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Jackie Clay

Q and A: salt curing meat and canning meat loaf

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Salt curing meat

I am interested in salt cured meats. Can you tell me more about that?

Paso Robles, California

Salt curing is an ancient process, right down to Bible days and before. Today we most often use it in ham, bacon, beef, and fish. And today, a salt brine or dry rub is usually done prior to smoking. The process is simple but must be done step-by-step, so it is too long to relate here. I’d advise picking up the book Cold-Smoking and Salt Curing Meats, Fish, and Game by A.D. Livingston or one of the many other books on this subject. I buy a lot of my books through Amazon or you could probably order them for loan through your local library. — Jackie

Canning meatloaf

I recently purchased a canner and canned 14 quart jars of meatloaf which look wonderful. My question is that during processing some grease leaked out of the jars and into the canner. Do you think that the jars will remain sealed or will the potential grease buildup under the lid cause a failure? I watched them all “ping” afterwards and so they look ok. How will I know if they failed (other than smell)?

Janice Taylor
Little Elm, Texas

Usually, when grease leaks out of the jars, the seals do stay sealed, even though you’d think they might well fail. Just wash the jars well with hot soapy water to remove any clinging grease, remove the rings to prevent rust from forming (it won’t make the seals fail), and store as usual, in a cool, dark place. If they should fail, when you look at a lid, the center will NOT be pulled tightly into an indentation but will pop up and down when you press your finger on it. Then when you take off the lid, it will come off quite easily.

You might want to pick up a copy of my book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food, for tons of gardening and canning tips and how-to information.

Just a note: where we used to can meatloaf all the time, and some sources still recommend canning it, many experts tell us now that it is too dense a product to can safely. I wouldn’t be too afraid of your canned meatloaf, but I’d probably start canning meatloaf as meatballs or patties instead, with liquid for totally safe processing — just to be certain. — Jackie

One Response to “Q and A: salt curing meat and canning meat loaf”

  1. Carla Says:

    Janice and Miss Jackie ! How fortunate for me ! I just canned ground beef and Jackie’s recipe meatballs in tomato sauce this morning, and grease leaked out and I came in to do a search for info from Jackie. There’s also some congealed grease above the ground meat ( in the jar) and some of the tomato sauce leaked out, but very little. All jars sealed fine except one. We’re just going to eat that jar in sloppy Joe’s tonight ! I’m so glad y’all posted this today !
    And Miss Janice, the meatballs are just like mini meatloaves. You’ll love them !
    I’m guessing it would be best not to wash the jars until they have sat for a while and are completely cool and set….is this correct ? It’s what I do every time the jars get messy.

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