How to Make Pemmican at Home

Pemmican is a versatile, high-protein and nutrient dense way to store lean meat. In fact, pemmican was the primary food source for many Native Americans during long journeys. Although it can be difficult to make at home, here are some tips along with recipes on how you can get started making your own!

Pemmican is a traditional Native American food that has been around for centuries. It’s a mixture of dried meat, fat and berries. This food can be made at home with the help of this article. Read more in detail here: how to make pemmican taste good.

Pemmican on the table.

Today’s trail snacks and dehydrated meals are easy to overlook. Native Americans and early explorers like as Lewis and Clark, on the other hand, didn’t have the option of picking up a bag of dried lasagna before leaving camp. To keep powered in the wilderness, they depended on dried fruit, nuts, smoked meats, and other prepared meals like as pemmican.

Pemmican is a combination of lean, dried beef and rendered fat that may be stored for months or even years without becoming rancid. Many recipes call for sweeteners like honey and dried berries, and the term is derived from the Cree word pimi, which signifies fat or grease. Pemmican is a no-brainer for jerky fans. It has all of the taste and shelf life of jerky, but it also has complex fats and carbohydrates to keep you happy on extended excursions and adventures.

Pemmican, when prepared properly, may survive for months or even years. Starting with extremely dry ingredients is the secret to a long-lasting pemmican. Food preservation is harmed by water because it encourages bacteria to thrive in your food. So, before you start, make sure your jerky and berries are totally dry.

It takes some time to make pemmican, but the most of it is spent waiting for items to dry out and cook. It simply takes a few minutes to put everything together after you have all of the components. Keep in mind that the recipe below is just a starting point. Substitute various kinds of meat, such as venison or elk, or add honey in addition to dried berries to make your own combination. We’ve kept it simple using wild blueberries in our recipe. Here’s how to put it together.



Jerky, Berries and Suet are displayed.

  • Jerky may be made at home or purchased at a shop (I started with about a pound)
  • Optional berries
  • Suet is the firm fat that originates from the cow’s loins. It’s ideal for pemmican-making. Hard fat from deer or bison, on the other hand, may be used as a more realistic substitute. Suet will most likely have to be purchased from a local butcher. For two pounds of the substance, I paid just $4. Tallow (which is just suet that has already been rendered) is also available in jars at select supermarket and natural food shops (such as Whole Foods). It’s a little more costly, but if you go that way, you’ll be able to bypass stages 1 and 3 and save a few hours. 

Finally, due of the diversity that may exist between various dry components and how dry they finally are, exact measurements are not supplied here. In general, pemmican demands for a 1:1 tallow-to-dry-ingredients ratio. However, this is based on weight. Your sawdust-like combination of meat and berries may seem to be rather substantial (see below), but it is really quite light. Instead of attempting to measure, add a tiny quantity of tallow at a time until the mixture keeps its form when squeezed in your fingers. In other words, you’re ready to go as soon as you can create pemmican meatballs. 



Blender, Mesh strainer, Mixing bowl and Measuring cup being displayed on the table.

  • a blending machine (or food processor)
  • strainer made of mesh (or cheese cloth)
  • a bowl for mixing
  • a measuring cup (or anything that can be easily poured from)

Pemmican Preparation 

The first step is to render the suede. 

Suet being rendered in pan.

To begin rendering the fat from the suet, place it in a saucepan over low heat. The purpose is to melt the fat down enough that the contaminants can be strained out, converting the suet to tallow. We’re using a low fire here to gently render the fat and prevent it from burning, which would destroy your pemmican. Expect the rendering to take a number of hours.

Step 2: Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender.

Jerky has been put in blender.

Blend your jerky, berries, and any other things you want to put in while the fat is rendering. To prevent overworking your blender, work in batches.

Blended jerky and berries in a bowl.

Jerky and berries that have been combined

Add each item to a large mixing bowl and blend until it reaches a sawdust-like consistency. Make sure the bulk of your overall combination is still jerky before adding items like berries or nuts.

Step 3: Pour the Tallow Through a Strainer

Straining the tallow in a jug.

After the fat has rendered, filter the tallow from the contaminants using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.

Transparent jug being filled with liquid.

When the great bulk of your suet has transformed into liquid, you’ll know it’s entirely rendered. It’s OK to strain before all of the suet has rendered, as long as you have enough tallow to add to your mixture.

Step 4: Combine the dry ingredients and add the tallow.

Tallow being mixed in jerky with hands.

Allow the tallow to cool somewhat before combining to avoid burning yourself. Once the mixture has somewhat cooled, add a little amount of tallow and stir with your hands. Continue to add tallow until the mixture holds its form when squeezed in your fingers.

Step 5: Prepare the Pemmican and Cool It

Packed and Cooled Pemmican in a box.

Place the mixture in a shallow tupperware or baking dish and chill for a few hours, or until solid. You may also make pemmican meatballs; whatever your choice, however the squares do take up a bit more storage space. 

Step 6: Consume and/or Save

Hand made pemmican being displayed.

Cut the pemmican into smaller pieces after it has cooled. They may be eaten right once or stored in an airtight container in a cold, dark area. Keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to take them on your next journey for an even longer shelf life.



Pemmican is a type of food that has been around for centuries. It is made by mixing dried meat and berries together, which can last up to 20 years when stored properly. Reference: how long does pemmican last.

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