Good morning!
We only have a few more days left of this series on
September 2012 111
and I want to make sure that if you have missed any of the days you will have access to it!
Click below for each day:
Now we are to day Five, which is where we are covering what our family does with most ground meats and jerky slices.
Let’s face it, pressure canning ground meat
isn’t for everyone. I personally think it either drives you crazy, or it doesn’t…………makes you think it smells like dogfood when it is opened, or doesn’t. Now, is the quality of meat the same as it was when you canned it? Absolutely. It is still awesome, good, home-canned meat that can make a mean Stroganoff in a minute or two.
But personally, I prefer my ground meat to taste a little firmer,
and not mushy. I have found ways around this by learning to can my meat using sauces or spices, and incorporating them into certain meals, but never just for straight hamburger.
For that, I use
Hamburger Rocks.
You read that right. Hamburger Rocks.
And they are simple, and streamlined, and the end result is a shelf stable product that will wait for you until you get around using it. It is easy to rehydrate, and if anything, it has a stronger “beef taste” than you would expect because, as you already know from past posts, dehydrating intensifies the flavors of most things when they are processed.
We actually process jerky, some of it, in the same way. I have a large half gallon jar, sitting on my shelf, that we pull from, cut a slice into pieces, and use it to make soup, or chipped beef on toast (anyone remember that old favorite??? That is all chipped beef is, is cooked and dehydrated beef pieces that have been stored in an oxygen deficient environment.)
Now. before anyone freaks out and accuses me of trying to kill you, let me state this clearly. YOU have every choice to follow my directions and try this, or you can choose not to. I would never tell you to do something that I don’t consider absolutely safe, and that has been something I have done personally for a long time. I would never dehydrate raw ground meat, ever. And our jerky is sliced thin, as lean as can be, and processed at around 160*, which my meat-cutter Handy Hubby says is the safe processing temperature that is used for recommendation on the packages
of meat you purchase.
So everything we set on the shelf has been processed as safely as we can, because we do not take risks with the health and well-being of our family.
 I know, dear reader, that you are the same way, 
and I am very glad for that. 
So simple directions? Here they are:
Fry up the ground beef, venison, turkey, chicken, or whatever other meat (otter perhaps) that you plan on using and storing. Try to use as little oil or anything as you can for the frying up portion of this.
While this is happening, get out a colander, preferably one with small holes, and line with some sort of cheesecloth, cotton cloth, whatever. Once the ground meat is fried up with no pink left, place the entire amount into the colander, and rinse it with very hot water. In dehydrating, fat will still eventually go rancid, and the more natural the fat, the quicker the process (which is why we don’t dehydrate HAM, ever, in any form). SO rinse your meat well, stirring with a wooden spoon,
until you are sure the fat is gone.
I line my regular trays with cheesecloth as well, and then place the ground meats on the trays. Did you know that 20lbs of hamburger fits very nicely in a half gallon jar? Kind of a shock, isnt it? Talk about saving space…..imagine mixing that up into meals for your family, where all you have to do is add water or broth? Yep, we will be covering that at the end of the series this week!
I am sorry I dont have any pictures of this process, as I was too busy with starting lessons again yesterday to stop and run through this process with my trusty camera. I will be doing it again in a couple weeks, so will add those pictures in at that time (we process about twenty LBS at at time so it is a big process for us and takes time). I will also be including most of the recipes using this at the end of the week with my meal combo kits using the Food Saver, so hang on and you will see more of these recipes in a couple days.
You will dry your ground meat at 160* for around 8-12 hours. It will literally, look like hard little rocks that have sharp edges, which is why if you put this into meals that use a food saver to package them up, you will want to double bag them so they don’t cut through the bags and ruin all your hard work. Believe it or not, stored properly in jars (or double bagged with mylar bags) with 02absorbers, those hamburger rocks will stay fresh and usable for up to FIVE YEARS without much,
if any, change in taste or quality.
Jerky is even simpler. We marinate ours in whatever we want to process it for, normally apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, and a salt/water solution. It has been very thinly sliced with any visible fat trimmed away. We lay this directly on the trays to dry, flipping them over about halfway through the process to be sure that everything is dry. We dry them until they are very tough, leathery strips, much drier than we make the jerky that is for fresh eating. If you have a food processor, this jerky will actually explode into small bits and strings of meat when pulsed, which means you can make an amazingly rich broth and soup from it.
Burger can be rehydrated a couple of ways. In a soup, In a meal that is used in a crockpot, in a saucepan with water or broth. Because it is SO dry, it takes a while, and seems like to me, that when I rehydrate it in my pressure cooker, it has the very best consistency and is most like the regular, straight from the pan burger we are used to. So simmer on low if you are using a stove top method, and remember that one LB of meat =ONE CUP of rocks. For every one cup of meat that you are rehydrating, you will need at least double the liquid. When I use my pressure cooker, I use 1 1/2 cups of broth per cup of  rocks, which in a sealed pressure environment, works fantastic. But on the stovetop you have a loss of steam, so go with two cups. I have also, once its been rehydrated, often added a little lard or coconut oil into the pan and “fried it up” for a few minutes to simulate that pan friend crispness that my family is used to, and they have never noticed a difference. 🙂
I hope today’s post, even minus pictures of the process, has helped you! Please let me know when you try it and what your results have been!!!
Shepherd’s Pie
In a pressure cooker combine the following:
1 cup venison or beef rocks
1 1/2 cups beef broth
one minced onion
2 cloves of garlic minced
{process this on high for ten minutes and let naturally lose pressure)

In a greased 9 X13 pan, place the burger, now rehydrated, and sprinkle with a little salt. Pour two cups prepared beef gravy over the top of the meat. Top that layer with one bag of frozen veggies of your choice (we go back and forth between corn and green beans). (oh, and yes, you can rehydrate the dried ones and use for this recipe). Finally the top layer is mashed potatoes. We simply open a quart jar of canned potates, mix with cheddar and cream cheese, throw in a handful of chives, season with salt, and spread them over the top. Bake for 40 minutes in a 350* over or until the meal is completely heated through and the topping is brown around the edges and bubbly.

Cowboy’s Campfire Soup
In a large pan of water, about 4 Qts, place the following ingredients:
one cup of powdered dried jerky, or one cup of jerky cut into small pieces
one cup dried peas and carrots
one pint canned potatoes
1/2 cup dried onion, or one large diced onion
Cover and simmer for about four hours. Add one can of diced tomatoes, and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes with the lid off to thicken the stew. Serve with fresh, crusty rye bread, or hard rolls. This is one of the meals that we actually bag up with all the ingredients and have sitting on the shelf ready for a dump-into-the-crockpot-and-go Day. You can put all this into the crockpot, turn on low, and leave it for up to 8 hours, AND this soup is even better the next day as the flavors continue to meld. So try it and let me know what you think!
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Many blessings to you and yours,