There are many reasons for canning meats, poultry and fish. Quite often an excess of meats coincides when the freezer space is as well so canning is one method of being able to preserve the excess for later use. Jars of homecanned meats are convenient foods to have on your pantry shelf. They are already cooked so all you need to do is heat and serve. Canning allows you to take advantage of hunting and fishing but also allows you to take advantage of meat sales. Just as in other home canned foods, you can control the ingredients and tweak the flavours so it is a win-win situation.
A couple of question from my readers:
- How many 6 quart baskets are there in a hamper? A. A hamper is 5/8 of an Imperial bushel or 32 quarts. There are 20 quarts in a hamper or 3 1/3 - 6 quart baskets.
- Do you have a food preservation schedule for home use? A. I do not use an actual schedule because I follow the growing seasons for the heavy preserving season of May to October. Anything that can be canned or frozen outside of the growing season is fit in. For me this means starting with asparagus. Each crop lasts a certain length of time so that gives me a time frame to work in. For example strawberries start mid-June and generally runs for 11 days. During the time frame, I will focus on that crop but will also be doing other preserving.
- Can vegetable beef soup be canned? A. Yes, vegetable beef soup and most soups can be canned providing they do not contain rice, barley, noodles, thickeners or dairy. The hot soup should be ladled into hot jars. Wipe the rim and adjust the two piece lids. Process in a pressure canner at 10 lb pressure 60 minutes for pints, 70 minutes for quarts.
Pork Roast Prep
This pork shoulder came cryovac sealed and was not cut into roasts. Since the meat contained a couple of bones, it was actually more convenient for cooking. I placed the pork shoulder into a large roasting pan fat side down. I knew I would be defatting later so fat side down made sense. That way I could lift meat later leaving as much fat and bone undisturbed as possible. The shoulder just fit the roaster!
The pork shoulder was prepared much the same way as the pork shoulder roasts. The nature of this cut is it will be fatty. The fat is needed for the long and slow cooking process. It keeps the meat tender while adding flavour so I did not cut any fat from the meat prior to cooking.
I rubbed Blazin BBQ Rib Rub into the surface of the pork shoulder. Then topped with Spanish onion slices. The onions add both moisture and flavour. Unlike the first method I used, the sauce was not added until the pork shoulder was about half way through the cooking process. The pork was cooked at 200ºF for 6 hours then the temperature was raised to 250ºF and the meat was allowed to cook for another 2 hours.
Once the pork was cooked, I removed it from the oven. The pork was transferred to the lid of the roaster while the sauce was strained into a large saucepan. Using tongs and forks, I carefully pulled as much meat from the fat and bones as possible. I ended up with a large saucepan of strained sauce (1) two large baking pans of shredded meat (2). Both were allowed to cool then were refrigerated overnight.
The fat congealed on the surface of the sauce (1) that had taken on a jelly like consistency and yes the fat was that yellow having picked up colour from the sauce. I carefully removed as much fat as possible from the top of the sauce. There must have been a good almost two cups of fat, all that would not be going into my finished product!
The two baking pans of shredded meat were reshredded using forks. Any obvious pieces of fat were removed. The pans were covered with tinfoil then to heat in the oven set to 250ºF not only to heat for the canning process but also to allow and fat to melt out. While I knew this would not remove a lot of fat, any fat removed would be a good thing. Once the meat was heated, I brought the sauce to a boil then prepared for canning. The meat was put into hot jars leaving 1-inch headspace and hot sauce was ladled onto the meat leaving 1-inch headspace. I wiped the rims, adjusted the two piece lids then pressure canned at 10 lb pressure for 75 minutes (500 ml jars).
Comparison in the Jars
The end result was 7 - 500 ml jars of shredded pork barbeque roast and one gallon vacuum sealed freezer bag. In comparison to the first batch (1) the second batch (2) had considerably less congealed fat in the jars when they cooled. I had two concerns after the first batch cooled. The first was the amount of fat left in the final product. Lowering the fat for a healthier product was something I really wanted to do. The second concern was the aesthetics. A large amount of congealed fat in the jars simply does not look good. Reducing the fat in the finished product gave a much nicer result.
Overall, I'm pleased with the results of the defatting process for barbeque pork. The extra defatting steps did add more time and work so processing could not be done the same day but at the price, I have no complaints. This is something I'm willing to do to get a lower fat finished product. Any step that will result in a healthier homecanned version is always of primary concern for me. Now I have the method worked out for canning barbeque pork and have another pork should weighing in at 16.95 lbs, I will do up another batch using the defatting method.