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How To Make Pemmican: A Survival Superfood That Can Last 50 Years

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Packed with calories and nutrition and able to be packed and stored for long periods, pemmican is often called the ultimate survival food.

Created by Native Americans and adopted by European explorers of the New World, pemmican is a concentrated blend of fat and protein from lean, dried meat. The word “pemmican” is derived from the Cree root word “pimi” for “fat” or “grease.” Traditionally, the meats used in pemmican included bison, moose, deer and elk.  Beef can be used as well.

The secret to pemmican’s long shelf life is in properly rendering the fat from the meat. The pemmican can be stored in airtight containers without refrigeration in a cool, dark and dry place. If made and stored property, it can last for years or even decades. There are reports of some pemmican lasting 50 or more years.

Let’s look at the steps to making pemmican.

1. Dry the meat. Cut off all the fat, and then slice the meat as thinly as possible before placing it on a drying rack in full sunlight. Another option is to place the meat directly on your oven rack with the oven temperature at its lowest setting. The meat needs to be dry enough that it cracks when you try to bend it. Adding salt will extend the shelf life. The more salt you add, the longer it will last.

2. Grind the meat. Now you need to grind the meat until it is powder form. If you do not have a food processor, mince the meat and then grind it in the blender. If you are in a survival situation, chop the meat into small bits and then crush it into a powder.

Discover The World’s Healthiest Storable Survival Food!

3. Render the fat. Now heat the fat in a crockpot, in the oven or on the stove. Use a low setting for several hours, and be sure to stir the fat occasionally until it has stopped bubbling. Then pour it through a mesh strainer to filter out any pieces.

4. Mix the meat with any dry extras. If you are using any nuts or dried fruit, such as raisins, dried cherries or cranberries, mix it with the dried meat in a large bowl (leaving room for the fat). Note: These extras reduce the shelf life.

5. Add the fat. Next, add one part of fat per every two parts of the dried meat mixture (add more fat if needed). Slowly pour the hot liquefied fat into the meat mixture and stir well.

6. Add any wet extras. If you are adding wet ingredients such as honey, maple syrup or peanut butter, mix them in now. If the mixture seems too wet, you can add a little almond meal to get it to your desired consistency. You also may add salt to taste if you like. Note: These extras will reduce the shelf life.

7. Form the pemmican. A popular method is to spread the mixture into a casserole dish. Let it get firm before cutting it into squares or bar sizes. If you prefer, you can form the mixture into balls.

8. Store the pemmican. Once cut, place it into airtight containers and store them in a cool, dark and dry place. You also store your pemmican in zippered bags in your freezer.

There are many varieties of pemmican, but they all use the basic instructions. Many other recipes begin with a 1:1:1 ratio of basic ingredients such as:

1 cup of dried meat

1 cup of dried fruit or berries

1 cup of melted animal fat

Pemmican is surprisingly filling and can supply energy for hours.

You can experiment to find the recipe that works well for you. Label the pemmican you make with the ingredients and proportions you used, so you will know what combinations work well and how you might want to tweak a certain recipe a little in the future.

What is your favorite recipe for pemmican? How long does your pemmican last? Share your advice in the section below:

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  1. I have a question. The headline says it Can Last 50 Years. But #8 on your list says It can last for many weeks or months without refrigeration, depending on the temperature and humidity of the environment. So where does the 50 years come in?

    • Christina,

      Thanks for the question! There is an ongoing debate over how long Pemmican will last. In summary, the more salt you add (No. 1), the longer it will last. We have tweaked No. 8 so as to avoid the confusion. Thanks again!

      • so there’s a debate between 4-6 weeks and 50 years?

      • Can pemmican be made with pork, rather than beef? Or Beef meat but the fat rendering could be bacon grease? I like dried, jerky beef, but beef fat, I have a tad of a problem with it. I’d rather use pork belly fat….if that is possible for a long shelf life

        • no, it HAS to be redmeat fat, and not just any fat, but Tallow, which is the only fat that hardens to the same consistency as wax. You can buy pre-rendered/strained tallow from craft stores and online, as well as ask a local butcher for the kidney fat (where tallow comes from), if you use any other fat then tallow your pemmican will be a greasy mess and not last nearly as long. Additionally the tallow can come from bear, bison, deer, elk, or cattle.

    • Pemmican needs to be JUST dried raw meat pounded JUST to fibers not powder and mixed with JUST fat to last the longest. Berries, fruits, vegetables, liquids and flavorings reduce it’s shelf life. ( got that from an Indian site)

      • I noticed it said in the article that additions other than simply meat (salt optional) and fat will have a reduced shelf life. I’m curious as to just how much it is reduced by? Obviously this stuff wasn’t made to be stuck in a refrigerator, so I’m mainly interested in the length of time or can be kept in a cool dry place; not a freezer or refrigerator, or even a cold cellar, just on a shelf or in a (well ventilated) shed. Thank you all for the helpful information you have this far shared here. It is appreciated.

    • Here’s how 50 years came into the story. Soldiers were issued a 4 oz ration of Pemmican called an “Iron Ration”. Some of these containers were found 50 years after the war was over and the Pemmican was still viable and edible. If you were to seal a meat only version of Pemmican and put it into an airtight sealed tin, it would likely last 50 years.

    • Hi. I remember reading that some old Pemmican was found from 50 years ago that appeared to be safe to eat, but I don’t know that anyone tried it =). I tried to find an article/link but was unsuccessful.

      • A gentle man on you tube opened a German mre that was well over 50 years, he shows all types of old mre, in the German there was “” meat sticks that he tried and didn’t mind. Said it tripled in size, once chewed.

  2. Can I use beef and then use bacon fat (no nitrates)? Would like to know if it tastes any good with just those 2 ingredients? Any other thoughts about using a dehydrator for the beef?

  3. Pork fat gets bitter, rancid .best fat is sheep fat. You can cook meat(not pork), put it in a glass jar with an air tight seal. Fill it with meat, pour hot fat over it, put the lid on tight and put it upside down so the fat covers the inside/bottom of the lid. The fat will get hard and seal it to prevent air from coming in. Can last months. Pork goes bad quick and is the filthiest meat, pork contains parasites that doesnt die from heat or freezing and is extremely unhealthy. Cut meat like beaf or game into strips, put it in brown vinegar for 2 days together with ground salt and bit bown sugar, can add coriander also. Hang the meat in cool, well ventilated area for about a week. Can put a fan on it to blow it dry quicker. No hot air! You can freeze dry game meat once its completely dry. I havent frozen dry beaf yet. If you vaccuum pack it, it can last years, the drier the meat, the better.

    • Brown vinegar you mean cider vinegar?

    • It is also possible for beef that contains parasites that aren’t gotten rid of with freezing? And if it’s dried will the parasites not be a problem?

    • I beg to differ.My husband and I have been farming for 40 years. We have raised chickens,cattle and pigs. We have harvested them all. The CLEANEST was the pig meat. It depends on what you feed them and how you raise them. Ours NEVER got slop! They never had any meat-only veggies that needed eaten, corn, and extra milk from our milk cow. We would let them range on the farm during the day and they loved to root in the fields for weed roots and acorns. When we would harvest one it was always in cold weather. The meat was always firm,the liver healthy. NO WORMS,etc. Beef was also good, but the chickens would eat anything. They are bottom feeders.

      • We raised pigs as well, when we butchered a pig the first thing we ate was the liver. Pork liver is the best. We’re to old now to raise animals, but would love to find out where ya can buy pork liver.

      • wrong!
        the pig along with shellfish have been declared unclean scavengers from old times…why pollute yourself with that which looks clean on the outside but is unclean the inner??

      • SDM
        Thank you for clearing that up. It reinforces what I was taught 20 years ago by my farmer brother-in-law.
        When I put up my experimental pemmican this fall, I will use lean cuts of beef (red meat), thin sliced by the butcher to exactly the thickness I want without slicing it myself. I will lightly salt all of the meat, dry it in the oven until near snap hardness. I’ll cut it up and run it in a food processor (borrowed from my sister) until it is fine ground, and as needed render the tallow I buy.
        I plan to add a little more salt to the final mix. Then I would like to try a small batch with ground up dried fruit, another with crystallized honey, and the remainder as is.
        In the 21st century storage should never be an issue. Packaging in small food saver packets will keep from having to open a large bag for a few bars. With this and a few pounds of hard tack, you couldn’t go more basic and secure.

    • I don’t understand why you would say that pork fat gets bitter. Historically we have rendered lard from pork fat for use in all our cooking. My relatives have always used lard and continue to this day to render lard and use it for all their cooking needs. Properly canned and stored lard will last for years. The pure white lard, the lard rendered in the beginning of the process, has no taste and makes very soft and fluffy baked goods. It is more healthy than most alternatives people use today. Never buy lard in a supermarket, it’s not the same. Render it yourself or buy from an organic farm.

      • I agree with you. When I was growing up we lived on a hog farm and we always used the pork fat to make lard. Mom would jar it and keep it in the root caller and it would last all winter. We also dried pork belly and hung it in the caller as well. As long as the pigs you slaughter are fed well and kept in good clean conditions than its perfectly safe to dry and eat and it will last for months

    • thanks conrad
      i agree with that dirty pig 🙂

    • I need to address a few serious, serious misconceptions perpetuated in this comment…

      (1) There’s literally no basis for you making the claim that sheep fat is the best. You need to use rendered fat that is solid at room temperature, and that’s why lighter fats like schmaltz (rendered poultry fat) or bacon grease won’t work. Internal, visceral adipose tissues like the stuff tallow comes from is what you want to use if you’re making your own, not because of rancidity, but because it won’t melt as easily and expose the meat to bacteria. You can get a similar type of fat from pigs; we call it lard.

      (2) There is no such thing as a parasite that survives heat. Cook anything long enough and every pathogen on it will die. The problem with cooking putrid meat is not that the pathogens won’t die, but rather that they leave behind toxins (e.g. botulinum) that can’t be removed by cooking. Moreover, pork today (at least in the US) is parasite free. Trichinella used to be a problem, but these days you’re more likely to get sick from a salad than from a medium-rare pork loin.

      • except for Water Bears.. some are parasitic, most aren’t but they’ve been shown to survive in outer-space, a radioactive environment, 10 years without water and temperatures beyond boiling.. interesting little suckers. Good thing most aren’t a problem for humans 🙂

      • Tallow is Yummy
        Rancid meat yields botulin?
        That’s scary considering
        It’s untaceablility?
        160 hr onset?

    • Pork might not last as long, but you are waaaay out of date fretting about tricinosis and parasites. Commercially available pork has been essentially free of such things for decades.

  4. I am new to all of this so I’m not sure about anything at this point but here’s my question, I found grass-fed bison ground meat. Can you use ground bison meat to make pemmican? Please be kind with responses. New to the survival thing here.

    • I’m a little new to this as well, but I’d think that if you spread the ground bison out as thin as possible, on pieces of waxed paper (like Cut-Rite), covered it with another sheet of waxed paper and then rolled it out as thin as possible with either a wooden dowel or rolling pin, that you could dry it out rather well.

      • Ground meat is actualy realy easy to dry and you hit the nail right on the head when you mentioned rolling it between two pieces of wax paper. After you have done that step put the meat on a cookie sheep and put it in your oven at the lowest temp it will take several hours but it will dry rather nicely. I have done this myself and I know it’s works

    • What a shame we have gotten to the point that one feels the need to beg others to be kind to them regarding their simple question. I am on several hobby related facebook pages and am amazed at how nasty folks can treat others, especially strangers thousands of miles away.

      • Yes, WDB, it is a shame. I’m glad to see civility here. We all learn from each other, no one has all the answers. Much more fun to learn in happy environment. I’m 55 and had never heard of pemmican! Looking forward to making it for months-long wilderness adventure!

        • I’m 68 years old and have never heard of pemmican either. My grandfather owned a pig farm when I was a little girl and he never made pemmican that I know of. It sounds all like beef jerky am I correct?

  5. How do you think coconut oil would do as a fat if kept at cool temperatures?

    • IMO, Coconut oil wouldn’t contain the same nutrients or proteins as animal fat. I learned about this on a survival tip youtube vid. They said the leaner the meat the better and to purchase tallow (animal fat) from a butcher. I agree, pork and bacon grease would be poor choices.
      They also suggested blueberries and that the shelf life would be years to decades.

    • Coconut has a low melting temp, meaning it liquidfies easily, so I do not think it is going to give you the firmness tallow will. Although it is very good for you!

  6. Question here: Could beef brisket be used for this or not?? I’ve got to learn this for sure.

    • I wouldn’t think so, with all the fat riddled through the meat. You need to start with the leanest meat, trim off all the fat, then dry it. go back & add rendered fat & I like cranberries myself.

  7. How does this relate to beef jerky which has been salt brined and then dried in a smoker. Is the object to tenderize the meat as thin as possible?

  8. Can I use crisco if I don’t have enough fat?

  9. I bought lard to make pemmican but now after reading this I’m not sure, would store bought lard be ok for a long shelf life pemmican (5 years+)? If not I’ve read that I can use only honey and no fat. Or honey and peanut butter

    • Don’t use pork lard for pemmican, it will end up much too soft, and don’t buy anything called lard at a grocery store unless the label says it is 100% animal fat, you’re getting poison otherwise.

  10. You have to delve into how meat or foods go bad. In this case we have meat and fat. I do not know of a single fat or oil source that does not go rancid over time and that is a separate form of going bad instead of food going
    bad by rotting or effectively having harmful bacteria grow in the food. Yes salt prevents bacteria from
    growing but also abundant salt can kill you also and there are few ways of reducing the salt. In regular
    meat highly salted meat like fish and been over the ages was boiled for a long time prior to consumption
    to soak out some salt. In pemican that would not work because boiling the food would result in the
    fats melting and being poured off with the water. BTW, it has not been made clear that eating
    oils or fats that have become rancid is harmful to your health. I think it only means the taste will
    not be as good so in terms of pure survival verses starving to death, perhaps you could eat pemmican
    containing highly rancid fats that has no harmful bacteria and suffer no ill effects and in fact benefit
    from the calories and protein from the meat and dried berries and nuts mixed in etc. Nuts are a separate conversation …. some nut oils in nuts go rancid faster than oils in other nuts. We need to
    know which nuts retain their fresh taste the longest assuming once again that when we eat them
    after the oils have gone rancid we can still benefit from the calories from the rancid oil nutritionally for the longest period of time.

    I am always entertained by the purists that say throw the bad food out that in which the oil has
    gone rancid etc. Ask them a different question which is “would it be better to die of starvation
    or eat the foods with rancid oils”. Give a starving person a choice and I think you know what it
    will be. These arguments also apply slightly to rice and beans in storage some of which have
    oils in them that go bad ( rancid) over time. You have two choices… either eat food that does
    not taste as good or die.

    • I’d say you could be correct, however I got really sick from eating a handful tortilla chips that went rancid ( I never had gotten sick from food before nor have i since). So, while I may go ahead and eat most foods that are past their expiration date without a thought, as these dates are usually a just a suggestion, from first hand experience, I will pass on anything rancid.

    • Coconut oil last forever…so i wonder if it would be ok to use it on Pemmica.

      Nevertheless, if you are right and all fat go rancid…then the 18th century are all liers or never existed. Because the soldiers and other travellers did survive on Pemmican. So It maybe that the combination of meat and the right fat such as suet which is the fat they used in the 18th and 19th century to make Pemmican. I think that if you search how the original recipes was made and do the same. It will work.

    • Rancid oil has been shown to cause many problems, including cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. It is VERY bad to eat rancid fats.

  11. I have two questions my first question is would it be like weed to last longer if you get the ground meat separate from the fat until you were ready to eat? Second question is what Ratio of salt to mixture would you recommend if you have more than 5000?

  12. the Fat is a big thing what if your deer or big game did not have a lot of Fat and your off grid but have store other oil need some info i have made a lot jerke that go bad ( rancid) over time if it had fat on it

  13. I realize I’m a little bit late to the party, but I do have a question(s). I noticed that the meats used in the examples are all red meat. I know that salted dried fish lasts a while, so was wondering if fish could be used.
    The other thing I was wondering is basically the same thing; can poultry be used? I ask because Kitty’s comment about only crushing the dried meat to fibers, as opposed to powder, made me think of it. I’m sure that one could dry chicken meat to powder, as I know that chicken can be dried to fibers. Just wondering if anyone has tried this with fowl &/or fish, and how it turned out. Love this site, and thank you in advance to any who can help me! ☺

    • I think any meat can be used to make pemmican. I would only add meat and fat for the longest shelf life (and perhaps cranberries or blueberries, but not peanut butter or nuts). The end product tastes better if you boil pieces of bone and mix the resulting fat from the marrow (called sweet fat) with the dried and pound meat instead of rendering the fat from chunks. The keys are to take all fat of the meat before drying the meat, use lean meat in making the jerky, and keeping the pemmican in an air-tight container in a cool place.

  14. My father thought me how to make pemmican. He hunted the deer himself! It’s a great recipe and the meat will last if SHTF.

  15. after surgery my dad will not eat anything, would this be a good option for nutrition for him?

    • Absolutely. Pemmican is extremely nutritious, and if you add blueberries (mind you, this reduces the shelf life quite a bit), it’ll provide everything you need but vitamin C.

      • Pemmican is a calorie dense food, it is not extremely nutritious given the fact it is strictly fat and protein in its basic form. It will provide calories for energy in a shtf situation.

        • actually, pemmican the way the indians made it is extremely nutritious.
          mountain men would buy it from the indians and live off it over the winter.
          the indians lived off it as well, of course.
          the US army was going to use pemmican as it’s food source while in combat prior to WW1

      • Indians were Not stupid in survival; they also used powdered Rose Hips for Vitamin C. Never heard of any of my Indian ancestors dying of Scurvy I journey of over 500 miles wass done on Pemican and nuts during trading journeys.

  16. I suggest before you treat any meat that you use a cattle prod or taster on it to kill bugs ect

  17. As an experiment, I took pemmican, made from only dried beef and rendered beef fat, as my primary food source on a week-long backpacking trip. I feel like it was a very efficient way to pack a lot of calories, but the lack of salt had me in some serious discomfort by the end of the trip. It was bad enough that I was licking the dried sweat off of my arms to reclaim some minerals. Based on that experience, I’ll definitely be adding some salt next time, and some sort of a mineral mix too (probably Azomite or similar).

  18. Question about the recipe…

    Is it one pound meat per one pound fat by weight or by volume?

    Tango Yankee!

  19. I don’t know if anybody has asked this question, so I will….can you use cooked deli meat. It is already sliced real thin… thinner than I could every cut it.

  20. Coconut oil works but lasts for a few weeks I’m told. I bought fat from a butcher & not sure if it’s a mix fat or what but on chicken it doesn’t taste well.

    FYI, I Used another recipe with Duck and Hemp coconut oil, flax, and blue berry black berry mixx, I like it better than the chicken.

    I need to find sheep fat from seen the comments above.

    Finally, Someone said try using dried garlic, dried onions, chili spice, hmm, not sure how long that will last either.

    Unfiltered raw honey lasts longer and is a replacement for fruit.

    Make a batch & share it with every neighbor. The World needs to Spread Love not Hate.

    • Honey does not EVER go bad. It may crystallize, but it never goes bad. It is the world’s only food that does not go bad.

    • Honey is the world’s only food that NEVER goes bad. It may crystallize, but it can be liquefied again, but will never go bad.

      • Yvette
        You are right. In my first try at pemmican I am going to make a small batch with crystallized honey. I don’t think the tallow will reconstitute it to much, and I don’t want to challenge the moisture/consistency firmness of the bar by using a liquid honey. It may not stiffen enough.
        All guessing til I try

  21. Most importantly, whether the pemmican is 3 weeks old, 3 months old, or 3 years old… How do I know if it’s still safe to eat? Will I see mold growing on it if it’s not safe? Will it just have a bad smell if it’s not safe? I don’t want to end up get botulism (or anything else) from eating bad pemmican.


  22. Where does one purchase animal fat? Do they sell at grocery?

    • Carol, I went to my local grocery store here in Ocala, Fl. I asked the butcher if the had any beef fat scraps. He asked me how much I wanted and gave me easily 5 pounds for free. I rendered it down to the pure fat and now I’ve got a couple mason jars full of rendered beef fat.

      Just ask your butcher, I’m sure they’ll give it to you for free. He told me they have people who come in regularly to pick up pounds of the trimmed fat.

      I made some pemmican and it came out pretty good! I’ve got some stored, been in my closet about a year now, time to go try some! I will say though, it is time consuming. But it’s good to learn a forgotten skill.

      • This was useful, thank you

      • Thank you for the info. I never thought about going to the local butcher to get the fat from. Sometimes its fantastic to read peoples comments, you never know what you may learn. I have my deer jerky i make every year from left over meat from a prior year, i try to keep it fresh in the freezer, i also have my dried fruits, need to dry more so have them laying out in what sunshine we are getting. Now for the fat. Hmm think I am all set now.

      • I went to the grocery store and did the same, but it was not the right fat and didn’t work. You have to specifically get “kidney fat”. It is hard to get. But I finally found a butcher that had some and it was about $2 per pound. It made really “good” pemmican. You will loose about 20% weight in rendering but a little goes a long ways when making pemmican. I would recommend starting with about 2 lbs and experimenting until you get your process and recipe down to where you like before getting more.

    • I read to use tallow from grass fed beef. It’s clearer when rendered than grain fed beef. Grain fed beef tallow is a little grayish when melted. I ordered tallow from an online vendor after reading many positive reviews. Just got it today and am very excited to give it a go!

  23. Reminds me of Duck confit . Duck preserved in duck fat . Stored in glass jars .

  24. Where can I buy it, already made up and packaged? With fruits and nuts added.

  25. Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. Is a YouTube channel about 18th century cooking. This guy will not only teach you about pemican:
    But how to do things like properly rendering fat into suet as well (where to get it, How to process it, how to package and store it etc.):
    This channel is one of those treasure troves for anyone interested in this stuff.

  26. 1 to 1 fat to meat sounds really unhealthy ,I tend to have , when I’m cooking any kind of meat,a minimum amount of fat ,plus salt in quantity would add another dietary no no from my point of view any comments?

    • again, you’re eating to live, not living to eat. Pemmican is not a “pleasure meal”, it is intended for survival when little else is available.

      • You are also planning for a survival situation. So calories are important. Fat is important. Unless it is dead of winter, foraging for greens to go with it is important. But high fat and high salt help with energy and electolites.

    • You could make yourself some jerky or other dried meat and limit the fat and salt to basically any degree you needed. It’ll be tasty and if you freeze it will last plenty long. It just won’t be pemmican. Low salt would drastically reduce the shelf life and low fat would drastically reduce the calories and neither of those are a positive when the entire idea is making something hearty that will last a long while without refrigeration.

    • Actually if you read up on the benefits of grass fed beef Tallow. You’ll find out that Tallow is extremely healthy for you.
      I’ve been doing a lot of research on the subject and found that Tallow is a healthy fat not only for consumption but for skin care as well.
      I hope this helps

    • First off most everything you have been told about fat is not true its very good for you and if you want to be thin and trim eat lots of fat . Reason is you body never feels the need to store fat … if you really want to know research the Palio Diet by Jack Cruz. I Know a 65 year old lady that still has the body of a teenager that has been on that diet for years . Your issue with salt can be solved by using sea salt very different than Table salt . Study ormus if you wish to learn more about that ..

  27. I am most interested to know

    1. How to grind the dried meat, what kind of grinder to use, etc. there are in the market but they cost an arm and a leg
    2. Is anybody tried to eat 20 y.o. pemmican? Is it still the same?
    3. How much do you (me 80kg male) will require every day to maintain same fitness / health level
    4. If I only eat pemmican, do I need to take any vitamin , mineral, supplements

  28. Can you use freeze dried beef?

  29. Once complete, how hard will the pemmican become? I’ve tried a couple rounds and it has been coming out the same…kind of flexible, soft, mushy. I put a ball of it into a zip lock bag and smash flat and after several days, it still feels kind of soft, not hard or dried out like I thought it would get.

    • It should be hard as a bar of soap or a wax candle. If it isn’t this hard, then you used the wrong kind of fat. You must use “kidney fat” and nothing else for it to work properly. If you are serious about making good pemmican, then go put some effort into finding a source of kidney fat. You will be glad that you did.

  30. Can you use coconut oil instead of animal fat?

  31. I think I will smoke my meat and eat it before the year is out, can not see a reason to wait 50 yrs.

  32. A lot of people are thinking rendered beef fat or Tallow is bad for us.
    Just to clear things up I suggest everyone to research the health benefits of consuming grass fed organic beef Tallow.
    I myself was extremely surprised to learn how benificial beef Tallow is. Not only by consumption but also used as a skin care and for other ailments when mixed with oils or spices.
    The oil is like a delivery system to our body’s.
    very interesting subject to learn about.

  33. As to the type of salt used which would be better, regular iodized table salt or non-iodized pickling or kosher salt?

    • Tony don’t ever use table or iodized salt. If you salt use kosher. It has no talc or other additives. If I use ground meat I set it up by mixing in one tsp curing salt to each pound of meat. Mix well and let set in a non-metallic container for 24 to 36 hrs mixing again every few hours. Press out patties about 1/4 inch thick and dry or smoke-dry till brittle. Grind or pound finely. You are ready for the fat now. Best wishes!

  34. The many comments and questions are interesting. I come from a ranching background and being part Native American have studied the “Indian” and mountain man skills for more than 60 years. So here’s my opinion: you can use just about any lean meat if you dry it thoroughly. Red meat, fowel and yes, fish (Pacific NW tribes used salmon). Smoke it dry or dry it on the lowest oven setting or use a food dehydrator. Just get it DRY, I use my little “bullet” food processor and basically powder it. Most native tribes pounded it to a powder. They did not use salt. They would add dried berries if they had them but basic pemmican is just pounded dried and rendered fat. Approximately 1:1 ratio but add fat gradually to the consistency desired (should hold form when you mold into a ball with your hand). I make it in little round using a 1/4 cup stainless steel measuring cup. Let it set up in a cool place, seal 2 in snack size zip bags and store in a dark container in a cool dry place. You can use the refer or the freezer if you want. Eat as is or use as a base for soup or cooked dishes. Washte!

    • thanks martin,
      I’ve been making beef rump with a few blueberries no salt and it s really good.
      i use been kidney fat and a spice grinder.
      I’ve been adding the beef to the melted fat as opposed to adding the fat to the beef…does it matter?

  35. Has anyone made pemmican with raw honey? I was considering putting the dried fruit in a food processor with raw honey before adding it to the pemmican. Raw honey has antibacterial properties that might help “preserve” the wet ingredients. What do you think of the idea?

  36. i use 1 to 1 beer and kidney fat and 1/2 cup powdered blueberries per 670 grams dried beef.
    how much salt and how is it applied?
    do i add fat to beef or beef to fat?


  37. I can remember way back when, my grandmother making pemmican. I can remember that she used only the fat or tallow from the cow just butchered that is the fat that is on kidneys, heart, lungs, and liver. She would take the small intestines, these she would clean, cut (about 6 ft. long or as wide stretch her arms), turn them inside out and wash them, turning them inside out again and washing the outside again, she always called them casings. Her way is about the same as yours drying the beef, and berries. the beef once dry she would grind in what we called her “witches bowl”, (it was just a stone bowl with a pedestal.) She also Ground the dried berries or fruit (she used almost any fruit). The grinding was down to fibers not to a powder, she would mix in a large bowl her 2 cups meat to 1 cup fruit. This mix she put inside the “casings” when she had the casing about 6/8 full she would start rendering the fat. Once the fat has come to almost a boil she would dip a cup at a time and add to the mix working the fat not only into the mix but pushing the free down the casing, by the time she got the fat down to the end (which was tied off) she would begin working out the excess fat molding the mix and stretching the casing making sure there was no air bubbles, she would take and pinch the casing every 4-6 inches giving it a twist and would keep doing that til she had the whole of it done. At the end she would have enough casing left to tie it off. and she trimmed it just 1/2 inch by the knot. These links she would take a hang in the root cellar, they never lasted 50 years because we enjoyed them too much. I can remember we would always go by there and grab some on thee way out to hike, hunt, fish, or just going to work.

    • How would she put the dry mix into the “casing”? Would she dry the casing too? I’m picturing stuffing wet intestines with powder and I dont know how that would work.

  38. I made some in Nov. 2012. I dried the meat, #1.5 Petite Loin Sirloin steak sliced thin, in the oven. Once dried to break-ability & then used my mortar & pestle to not quite powdered consistency. I rendered the beef fat that I got from the grocery store butcher (it was not the best as it had meat still attached to it). Be sure to skim off any icky stuff while you are rendering the fat, if you don’t get the pure white fat. So #1 of beef fat rendered down, for me equaled out to 2/3 cup, or 5.75 oz. I added 7/8 cup of dried cranberries, that I chopped coarsely. I didn’t add any salt & next time I’ll add sea salt & more cranberries. And more fat, as it’s a little a dry.

  39. I’m still confused. Basically you are jerking the meat and rendering the fat into lard. Jerked beef will last a long time but lard will only last 6 months to a year sealed and refrigerated. Lard tends to go rancid . . . fast.

    Since you are using the lard as the binder, how do you keep it from going rancid and ruining the dried ingredients saturated in the lard? If salt is the preservative, what is the ratio to rendered lard? What is the best storage method?

  40. jorn lytton vavik

    Re pemmican, my opinion is that lingonberry and blueberry will add to the preservation. This due to the high
    content of ascorbin acid in those berries. I.e. grouse and woodcocks etc feed on such an those birds can successfully hang unopened for weeks in cool and fly free conditions.

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