New Age Pemmican Method

Introduction: New Age Pemmican Method

Pemmican is a north american Aboriginal food made for long voyages in which food is or might be scarce.  Now a days, it's used by campers and trail hikers who want an authentic feel of being back in time.  You only need one spoon full for a WHOLE DAY of walking!

Traditionally pemmican is sun dried buffalo or bison which is ground up by rocks, mixed with fat and other things.

Theres really no receipt but you should honestly give this a shot once in your life.

What you'll need:

An oven or suitable toaster oven
Something to grind the dry meat with (mortar, pistol, I used a bowl and a curved car body repair dolly)

suet (meat fat, ask for it at meat stores, preferably smaller ones.  Sometimes you need to be on a list to get it though but you'll almost always have to ask)
Some meat, 1 lbs preferable (bison in Canada and buffalo in the States are the traditonals but beef works)
Spices you like
LOTS of salt (preservative!)
nuts or berries for extra energy.

These ingredients above are all traditionally added.

I also like to add various ground up vitamins.  Vitamins are very bad tasting so you can only really put in 3 to 6 of em per pound.

Step 1:
Break it up and mix it in a bowl with your ingredients.  Pick one taste, and expect to need a LOT of spice.  Salt is required in order to help preserve the meat long term, and you need a lot of it.  This is preserving food, not for taste, it is meat after all and this will last you months on end.  Fat is for energy, I used collected bacon fat just fine (cook bacon, put the oil in the pan into a jar, it turns into solid fat once cooled).  Doesn't have to be suet, it's just what is traditional. 

Step 2:
Heat the oven to about 100 degrees.  You don't want to bake it, you're trying to dry it.  When the oven is hot, put the meat on a pan,  leave the stove open as little as you can.  The heat will dry the meat, and leaving it open won't cook it which is what we want.

Step 3:
Smash it up with something and put it in a bag.

Step 4: Enjoy this native scout and warrior's treat.  Any man who claims to be native, or any white person who wants to be around natives should at least try this delicious dish.

It's great for after workouts.

When food is scarce the natives will either eat pemmican ONCE a day, or if they have the resources and time, they will also make up some Bannock bread to help cure the hunger of only eating a spoon full of pemmican for a day.  Pemmican will indeed keep you going for a month or two with no other sources of food.  Sometimes it helps to add water when you go to eat a spoon full.

Have fun!

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    Kris T.
    Kris T.

    5 years ago

    For anyone interested, Townsends on YouTube has a fun historical video on pemmican. He even shows how to make it and how to incorporate it into recipes.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I did some research and asked some family ; some say the fat was rendered,some say it was pounded into the mix, all say that any fruit added was dry, so I tend to believe that the fat was rendered first, as it will remove all extra moisture before preparing the pemmican. I also wonder @ the water ratio loss of organ fat stored underground, but I cannot,and am not, willing to do any research towards this.


    But , if you will note:

    All of this was used, and depended upon heavily, for centuries.

    Way far before someone decided/ declared that you could or should do this and /or should not or must not do that with your food.


    cure meat to jerky state with nitrates only and /or w (seasoning of choice optional)

    render a good white fat ( rendered white beef tallow can be ordered on-line) , chill it to solid.

    Dried fruit of choice or availability, processed for the recipe procedure.

    Process or pound all the above together, salt to taste lightly ( Prauge cure is salty) ( cure # 2 for specifics) ,add some heat with chili pepper flakes and let rest overnight, covered.

    Form and dry as desired. I DO recommend a VERY good dehydrator at this point.

    Remember, you are only drying at this point, not cooking. 100* is perfect.

    Faren,not Cel.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Your receipt calls for raw meat to make it? I am asking since the "original " receipt calls for the meat to be dried in the hunting season,(then prepared as this item, to be stored until later), for the winter in the late fall.

    This would account for the increase in the salt in yours,since you are using raw meat.( I do not recommend this w/out using a prauge cure) I also know that they were using what is known as "flake fat"/ "white fat", (ie the fat that surrounds various organs, as it held really well in underground storage.)

    So, the original is raw meat strips smoked slowly to preserve it with a minimum of salt,( NO NITRATES ) ready to eat as it was,then pounded together with a fat that is low in moisture to begin with, AND, had the content lowered further by underground storage

    Fruits of various natures were added as available, most likely dried to preserve the effort already made w/out having to dry it again, but I was not there, so i can not say to the effect of what was done to dry it after this.

    I can only guess that not much more time or effort was being put into this item, as that fruit was way out of season, and time was also short on decent sunlight to cure / dry this for storage.

    Please remember that the tribe was packing up to follow the season / Buffalo migration , allow accordingly for all considerations of this post.

    Thanks, K


    Really like your method, I was taught to just spread it on a cookie sheet and leave it in a sunny window on a hot day. Never was able to figure out the correct oven method (burned or just wrong) and just went without in the winter when I could have used it most. Add some river water, some bits of hardtack (faux dumplings) and edible plants around you for a great camp soup. I love making/using beef pemmican, but the high salt content has to be diluted by the water of the soup for those of us who aren't in the greatest of health. Thanks for sharing this great old-school wilderness food.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi mate,

    this is very interesting, though I would like to know amounts, or even ratios.

    might make it easier to make.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Interesting. Read about it being used for arctic explorations, but hadn't seen recipes. Quick question: 100 degrees C or F. Guessing C, but wanted to check.

    many thanks


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm in Canada but we use F for stoves still. Temp isn't too important, but it helps dry it out quickly. Even 200 F would probably work but like I said you need to keep the stove open because you're not cooking it just trying to get the water out. Traditionally you leave it out on really hot summer days for a day or two.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I assume a dehydrator would also work?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    one spoon only per day ... really ?

    I don't think it'll even match the RDA, let alone what I would need after a day of hiking... but for a pure (none optimal) survival scenario.. yeah that might work.

    Still a great recipe though.

    How long would this stuff keep ? months ?