To see every aspect of making pemmican… the world’s wholest and most awesome backcountry and survival food, check out my video on the process:
Below is the actual recipe I used for the three types of pemmican I make for backcountry trips. This process is a bit odd to write down as a recipe, because all aspects of the process are done to taste. This is fairly easy to accomplish, even for a novice cook, because all mixing is done post-cooking and post- processing. What you are tasting is the actual finished product, as you mix. There are not additional steps that are going to concentrate or otherwise mess with the flavor.
Just make sure that, as you mix ingredients to taste, you go little-by-little. You can always add more salt, fruit, honey, or pepper. However, good luck trying to squeeze tallow out of dried meat if you add too much in the first place!
Powdered Dried Beef or Wild Game (Smoked with Hickory/Mesquite or Apple/Cherry – Depending on your taste)
*It is critical that all fat has been trimmed from the meat before drying/smoking and grinding into powder.
Beef of Bear Tallow
Dried Fruit Pemmican Additions-
Spicy Pemmican Additions-
Crushed Red Pepper
- Make meat and fruit powders through dehydration and smoking process. Dry all ingredients beyond what you would for direct consumption.
- Use a food processor to blend powders to a flour consistency.
- Render beef or bear fat (suet is preferred) – slowly heat trimmed fat until it turns to a clear liquid, strain off liquid. Let the liquid cool. This liquid is the rendered, shelf-stable fat to be used in the pemmican.
- Mix your dry powders and salt. Add salt at a rate of 1.5-1.9% of the total weight of your powders used. For the original recipe, your mix will only be meat/salt. For a dried fruit mix, start with 30% dried fruit and 70% meat powder. Increase sweetness to taste by increasing the fruit powder or by adding honey. For spicy dry mix, mix an original mix and then add crushed red pepper to taste. You can also add honey to the spicy mix to get the sweet/spicy thing going on.
- Heat up your tallow with a double boiler. Slowly add the melted tallow to your dry mix until the mixture can be formed with your hand. Go slow! At first the extreme dryness of the powders makes it seem like you will never develop any structure to the mix – then it quickly hits a saturation point. You want to use tallow just up until that point. If you go beyond, you will end up with extra greasy pemmican. The tallow will literally build up on the edges of the pemmican bars. This makes it hard to handle and less appetizing.
- Form the pemmican mix in baking dishes or casserole pans. My preference is 1/2″ to 3/4″ thickness.
- Let the pemmican cool at room temperature or in the fridge.
- Once solid, cut the pemmican into bars for packaging.
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