I keep a stash of this homemade pemmican recipe around pretty consistently. It’s great to take hiking, traveling, and have on hand to feed our children when I need a quick prep meal. The bars are highly satiating, a little goes a long way.
I’ve never found a better option for traveling because the food will ever smush, squish, or spill. Pemmican doesn’t spoil (unless improperly made) or smell. It’s also lightweight!
Really, what else do you want?
If you are interested in learning more about this historically important food, Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s Not By Bread Alone contains a fascinating account of the pemmican trade and subsequent pemmican wars occurring at the height of the American/Canadian fur trade.
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Why add Organ Meats?
Organ meats have been a fundamental part of my family’s diet for years and years, live in particular is a true nutritional superfood.
I’ve made pemmican with both heart and liver, however I do notice liver is much easier to dry and grind into a fine powder. Heart has a great flavor but produces more of a texture in the finished bar because it doesn’t grind down as well. Once it is mixed with the dried, ground muscle meat and tallow, it can be a bit gritty. Adding heart won’t make the homemade pemmican unpalatable, but this factor of texture may be something you want to consider.
TIP: Drying ground meat and ground liver are my preferred ingredients rather than whole parts that are thinly sliced. The ground foods are slightly more simple and straightforward to prep.
How to Eat Homemade Pemmican Bars
Pemmican is a mixture of protein and fat, which is already a complete meal in itself. Some of us might like added texture or other flavors in the meal. In this case, use these tips to guide your meal formulation.
- Make a quick prep lunch/dinner meal with bulk prepped vegetables
- Serve with low-carb veggies on the side (steamed broccoli or cauliflower are portable for camping/hiking, tangy homemade sauerkraut is also really great!)
- Combine with avocado and enjoy the contrast of firm/crumbly pemmican to soft/creamy avo
- My daughter likes when I make an “avocado bowl” by placing the crumbs of pemmican in the hollow were the pit once was
- Spread a layer of cream cheese or Zucchini Herb Butter on top of the bar before eating
- Play with different herbs and spices, my absolute favorite for homemade pemmican is Mesquite Seasoning by Mountain Rose Herbs
- My children like when I add a few spoonfuls of honey to the meat and fat “dough” which is delicious but obviously no longer ketogenic, if that matters to you
Homemade Pemmican Recipe | with Organ Meats
- Combine the dry meat, liver, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add optional herbs and spices, mix well.
- Measure tallow in a heat safe container and warm in a double boiler or at low temperature in the oven, until melted. Melting takes about 10 minutes if the oven is set to 350*F.
- Pour liquid tallow over the dry ingredient and stir well, until thoroughly combined. There will be just enough tallow to completely cover the dried meat. Mix it up with a sturdy spoon.
- Transfer to an 8x8-inch baking dish, roll into balls with your palms, or shape with a muffin pan. Leave to harden at room temperature or in the fridge, then score into squares.
- Store pemmican in an air tight container in the pantry, it is 100% shelf-stable and if made correctly, theoretically will never spoil. Mine is always consumed in a timely manner, within a month or so. If you feel more comfortable, you may also store in the refrigerator.
Macros and Nutrition
What do you think? How are you going to use pemmican in your diet?