (By diversifying)
  6.  It allows you to take advantage of a great sale on meat, stock up and can it!

You can can any kind of meat or game!  Definitely invest in a good canning book and follow USDA standards.

Start with a clean work area!  Make sure you wipe everything down before you start.

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clean blue countertop

What Do I Need to Can Hamburger?

Good quality beef

Pressure canner

NOTE:  You must use a pressure canner for low-acid foods, like meat.  Botulism can grow very easily in a low-acid environment and a water bath canner doesn’t get hot enough (212 degrees) to kill it. You must use a pressure canner, as it gets up to 240 degrees!  Be sure to process as long as your canning books say to, it’s important to keep your food safe!

Tea kettle (for hot water)

Jars (I used pint-sized jars, which hold about #1 of meat)

Lid and rings

Large skillet to cook meat in

Canning salt

Canning book of your choice

canning jars on cookie sheet in oven


It’s a good idea to keep your sterilized jars hot while you’re preparing the meat.  I keep them in my oven, on warm and sitting on a cookie sheet.

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frying hamburger to can

Here we are with our first batch of ground beef!  You also will want to keep your lids hot in simmering water, just don’t boil!

Also, make sure your tea kettle is full of hot water, you’ll need that soon.

So on four burners, I have a tea kettle, a pan of warming lids, my pressure canner and a skillet full of meat.

browning meat to can

Fry up your meat and be careful not to burn!  I keep a stainless steel bowl next to my skillet so that I can drain my meat with a slotted spoon and put my cooked meat in it.  You’ll want to drain off as much fat as you can.canning meat

Once you’ve got about 5-6# of meat cooked and drained in your bowl, bring the bowl over to your clean counter area.

Take your hot jars out of the oven and place the cookie sheet on a pot holder on the counter.  

Using a large-mouth funnel, begin to scoop your hot meat into the jars, leaving 1″ of head room.

canning meat

Then add 1/2 tsp of canning salt to your pint jars, 1 tsp. of salt for quart jars.

canning meat with funnel

Then very carefully pour your hot water into the jar, be sure the cover the meat with liquid. (Use the best quality water you can afford – distilled or RO water is best!)

canning meat

Using a spatula, go around the edges of your jar to release any air bubbles.  Add more water if necessary. 


Wipe the rims of your jars with a very clean dish cloth or rag.

canning meat

Now, remove the lids from hot water and gently place them on your jars, using tongs or a canning magnet.  Put your rings on and tighten, but not too tight.

canning meat

Look how beautiful your canned meat is! canning meat

Place your jars in the canner with at least 1″ space between them and the side.

pressure canners

Use your canner’s instructions to process your jars, my canner is a little older so instructions may vary.

Once my jars and water are in the canner and the lid is on correctly, I put the heat on high until the valve pops up, see below.

pressure canner valve

When the valve pops up, this indicates that there’s enough pressure in the canner to put the weight on top.

Place the weight and wait for it to “jiggle”.  When the weight begins to “jiggle”, start your timer immediately.  

Watch the valve and the weight to make sure there isn’t too much “hissing”.  If the weight is hissing a lot, turn your heat down a bit and see if it levels out, it should only jiggle.

Once the timer goes off, carefully remove the canner from the heat and let it cool.

Remove the weight once the valve drops down.  After all hissing has stopped, carefully open the lid, facing it away from you!  There’s steam inside still and it’s hot.

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jars of canned meat

Remove your beautiful jars with a jar lifter and let them cool on the counter until completely cool. 

Date and label your jars! Make sure to use your meat up within a year (some sources say longer, up to 2 years) and keep an eye on the seal of the lid.  If the lid loses it’s seal, or the food discolors or smells in any way, don’t eat it.

Now you know how to can meat!  Give yourself a pat on the back!



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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Susan

    Very interested in canning all kinds of meat

    1. kmorris

      Hi Susan, Canning meat is a lot of fun and it’s pretty simple once you’ve done it a couple of times!

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