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Pemmican Fail....Help!

by (81)
Updated about 21 hours ago
Created November 18, 2010 at 1:04 AM

Well, I decided to try to make my own pemmican. I had some venison and rabbit meat in the freezer. I also got some buffalo tallow when I picked half our cow from the processor. I then got some strawberries and blueberries. I followed some details instructions pretty closely. As the instructions said, I was careful not to season my pemmican too much.

I really do not have much money wrapped up in this project as the meat was from hunting and the tallow was free. I did spend a few bucks on the berries. The investment I have in this is time. The end result tastes so bad it is unpalatable. As much as I want to, I just cannot eat it. What I am wondering is if I could heat the dried pemmican back up and season the heck out of it to make it tasty? Also, how do you clean rendered lard off pans, etc.? It dries like wax and is very difficult to clean off.

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21405 · July 05, 2011 at 12:53 AM

I've done chicken jerky with coconut fat pemmican... it's pretty dang good. Using rabbit with bison? Probably not so good.

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21405 · July 05, 2011 at 12:53 AM

But the point of pemmican is caloric density, not "tasty" or "easy". It's a survival food.

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21405 · July 05, 2011 at 12:51 AM

PEmmican is essentially "Beef flavored wax". I've never been a fan of fruit in my pemmican although I do add sea salt and honey to the raw beef that I put in the dehydrator. I run the dehydrator longer (about two days) to really get every bit of moisture out of the meat. I also pulverize the beef jerky until it looks fuzzy, like lint. Cutting Pemmican while semi-solid and frying it with eggs - hands down my favorite breakfast food.

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1906 · June 17, 2011 at 2:39 PM

I've only ever tried U.S. Wellness' pemmican, but if it's fairly average as far as pemmican taste goes, then I'd say pemmican is remarkably tasty compared to a lot of the comments people make about pemmican.

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1781 · November 19, 2010 at 5:37 AM

Wow, what a spoilt man! My missus wouldn't make me pemmican if I was starving to death.

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1781 · November 19, 2010 at 5:32 AM

Well my pemmican is delicious. But that is probably like saying my farts don't smell or my home brew is the best, a personal thing. I have had one batch where I didn't like the result and I remelted it and combined it with the next batch to improve the flavor with out a problem. I say keep experimenting and add extras flavors (if you must) slowly and taste often as you go.

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7821 · November 18, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Unless the berries you added did something, yeah, it's a beef candle. You can get used to it, but if it's sitting next to a juicy steak there's no contest - eat the steak! Best for travel situations where you're hungry and out of options.

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81 · November 18, 2010 at 2:10 AM

that's the one i followed. so, it is what it is? don't want to waste it. oh well, thx for the help on cleaning.

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81 · November 18, 2010 at 2:07 AM

honestly, i have never had pemmican. i envisioned it like fatty jerky.

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2427 · November 18, 2010 at 1:21 AM

How hungry were you when you tried to eat it?

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558 · November 18, 2010 at 1:14 AM

Just a question out of interest, have you ever had anyone else's pemmican that you liked? In other words, is pemmican ever good? It's not something I've been able to find locally and I'm intrigued by the concept.

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9 Answers

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7821 · November 18, 2010 at 1:46 AM

Follow these instructions next time: http://www.traditionaltx.us/images/PEMMICAN.pdf

Also, pemmican is a beef candle. It will not taste "good" unless you are hungry. I bring it along on hikes and after strenuous exercise, it's great. A couple of bites in and your body stops thinking it's a candle and starts thinking that it's food, and it's basically just a bland, sort of beefy crunchy candle.

Cleaning up the rendered lard is pretty difficult. Basically you have to clean it like you would any wax spill - you need to melt the wax and then sop it up before it dries. Very hot water is the key. You could try something like filling your sink halfway with very hot water and then scrubbing the pot in it, then letting the water cool to skim off the fat before draining.

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81 · November 18, 2010 at 2:10 AM

that's the one i followed. so, it is what it is? don't want to waste it. oh well, thx for the help on cleaning.

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7821 · November 18, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Unless the berries you added did something, yeah, it's a beef candle. You can get used to it, but if it's sitting next to a juicy steak there's no contest - eat the steak! Best for travel situations where you're hungry and out of options.

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1906 · June 17, 2011 at 2:39 PM

I've only ever tried U.S. Wellness' pemmican, but if it's fairly average as far as pemmican taste goes, then I'd say pemmican is remarkably tasty compared to a lot of the comments people make about pemmican.

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18671 · November 18, 2010 at 3:44 AM

It is definitely an acquired taste, but also, it may just not have turned out well. My first batch was basically inedible, probably from a confluence of factors. For instance, before I made my dehydrator box, I was using the oven for drying, and the jerky was overheated and consequently too hard to make a good consistency powder. One time I burned the tallow and used it anyway, and the whole batch was terrible. It took me about 3 or 4 tries to start getting consistently good pemmican. I actually really love it now, and would probably eat it over most other foods if I had the time to keep production up. Still, some people never really like it.

I never season mine, because I'm accustomed to eating plain unseasoned meat. My husband likes my pemmican, but adds salt as he eats it. You might try that with your batch.

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1781 · November 19, 2010 at 5:37 AM

Wow, what a spoilt man! My missus wouldn't make me pemmican if I was starving to death.

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47 · August 24, 2014 at 5:44 PM

If it makes you feel better, I messed up my pemmican too. It's been in the fridge for 3 weeks because I can't bring myself to eat it or throw it away. I guess I didn't grind the meat powder fine enough.

Pemmican is, at its core, a survival food. It was made to sustain native people on long hunts and other travels, and even Mark Sisson says it tastes like dog food. That doesn't mean you did it wrong, it just means you shouldn't eat it unless you need to take a hike across the wilderness. :)

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0 · August 22, 2014 at 7:45 AM

To actually answer your question...YES.  You can place the pemmican in a large bowl and reheat at a low tempature until it is re-softened and then maually mash it appart, mix in seasonings of your choice, and remould/compact and chill it back to stable form.  That will not harm you pemmican at all and will likely rescue your batch and make it edible, possibly even delicious.  I often like to make mine a touch spicy, you might try that.

I love pemmican, and make all kinds both traditional and adventrous.  I always cringe when people make stuff that tastes akin to stale dog food and tell you that pemmican "shouldn't taste good".  Don't listen to them.  It can taste great.  It can be one of the tastiest things you've ever made.  You can make it traditionally, or be super creative with your recipes once you get the hang of the basic formula.

My favorite is made from a vennison buffalo blend, with goji berries, shredded coconut, chili powder, black pepper, and salt, and coconut oil and a touch of bacon fat instead of tallow.  So delicious you you have to be careful not to eat a the whole batch in one night. :-)  Sure the coconut isn't traditional and the goji are more of a himilan flare, but these are the tastiest things you'll ever bite into.  My point is don't be afraid to be creative and make ones that taste good to you, as long as the ingredients are bone dry and never have a lower then 2:1 meat to other ingredients ratio with enough stable solid melted fat mixed in to saturate but not excess, and you've tightly compacted the air out before chilling to stabalize, then for the most part you are good to go.

As a rule if your dried meat powder or fat don't taste good on their own, then neither will the finished product.  I always season the meat if it doesn't taste good plain.  Some meats taste amazing as is, some meats not so much.  Older animals can be more gamey, and lamb is pretty strong raw/dried.  I've made curry lamb pemmican that was awesome though.  I bet curry chicken pemmican would rock as well.  Once you get into it you'll probably even be making salmon pemmican!  pemmican can even be used as a broth starter for a great easy cup of soup!

Be creative, have fun, and best of luck rescuing your batch!  Cheers!

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19479 · June 17, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Dave Parsons, a guy who is BIG TIME into paleo sent me his "secret" pemmican recipe.

Basically, he believes that you should ONLY use wild-game or grass-fed beef AND grass-fed fat.

Rendering out the fat and drying the meat should both be done at low temperatures (120 for the drying, 200 for the rendering) and that no fruit/berries should be added (herbs and spices are ok though).

Grinding is done with a hand grinder or an electric one and pieces of fat tissue left over from the rendering process are used to keep the mechanism working.

The end mix is 50% ground/dried meat and 50% rendered out fat that is put into a pan, cut into bars, and eaten when some concentrated energy is needed.

Here is a link to the whole process (written by Dave P and edited by me) if you're interested in seeing some pics, etc...

Oh the Pemmican Can

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0 · June 17, 2011 at 2:32 AM

You could try adding bacon fat and cloves.

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783 · February 16, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Venison pemmican could work, but rabbit doesn't sound so good. I'd never dry out chicken for chicken jerky and then make pemmican out of it. Also, rabbit + strawberries? I wouldn't eat that combo in any recipe. I suppose venison only with blueberries might be OK, but generally I don't really like the fruit+meat combo.

Just do this. Take your venison, or get some lean beef roast (I use bottom round). Freeze it for a few hours first, then slice it thin. I like to lightly salt it before drying which really improves the flavor. Some people recommend the light temp drying with box or dehydrator, but I just use my oven on lowest setting with door ajar and it still turns out OK.

Also, it is possible that your buffalo tallow is another problem. Try it by itself and see. For my beef pemmican I have been using 50% beef tallow and 50% lard which is turning out great.

This is not a survival food with indefinite shelf life, it is just something to have a few bites of as I cook dinner.

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21405 · July 05, 2011 at 12:53 AM

I've done chicken jerky with coconut fat pemmican... it's pretty dang good. Using rabbit with bison? Probably not so good.

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20787 · November 18, 2010 at 4:49 AM

SOunds like beef jerky plus a side of dried berries and some coconut milk to wash it down would be easier and more tasty.

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21405 · July 05, 2011 at 12:53 AM

But the point of pemmican is caloric density, not "tasty" or "easy". It's a survival food.

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78422 · February 16, 2011 at 7:06 AM

" My missus wouldn't make me pemmican if I was starving to death"

marriage wasn't invented to be god's gift to women. Marriage is not a romance novel; it is a legal contract and wives have legal obligations. I suggest that you quietly meet with a matrimonial attorney.

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