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How To Make Pemmican 

 November 10, 2020

By  Mike Millerson

You are about to read an article about one of the most nutritious survival foods, pemmican. It can contain anything from berries, animal fat, jerky, beef, honey to salt, nuts, and other ingredients. It is extremely nutritious, and we will tell you how to cook and where to get all you need to make pemmican for the utmost sustainability in any survival situation.

Pemmican is often confused with beef jerky, but this is not entirely true. In ancient times, pemmican was prepared from what could easily get on the hunt – wild game, moose, venison meat, and rendered fat.

Many years ago, Native Americans invented a pemmican recipe. The Cree Native American Tribe called pemmican in their language, meaning “fat” or “grease.” Pemmican allowed Native Americans to survive in many difficult circumstances, as it is truly a survival food as pemmican can last for decades. Unfortunately, we do not know who was the first author of this recipe.

Cooking pemmican can be considered an essential survival skill for several reasons:

  • pemmican can be cooked from almost any meat
  • stored for a very long time; pemmican does not spoil for years or even decades. Its shelf life is long
  • pemmican will provide the body with calories, protein, and fats for a long time, which is necessary for our body in a survival situation.

On top of that, pemmican is easy to prepare and delicious. You can store pemmican in the bug out bags, survival food kits, and emergency food storage.

Therefore, pemmican is a real superfood among survival food that will save you from hunger. Pemican recipe is a dream of a prepper.

Native Americans liked pemmican for many reasons. This protein food was convenient for them: pemmican is convenient to store, transport, and, of course, it is easy to make.

Subsequently, native Americans passed on the pemmican recipe to Europeans, explorers, and fur traders.

The virtues of a mixture of dry meat and rendered fat (precious survival resources) have helped this recipe survive for hundreds of years and reach us.

 

Pemmican Recipe

Pemmican has always been a family recipe passed down from generation to generation by native Americans, and then pemmican has come to us. Each family added something special to the recipe to their taste to make a mixture more interesting, but the basic processes of making meat with rendered fat have always remained the same. Most people make pemmican with grass-fed beef and beef tallow.

The section below will cover instructions on making pemmican with just meat and fat and a couple of unusual pemmican recipes.

The Step By Step Process To Making Pemmican

Here you can check a video guide on how to make pemmican:

But for those who would like to read instructions, please check our pemmican recipe below.

1.   Get the meat

The first thing to do is to get the right fresh meat for pemmican. As we mentioned above, any meat will do, but don’t go for too lean meat of rabbit or fish. Make sure you choose meat that has more fat. Venison, grass-fed beef, elk, caribou, moose, organ meat are perfect for making pemmican. Grass-fed meat is better as it has more vitamins. Then you can use natural fat from meat.

2.   Dry meat

To dry meat first, you should remove all fat from meat and set fat aside for a while. So you get lean meat. Cut the meat into long thin strips and place them on a baking sheet. There are two ways to dry the meat strips. Choose the one you like more. You can put the baking sheet in the oven and dry the meat on low heat, or you can put the meat out in the sun and dry the meat under direct sunlight. You need to dry it until the meat strips begin to bend due to fragility. No water should stay. Not as beef jerky, but more dried.

3.   Grind your meat

Next, you should grind the meat as finely as possible. In a survival situation, for which this recipe is best suited, you can use mortar and pestle. If the survival situation is more complicated, then even stones with which you can grind meat for your pemmican are suitable. And in the calm situation of home comfort, the easiest way is to use a food processor. Or, first, chop the meat with a knife and grind it in a blender.

4.   Use the meat fat

Take the fat cut from the meat and render the fat in a pot over low heat. After boiling, you need to strain the liquid fat through a mesh strainer; gauze is suitable for this.

5.   Mix your meat with extra ingredients

Next, you should mix the crushed meat dust and additional ingredients. We will tell you a little later what you can take as additional ingredients for pemmican.

6.   Add the fat

Take the bowl with melted fat and pour the fat into the dried mix. Then mix everything thoroughly.

7.   Add more extras

If you have any extra wet ingredients for pemmican, you should mix them in now. For example, try to use honey. But do not use ingredients containing water.

8.   Form pemmican bars

Pour the pemmican mixture into a small container and let it settle. Remember to smooth it. Then wait until the pemmican mixture is dry. Your pemmican is ready. To keep pemmican convenient for storage, we advise you to cut it into small bars and put them into an airtight container.

For illustration purposes, we advise you to look at the instructions on how to make pemmican.

Variety of Pemmican Recipes

Pemmican is not a beef jerky and not just meat and fat. As we mentioned, each family added something new to the pemmican recipe, so a wide variety of recipes appeared. You can choose not to add anything else to your pemmican if you want, but if you want something more interesting, you can add dry or wet ingredients in pemmican. The primary condition is that the ingredients must also have a long shelf life. For this reason, fresh food cannot be added. And then your pemmican will be able to survive for a long time.

Wet Ingredients

Wet Ingredients include everything that pours – molasses, honey, various syrups, caramel, peanut butter, coconut oil, etc. Remember that the product must have a long shelf life, do not use gravies, water, or something like that in your recipes.

Dry Ingredients

All dry ingredients can be added to pemmican, but the main groups are:

  • spices
  • dried fruits and berries
  • nuts.

The spices include various peppers, salt, garlic, herbs such as basil, parsley or oregano, chili, onions. Even with salt, you may be creative – use sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, ordinary table salt, or other. Remember that nothing should be fresh. Be sure to dry your herbs or other spices before adding them to pemmican. Make pemmican more salty or peppery according to your taste. Make a unique mixture of the ingredients.

Dried fruits include pineapples, grapes, mangoes, etc. Use also dried berries -blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc. They can make your food sweeter.

Be careful with nuts. You or your friends may be allergic. If not, this is a great choice for pemmican since nuts are a great store of energy, which makes them good survival foods. You can take cashews, peanuts, walnuts, or you can take an almond meal or a mixture of nuts. Almost nothing limits your imagination in adding dry ingredients to your pemmican.

In general, almost nothing limits your imagination in making pemmican (make sure your ingredients have the right shelf life). Make different flavors – sweet, spicy, honey, or salty. This will diversify your supply of pemmican and practice making different types of pemmican. Believe us, you may get bored with the same taste soon, and if you are in an extreme situation of survival, you may not have a choice. You have to eat your pemmican. Therefore, we advise you to stock up pemmican for all occasions – when you want salty and when you want sweet when you want pemmican with dried berries or coconut oil or just pemmican from meat and fat.

How to Store Your Pemmican

Pemmican is easy to make. But this is only half of the battle. It is also important to store pemmican correctly. Perhaps even more important, you can eat tasteless food, and nothing happens to you, but eating spoiled food is not recommended. Especially in a survival situation, when eating spoiled pemmican can easily cost you a life. There is nothing complicated in the storage conditions of pemmican. Otherwise, it was not one of the best survival foods. When stored properly, pemmican can wait for you for long periods of time.

So, you will need airtight containers to store pemmican. It is convenient to take plastic bags and remove the air by vacuum sealing. If, for some reason, this is not possible, then zip locks and Tupperware will do.

You will not be in danger of mold if you eliminate the oxygen from pemmican containers.

Store the container or bags of pemmican in a cool, dark place. It is great if you can control the temperature of this place. It could be an underground food storage facility, basements, or pantry.

Remember to keep your pemmican safe from rodents or other animals by placing the containers with pemmican higher and out of their reach.

These simple storage rules will allow your pemmican to be stored for years and make pemmican the ultimate survival food for you.

Why You Need to Learn How to Make pemmican

Although our article views pemmican as survival food, these dry meat bars can serve great in other situations. They are essential for camping lists, too. And kayakers widely appreciate them. Since pemmican is great for filling up due to its fat, this food suits great as a snack for outdoor sports or backpacking trips. It is convenient to take pemmican bars with you for the trip, for kayaking, even for rock climbing. This food is also a great source of protein.

If you become proficient enough in making pemmican, you might even start selling it. Selling pemmican is a great idea for business both now and in the post-apocalyptic world. But for the demand for your pemmican, it would be good to learn to make pemmican the best or at least make different types of pemmican.

And of course, as we mentioned many times, pemmican is a wonderful survival food high in protein. The skill of making pemmican and storing it properly will give a prepper a sense of confidence.

Steps for Pemmican Making

Pemmican recipe is easy to make. Just follow these steps.

  • To make the pemmican, you need to take meat. Any fat meat will do. Grass-fed meat will work greatly. Remove all fat from meat and set fat aside for a while. Cut the meat into long thin strips and place them on a baking sheet. Then you need to dry the strips. Put meats on your oven rack with the oven temperature at its low heat, or dry the meat under direct sunlight on the drying rack. Dry the meat until it begins to bend.
  • The next step of cooking pemmican is to grind the meat to meat dust. You can use any equipment you have for grinding, for example, a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, you can use mortar and pestle.
  • After doing it, you will need to render the fat. Take the fat from the meat and melt it in a pot over low heat to get a liquid fat. After boiling, you need to strain the fat through a mesh strainer. Make a mixture of dried meat and additional ingredients. You can leave just meat and fat or add different dry ingredients to your pemmican – spices, nuts, and herbs. Do not forget to add salt to your mixture. Also, do not stop yourself if you want to add something sweet to pemmican. Dried berries, honey, any dry fruit of your choice can be added. Mix the meat with ingredients.
  • The next step to make pemmican is to add fat. Pour the fat into the pemmican meat mixture and mix it. If you want to add any wet ingredients to pemmican, you should do it after adding fat. Take ingredients only with long shelf life. Make sure you are not adding anything fresh or containing water. Peanut butter, coconut oil, molasses will be an excellent decision for a pemmican recipe. Then pour the pemmican mixture into small containers.
  • Let your pemmican settle, and then smooth it. Wait until the pemmican is dry, but do not put it in the oven. Leave the pemmican at room temperature.
  • Then cut it into small pemmican bars. Use an airtight container to store your pemmican, put it in a cool dark place.

How to make pemmican delicious

To make it tasty, you can start by trying different types of meat for your pemmican – beef, moose meat, pork, etc. You can mix animal fat, use beef fat, pork fat, chicken fat, bacon grease, and duck fat. But pemmican is not just dried meat with fat. Consider adding extra ingredients to pemmican according to your taste. Make pemmican original by adding dried berries, coconut oil, salt, honey, fruit mixture, dried fruit, or other wet or dry ingredients. The author chooses dried berries with honey or coconut oil for pemmican bars. Make your homemade pemmican tasty for you, various extra ingredients will help you with this, and you will like it more than beef jerky. You can research the best pemmican recipes on the Internet. We recommend you to try this recipe of pemmican jerky sticks.

Pemmican Jerky Sticks Recipe

You will need:

  • 1 cup of dried berries
  • 1 x tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 x ounce of candied ginger
  • 2 x teaspoons of salt
  • 3 x tablespoons of Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 x teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 x teaspoon of cayenne
  • 2 x tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1/4 x cup of peanut butter
  • 1 x tablespoon of liquid smoke
  • 1 x pound of ground beef, or venison, etc.

Start with mixing dried berries, ginger, and oil, then grind them. Take a little less or more than 1 cup of berries. We recommend taking half of 1 cup of one kind of berries and half of the other to make the taste more full. Mix with other extra ingredients. The next step is to add ground beef to the mixture. Pour the mixture into a large plastic bag and put it into a refrigerator for a couple of hours. Stir occasionally by squeezing the bag. Take a small part of your mixture (about two teaspoons) and make a small ball of it, fry it for a couple of minutes, so you can try and feel if you need to add more ingredients – berries or any seasoning. Then you can start drying your pemmican jerky sticks.

There was just one recipe on how to make your pemmican tasty using ground beef and forming “beef jerky.” However, pemmican is not a beef jerky in the usual sense of the word. Use this recipe or make something that you invent yourself to make your pemmican recipe special and delicious.

So the pemmican recipe is good not only as food for a survival situation.

Pemmican Guide

As they say, you can hear it a hundred times, but it is better to see it once. The pemmican recipe we presented above is obvious and helpful. But we also suggest you watch this “how to make pemmican” video.

Video

The video shows some unusual tricks, how much meat and fat to use, which mixtures, ingredients, and what sequence to add to your pemmican. In general, the real tricks of the cook, which are usually kept in secret. In addition to tips on making pemmican, the video touches on the recipe’s history and origins. It’s like a real native American is passing on his knowledge to you.

The cooking process takes place in a cozy home kitchen using simple kitchen equipment and a food processor. Therefore, you will not have thoughts that you are missing something.

Video

The Final Word

Let us recall the main and indisputable advantages of pemmican as the ultimate survival food.

  • The ability to make pemmican anywhere – at home, or even in the forest using stones.
  • Pemmican takes up little space; therefore, there are no difficulties in its carrying or transportation.
  • Almost every game meat is suitable for making pemmican, try to choose grass-fed meat, as this meat has more nutrients.
  • Pemmican provides the body with essential calories, protein, and fat energy.
  • The preparation of a pemmican is not expensive. You can use only two ingredients – fat and meat- or add more ingredients to make the pemmican tastier (honey, berries, etc.).
  • With the ability to properly make and store pemmican, pemmican can last for long periods up to 50 years. Its shelf life is really long.
  • Pemmican is just delicious.
  • It will not take you a long period of time to cook pemmican.

If you are thinking about creating a secret supply of food for survival, be sure to add pemmican there. But more importantly, not only stock up on this high in protein food but also make sure you know how to make pemmican and store it. This skill can save and make your life easier. Pemmican is one of the essentials for camping safely, be it hiking or kayaking, and it is a great source of nutrition in any survival situation.

FAQ

What is pemmican, and how is it made?

Pemmican is a mixture of dried meat, animal fat, and additional ingredients like salt, dried berries, peanut butter, honey, or anything else. Pemmican is not beef jerky, although many people mistakenly think so. To make pemmican, you need to take meat, cut off all the fat. Then make long strips (like beef jerky) and dry them. Once your meat is dried, crush it into dust. Then render the fat and add it to the meat. Pour the mixture into containers and let it dry.

As you can see, the pemmican recipe is easy to make.

How long will pemmican last?

Pemmican can last for decades. Its shelf life is long. If stored properly, pemmican can last for really long periods. It can last for decades or even 50 years. This makes pemmican the ultimate survival food. How does pemmican last long? To store pemmican right, put it into an airtight container. Remove the air by vacuum sealing. If you are in a survival situation and there is no equipment, you can use a plastic wrap for keeping your pemmican. Store the pemmican containers in a cool dark place. The temperature should be lower than the room temperature.

The reason your pemmican can reduce its shelf life – improperly selected ingredients for a mixture. In the article about the pemmican recipe, we mentioned that you should check all ingredients for the pemmican recipe for long shelf life and lack of water. Make sure you are not using anything fresh, just fresh meat that you transform into dried meat. If you do everything right, your pemmican can last for long periods. That is why, for a prepper, pemmican recipes are a real deal.

Does pemmican taste good?

Absolutely! If you do not like pemmican, that means you did not find the right pemmican recipe yet. There are thousands of instructions on how to make pemmican. You need to experiment with ingredients. Besides pemmican, there is always wild lettuce to try.

What is dog pemmican?

Pemmican is a high fat and high protein food, consisting of dried meat and rendered fat. Dog pemmican is ordinary pemmican. Previously, it was eaten by fur traders, Antarctic explorers, and sled dogs. Of course, you can still feed your “good boy” pemmican. All dogs love meat. Make sure that no ingredients harmful to dogs are added to pemmican. You should not add salt, honey, or generally refrain from adding wet and dry ingredients and leaving only meat and fat. Your dog will be delighted to receive a couple of pemmican strips as a treat. Or you can form them as pemmican bars, so it will be easy to take them while walking your dog.

Where can I buy pemmican?

You may not be able to buy pemmican at a food store near your house, but it is easy to find and order pemmican online. Apart from large stores like Amazon, many specialty stores only sell pemmican, or food stores selling survival food like beef jerky, dried meat, pemmican bars, smoked meats, and other long-lasting food.

We recommend you make homemade pemmican. Find a pemmican recipe and go ahead.

Mike Millerson

A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively. In the core of his principal mission is a desire to be a helpful guide into the world of survival for all those who seek practical advice in the rapidly changing world.

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