I can at least 100 lbs of chicken per year. No broth. Do not precook. Just pack raw chicken into the jars leaving 1” of headspace and pressure can for 75 min for pints 90 min for quarts at sea level 10 lbs pressure.It's been suggested that I learn to can food. If I get a handle on my rabbit program, or I get lucky and have a successful garden, at some point I'm gonna have more food than I can use, and my freezer has only so much space.
Presently, I don't have that delimma, but I don't want to wait until "that time" to figure out what I'm doing.
I have a pressure cooker (Mirro) that holds 7 quart jars, (inherited the pot but not the knowledge). It is in "like new" condition, good gasket, inside rack, jar lifter, jiggler weight, funnel for filling, and a butt-load of Ball jars. Have lids. Got to buy new rings, cause the ones here are so rusted even though they never touch any food....they're just so rusty, no.
I have used hours studying the internet about canning. I have read the "Ball Blue Book" canning guide. I think I have a basic understanding of safe canning.
I'm ready for my first "trial run". And already I have run into a problem. I make a "pulled chicken" BBQ. I love it! Crockpot chicken overnight, shed it off the bone, dump my favorite bbq sauce on it, and mix. Up to now, I follow that with "freeze". (I make 10 lbs at a time). So I thought, this is a prime candidate for learning to can. Before an overstock of things are facing me.
Problem? Every recipe I find for any "meat canning", even shredded chicken, says fill the jar with broth or water. NO, NO, NO! I'd rather not can, than open a jar of watery bbq chicken.
If I fill the jar to within 1 inch head space with the bbq chicken (packing it well, so no air spaces) do I "HAVE" to add any liquid?
Yep, that's what they say. But I can against the accepted "rules" and have done so for nigh on 45 yrs now~as have generations of women before me in this family~ and haven't had a single incident of illness from canned goods, nor has all the generations before me that have canned in that way. We can picked off the bone chicken, with or without broth, all the time, packed well. Flour and cornstarch are regularly canned without incident as well, as is milk. BBQ sauce is very safe to can and presents no safety issues.Oh, dear. Let’s back up a bit.
To safely pressure can foods, the food must reach a temperature of 240 degrees. When meat is being canned, it must either be put into the jar raw and plain (with without an approved liquid), or it must be put in cooked and covered with an approved liquid. There are no other choices. Raw meat makes its own liquid, so added liquid is not required but many add more liquid anyway. And liquid is necessary for the center of the meat to reach 240 degrees. If it is full of air pockets or a liquid that is too thick, the heat will not circulate.
Also, the meat must be in approved sizes, and packed into the jar correctly. Some recipes call for whole large pieces, some for chunks. Never shredded. Shredded meat packs too tightly into the jar and prevents the liquid from moving around and getting the entire contents to 240 degrees.
Lastly, your sauce. It may or may not contain ingredients that are safe to can. There are ingredients that can not be canned, like four and cornstarch, and I don’t know if your recipe contains any of those. Again, it comes down to getting everything to 240, and some ingredients block that temperature increase. The thickness of the sauce matters, too, as some sauces can be too dense for proper heat penetration. And it may or may not taste good after being pressure canned, since some spices do not handle that amount of heat for that long very well.
All of that to say: Use the canning process to replace your crock pot step. Put your raw or cooked chicken, in chunks, into the jars. Cover with water to the correct headspace if using cooked, optional if using raw.
Process according to the Ball book for the recipe (chunks of chicken), size of jar (pints or quarts), and your altitude.
Make your BBQ sauce and freeze it.
When you want to eat your BBQ chicken, open a jar, drain the liquid, combine with the frozen BBQ sauce, and heat.
Just FYI... the odds of having a major meteor strike on Earth in your lifetime is 1 in 1.5 millionYep, that's what they say. But I can against the accepted "rules" and have done so for nigh on 45 yrs now~as have generations of women before me in this family~ and haven't had a single incident of illness from canned goods, nor has all the generations before me that have canned in that way. We can picked off the bone chicken, with or without broth, all the time, packed well. Flour and cornstarch are regularly canned without incident as well, as is milk. BBQ sauce is very safe to can and presents no safety issues.
Meat doesn't have to be a particular particle size to be safe in the canning process at all.
And, no, I don't feel a bit bad about recommending a practice that's been proven safe over 5 generations of my family, thousands upon thousands of jars canned. We aren't dabblers in canning, we can up food to live on, so it's anywhere from 500-1500 jars filled each year down through the past 100 yrs.
I've even known old Mennonite ladies who canned all their foods in giant black kettles in the yard, vegetables, fruits and meats, all in boiling water baths and had done so for generations as well.
Just because the books say it's so, doesn't mean it's necessarily the only way to can safely. A person just needs a bit of common sense.
That's where the common sense comes in.Just FYI... the odds of having a major meteor strike on Earth in your lifetime is 1 in 1.5 million
... the odds of getting botulism in your life is 1 in 3 million.
So, as long as you are pressure canning the meat to the prescribed time you'll be fine. Or, you might be hit by 2 meteorites. Life is full of risks.