Still canning beef. I like it. Husband does not.
I am pleasantly surprised when I open each jar. They smell like roast beef. Every canned meat I've ever opened in the past - flakes of ham, flakes of chicken, turkey baby food, moose from my Dad's hunting buddies - all smelled like salmon. I have no idea why, but it just put me off, and was one of the reasons why I didn't want to try canning meat.
The other reason - what was the point? I've read all kinds of blogs and recipes, and I just didn't understand how or why people would buy roast or steak, cut it into little pieces and can it. If it's little chunks, it's not a steak, is it?
The ribs, taste like ribs. They're going to sit down there in the basement for a good long while. One jar went in a pot of spaghetti. One went in a pot of chili. No disguising it, it still tastes like ribs. I suppose I'll use it up eventually for pulled pork sandwiches or something. I just don't love it.
The roast beef, however, is much more versatile. I'm not spicing it at all when I can it, so it just tastes like beef. It's dryer than ground, with no fat, and a little chunky, so it doesn't feel like ground beef. That's where Husband has issues. But it'll take the flavour of whatever spices I use with it - italian, mexican, hot or mild - so it doesn't add anything but beef to the recipe.
It really is convenient. Everyone talks about convenience, but I've been cooking frozen ground beef for years. It doesn't take that long. If I forget to pull something out of the freezer in the morning, big deal, I make something with frozen ground beef. How hard is that?
So when the freezers went, and I started canning meat, it was all about storage space. Until I tried it. The first batch was still about storage space, and lack of ground beef. Why buy ground beef when I have roasts to use up? So I tossed a jar in a pot of spaghetti. I tossed a jar in a bowl of taco salad. I tossed a jar in a pot of chili. Ok, it was a little quicker, but not enough to really go to all that trouble on purpose.
And then, I got a little more creative. Hoagies, which I love, but almost never make because there's never enough leftover roast beef. Hash, which we all love, and I kept cutting bigger and bigger roasts, hoping for enough leftovers to make a big batch of hash. There's never enough hash... And roast beef. (Well, duh, right?) We don't eat much roast beef through the summer, 'cause I don't want to heat the house up. But heating up a jar, making some mashed potatoes and gravy- easy peasy. And, oh, we ran out of sandwich meat- well look how quick you can rustle up some roast beef sandwiches with a quart.
It really is so convenient. It has me rethinking all of those other cuts and meats, too. I mean, if I want a steak, I still want a steak. But a few jars for philly steak sandwiches? Yum. Pork casserole? Stir fry? Soup? Chicken salads? So many things I don't make unless I have enough leftovers. Less dishes - always a good thing.
Canning meats is here to stay.