I have often wondered how Amish preserve meat since they obviously don't have freezers and yet do a lot of butchering.
Ah yes, the work involved in canning meat. Thanks for bringing back those memories of a week spent every winter in canning a year's supply of meat for the family.
We didn't do the actual butchering ourselves. After sending a fattened steer to the local butcher shop we used to come home with hundreds of pounds of ground beef and steak that needed to be taken care of as soon as possible.
For every 80 lbs of ground beef we would mix up:
40 Tbsp salt
20 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp black pepper
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1½ Tbsp ginger
1½ Tbsp paprika
1½ Tbsp ground sage
After making sure it was mixed well we would sprinkle it over the top of 80 lbs of ground beef and then mix it thoroughly with our hands until we were sure everything was seasoned evenly. Next it was packed into wide mouth quart jars and placed into a canner filled with cold water. Once the water started boiling we timed it for three hours and then removed the jars and let them seal before washing them off and placing them on shelves in the basement to be used when we were ready.
To use this we would slice it out of the jars and heat it often adding water and bringing to a boil and then making a gravy with it. It also made excellent sloppy joe if you chopped it up and added a few more ingredients. It was great to use to make sandwiches or if you were hungry between meals a cold slice hit the spot!
For "steak" we used to request very thinly sliced choice boneless cuts of meat from the butcher.
We would make a brine by boiling together:
1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup salt
After letting it cool completely we put one cup of the brine into a quart jar and then dropped 2"x2" pieces of steak into the jar making sure not to pack it since we wanted brine to be able to be between each slice. It was then placed into a canner and boiled for two hours.
To eat it we would drain the brine and then fry the steak in butter and flour.
Corned beef was the most gross thing we made. It was very simple but something I never did after we got married. We used to take a big crock and pour a thick layer of salt in the bottom and place a layer of steak on top of it and then cover it with another layer of salt continuing this way until the crock was filled to the top. We would set in in a cold dark place usually in the basement for at least two weeks. In that time the salt would melt and the meat would turn pink. To serve we used to fish out several slices of meat wash it in clean cold water and then boil it for a few minutes. It used to be extremely tender but also salty. Not a big fan!
To can poultry we used to fill the jars with meat and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt on top before boiling for 3 hours.
Those were the main meats we canned although we usually made bologna, liverwurst, and a few other things.