Every year at the end of October, I receive requests from hunters wanting to know how to process venison. They want different ways to take care of the deer besides the usual butcher shop or sausage maker ways. Bringing the venison to someone to have it processed is the typical thing to do. Everything is done for you and you pay by the pound and take it home to your freezer.
I come from a family of hunters and we have done venison the old way for years. When people taste my venison they always want to learn how it is made. I usually invite them over to assist in the process. Hands on experience is the only way to learn something new. Once they help they are able to do it themselves.
Years ago when everything was done on a wood cook stove the processing time was 3-1/2-hours in a boiling water bath canner and needless to say the house got a bit steamy. I did it that way one time and quickly purchased a pressure cooker which greatly reduced the time required for meat. The flavor of the venison remains the same as if a wood stove was used.
To can venison you need regular canning quart jars. I prefer the wide mouth as they are easier to get stuff out of. Never use mayonnaise jars in a pressure cooker as they tend to break. The jars must be clean and free of chips around the mouth of the jar. Lids must be new, never re-use mason jar lids as they are made for one time use only.
The venison should be field dressed properly and cooled as soon as possible. The meat is de-boned for canning. The hide must be taken off the deer within an hour of field dressing. Leaving the hide on for show and tell will only guarantee you a very wild tasting product. Remove as much of the tallow as possible, it serves no worthwhile purpose in canning the meat. Cut the venison in uniform size pieces, usually 2-inch chunks. To each quart jar add 1 bay leaf on the bottom followed by a slice or two of onion, then chunks of venison. Fill the jar with alternate onion and meat to within 1-inch of top of jar. Add 1-teaspoon of canning salt (no iodized salt). Do not pack the meat too firmly. Do not add any liquid, the meat will make enough. Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean cloth. Put hot sterilized lids on the jars. Put canning ring on but be sure to tighten only finger tip tight or your jars will not seal. Place in pressure cooker, close according to directions. Bring the pressure up to 10-pounds and process 75-minutes. Turn off pressure cooker and wait for the pressure to go down. Remove the jars and let cool away from drafts. Check to make sure all of the jars are sealed.
Venison will keep in the cupboard for a year or longer as long as the seal is not broken. Refrigerate any unused part of an opened jar. Canned venison is handy when you want a quick meal. Heat it up and serve with potatoes and a salad. Some people prefer to use it right out of the jar with crackers or home made bread. This has been a tradition in my family for generations, try it and maybe it will become a favorite of yours.
You can find more cooking tips at http://www.pothaven.com