I decided to make pemmican for the first time a year ago. I used 6 lbs. lean beef, 2 lbs. tallow and 1/3 cup fresh blueberries. It took me around 30 minutes (prep time) and the cooking process lasted around 15 hours.
Gather all the ingredients together.
Slice the meat very thin. To get perfectly thin slices of meat, place your beef in the freezer for 2 hours. This will make the meat firm enough to handle, and you will be able to cut it easily. Arrange the beef slices on the wire rack, leaving some space for the blueberries. Place your blueberries in aluminum foil or a disposable baking tray. If using the plain aluminum foil, fold the edges so your blueberries stay in place.
Set your oven to 130°F. Place the beef and blueberries onto the wire rack in the oven. Dehydrate the beef and blueberries for 15 hours. The meat should be very dry, not chewy but DRY. Place the dehydrated meat into a food processor. Process until you have a powder.
Repeat with the blueberries. You can leave some of the blueberries intact, if you’d like, so you get a more interesting texture.
Cut the tallow into cubes. Place the tallow in a large pot, and heat over medium-high heat. Do not increase the heat any higher or you may destroy fatty acids, which will result in poorly made pemmican. Stir the tallow constantly for 10 minutes. The first layer needs to melt in order to prevent the tallow from burning. After 10 minutes, the tallow will begin to melt easily, and you can stir it every 10 minutes.
After 30 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low. Make sure you continue to stir the tallow every five minutes.Continue to melt the tallow until the mixture begins to boil. This will take an additional 30 minutes.Strain the tallow through a fine mesh sieve, and remove any solids.
The amount of dry ingredients and the fat should be the same. Remove some of the fat if needed, and use a scale. Mix the beef into the fat. Add the blueberries. Stir until it is well blended.
Place the pemmican aside to cool. Once the pemmican is room temperature, divide the mixture among Ziploc bags or plain plastic bags. The key is to press the pemmican and remove as much air as possible.
Store your pemmican in a dry place.
Pemmican After 1 Year
Properly prepared pemmican can be stored and consumed for years. No wonder this product is a key food that explorers brought on their journeys.
After the pemmican has been prepared and stored in a cold and dry place, here are the first observations:
- The pemmican has been removed from storage. After removing the protective wrap, you will naturally pick up the scent. The pemmican has a gentle scent of dried beef mixed with sweet berry scent and a deep, complex scent coming from the lard. If using other types of meat, the pemmican can develop other scents. For the comparison, this pemmican tastes like pot roast strands that have browned a bit. Not bad at all.
- After picking up the scents, the next thing to notice is the texture. We have used partially chopped blueberries, and our pemmican has some chunks. If you completely grind the blueberries, the texture will be much smoother. Still, our pemmican is quite smooth and fatty and melts in the mouth. Those berry chunks are there just to create some fun, and we suggest you do the same. Because the pemmican is made of ground ingredients, the texture is smooth and kind of pasty in the mouth.
- When it comes to taste, the pemmican does not have a flavor that would satisfy gourmets, but since this is a survival food, we will not worry too much about the flavor. The flavor itself is not terrible but instead is kind of bland because of the large amount of fat. That fat is necessary, however, as it preserves the pemmican. Luckily, the blueberries bring a hint of sweetness, and the beef flavor cannot be completely neglected. After a few bites, your palate will adjust, and some of the beef flavor will be picked up.
Overall, this pemmican is just great! The initial aromas are not too heavy, it is kind of sweet and fatty, the texture is fine with some berry chunks, and when it comes to the taste, it tastes like fatty beef with a hint of sweetness. After unwrapping, some chunks may fall off, but you can prevent that by completely grinding your ingredients. Still, pemmican with chunks has a much better texture.
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