Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Liz's (In)Famous Pemmican

Pemmican is a traditional food of North American native people.
Traditional recipes call for thin sliced lean meat dried over a fire, pounded into a powder, and mixed with rendered fat.  Sometimes dried berries were also mixed in, but general opinion seems to be that the berries were added to accommodate the tastes of Europeans.

My recipe is NOT traditional.
Most pemmican recipes have a 1:1:1 ratio of meat, berries and fat….but some are by weight and some are by volume.
I chose to measure by volume, figuring I can add more meat or fat if needed.  I wasn’t at all sure about the fattiness of the 1:1:1 ratio, so I added an extra ½ c. of meat.

My apologies for my not being exact on some of the ingredient weights/ measures – I was making the pemmican while overhauling part of my bike’s wiring, so my brain was more focused on relays and waterproof connectors than keeping good cooking records.

Meat prep – I made jerky using a marinade recipe my husband ketofied for me.
1.       3 lbs. lean meat (I used top round) sliced no thicker than ¼ inch
a.       You want the meat to be as lean as possible to stave off spoilage, so cut as much fat as possible off the meat
2.       1 c. Worcestershire sauce
3.       1 c. soy sauce
4.       Garlic to taste
a.       If you can get the purple-striped garlic, it is SO much better than regular white garlic
5.       Throw all the ingredients into a bowl or gallon size zip top bag, and let marinate at least overnight
a.       Shake the bowl or turn the bag halfway through the marinade time
6.       Dehydrate the meat for 12-18 hours
a.       You want the meat dry enough that you can break it into pieces – you do not want it to be chewy like jerky

Fruit prep – I used raspberries, you can substitute whatever fruit you like.
1.       1 c. dried raspberries
a.       Since I already had the dehydrator running, I just dried my own berries – I discovered that a 12 oz. container of raspberries made exactly 1 cup of dried berries

Fat prep – The fat needs to be rendered so it will not spoil.  There are a few ways to do this, I used the crock pot method.
1.       Call around to a few butchers to see if one can sell you 4-5 lbs of beef fat
2.       If meat scraps are present, remove them and chop the beef fat into ½” x ½” pieces, then run it through a food processor
3.       Put the chopped fat into a crockpot, turn on low and let the fat melt down
a.       I believe it took 24 hours for the fat to cook down
b.       You know the fat is done when it is all melted, and you see brown bits (cracklins) floating around in the crock pot
4.       Strain the fat through a fine metal mesh strainer to remove the cracklins
5.       Line the strainer with cheesecloth, and strain a second time

1.       Powder the meat – you want about 1.5 cups
a.       Break the dried meat into smaller pieces and run it through a blender
2.       Powder the raspberries
3.       Mix the powdered meat and raspberries in a large metal or glass bowl
4.       Add 1 c. of the rendered beef tallow and thoroughly mix
a.       The mixture should be dry enough to hold it’s shape when pressed against the side of the bowl, but wet enough that it is not crumbly
5.       Press the mixture into an 8x8x8 pan lined with plastic wrap, cover and put in the fridge overnight.

I tried the pemmican that night and wasn’t thrilled – the flavor definitely improved after being on the bike for a day or two.
Temps during my trip were in the mid 80’s to mid 90’s.  The pemmican was in my motorcycle’s luggage for 8 days.  It got soft, but held together well and had no signs of spoilage.

1 comment:

  1. I thought it tasted pretty good, though I did not get to taste it till the VIP party Friday, because I was fasting the last three days of my bike trip with you! For that many days in the heat, it's amazing it does not melt or separate. I'll be making this soon for bike trips.
    Brilliant idea.


Liz's (In)Famous Pemmican

Pemmican is a traditional food of North American native people. Traditional recipes call for thin sliced lean meat dried over a fire, poun...