What Is Pemmican And How To Make It

It is called the “ultimate survival food” and rightly deserves its title as a “superfood.” Pemmican is basically a mixture of dried meat, fat, and sometimes dried berries. Pemmican is very easy to make yourself without any special ingredients or tools necessary. Making pemmican is very easy, and you can adjust the recipe however you’d like, such as by adding spices, herbs, and honey.

Prep Time: 2 Hours

Cook Time: 15 Hours (including drying meat)



– Red meat: Traditionally game meat is used, but now beef is most common. 5lbs of meat will make 1lb of dried meat
– Fat (suet): You will need to render the fat into tallow. Instructions below.
– Use about a 1:6 ratio of fat and dried meat, but you can experiment. The ratio doesn’t have to be exact!
– Salt: 1tsp salt per pound of meat
– Optional: dried berries, herbs, spices, honey



– Cut fat off of the meat: You should only dry the meat, not any fat on it!
– Salt the meat: This will help inhibit bacteria growth and make the pemmican taste better.
– Dry the meat: Instructions follow.
– Turn the dry meat into a powder: A meat grinder is best, but you can also use a blender or food processor.
– It needs to be almost a powder with no big chunks in it.
– Turn the berries into a powder: Same as with the meat.
– Mix the powdered meat and powdered berries together.
– Heat the fat so it liquefies.
– Pour the fat over the powdered meat/berry mixture. The ratio of fat to dried mixture is about 1:6, but you can experiment.
– Let cool and form into balls or bars.
– Wrap in wax paper or plastic bags and store!


How To Dry The Meat

The easiest way to do this is to use a food dehydrator. You just cut the meat into thin strips and put them on your dehydrator rack. Follow the dehydrator instructions for drying time and temperature.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry meat for the pemmican in your oven.

Turn on the oven to 170F.

Cut the meat into really thin strips and put them on a baking sheet. You can also put the strips directly onto the oven rack, but some drippings might get inside your oven. The meat will need to dry in the oven for about 15 hours – occasionally open the oven door to release the moisture which builds up.

The meat is done when it is very crispy. It is very important that the meat is dry or else the pemmican will not last as long. You can dry berries in the same way as the meat.


How To Render Fat Into Tallow

Fat will eventually go rancid. But, if you render it first, then it can last virtually forever.

Rendering fat into tallow sounds complicated, but it is actually really simple and has a lot of health benefits.

It is best to use beef fat for pemmican, but you can also use lamb fat. You can get these at your local butcher, and they might even give it to you for free. The fat is also known as suet.

– Remove any remaining meat which may be on the fat.
– Cut the fat into chunks. You might also want to put it into your food processor to get it even smaller.
– Put the fat into a big pot.
– Cook on the lowest setting. For each pound of fat you render, you will need to cook it for about 1 hour. Yes, this will take a while! – You don’t have to monitor the fat the entire time, but do occasionally check in so it doesn’t burn.
– The fat will melt, but you will see bits floating on the top.
– Once the bits on top are golden brown and the fat stops bubbling, then the rendering is done.
– Strain the fat through a sieve or cheese cloth into a jar. You just want the liquid parts and not those crispy bits. When the fat (now tallow) cools, it will be a pretty golden color.

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