Grandma’s Method of Canning Sausage

***DISCLAIMER*** Let me start by saying – No book will tell you to can sausage this way, but an 80 yr old Grandma in Southern VA will gladly show you “how her Mama done it”….  And if you post a picture on social media (in certain groups) be prepared for the backlash of – you can’t do that!!!  All I can say, is my family has done this for generations and no one has gotten sick or anything else from canning sausage.  I’m well aware of  the health cautions/concerns and that this may not be a USDA approved method….but….This is how we do it, it works, if done as instructed it’s safe and if I had one ounce of doubt, I wouldn’t dare do it….

There is no secret – but there is a key – you MUST cook your sausage completely done before canning.

Turn the oven on 200 degrees and place the jars in the oven for heating.

Roll out the raw sausage into patties and “do the math”.   Ask yourself – How many patties will my crowd eat at one sitting?  That’s how many you want to put in one jar.  And that’s the number you want to use while cooking to make sure you cook enough each time to evenly fill your jars.  At my house, the magic number is 5 and 5 fits nicely in a pint jar.  I prefer pints, I don’t see any reason why you can’t use quarts.  You’ll notice in the picture below we have 15 patties cooking which means I have a minimum of 3 jars in the oven and 3 lids boiling.  I boil my lids as I go since all of the patties don’t get done at the same time.

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One pound of sausage will average 1-2 pint jars, depending on how many patties you add per jar and how big you make the patties, etc.

Fry the sausage thoroughly like you’re going to eat it – right then.  Pack your magic number (serving size) into a HOT, wide-mouth, pint jar and pour the grease over the sausage.  Usually an inch or so of grease will do, there’s no magic measurement, we just use the grease from the pan and it always seems to be enough.

Wipe the rim of the jars really good!  Place a hot lid and ring on top, tighten down the lid and carefully flip it over.  Be sure to use an oven mitt, because these babies are hot!

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Now – cover with a towel and let them sit.  This is known as “Upside Down Sealing” and is often used with cured meats, jams and jellies.   The grease from the sausage will harden and help the jar seal.  The below picture is the morning after.  I store mine upside down, rings on them just like pictured.  When I’m ready to heat and serve, I pop the seal, toss the lid and heat the glass jar in the microwave for 1 minute to dissolve the grease.  Then we heat the sausage up in a cast iron pan for just a few minutes.  This makes breakfast a snap! Add the hubby’s homemade biscuits and I think I’ve taken a trip down memory lane! YUM!

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Many have asked what’s the shelf life for sausage – good question.  We try to can enough sausage for one year.  I have growing boys so this takes 50-60 lbs and we average running out right before “hog season”.  My grandma kept it a couple of years.  This is where you need to use your own judgment.  Enjoy and happy canning!

21 thoughts on “Grandma’s Method of Canning Sausage

  1. Larry Cobb February 24, 2017 at 8:30 am Reply

    When I was a child mother canned sausage the same way,i saw her keep some for 3 years and were still good

    Liked by 1 person

  2. umstetter May 30, 2017 at 2:00 am Reply

    Can on Rebel Canners!! It’s amazing how much you can can if you throw away “UDSA approval” and follow EXACTLY how the old folks do it. If canning is so “dangerous”, why aren’t the millions of grandmas, Amish and Mennonite families dead? If those canning practices were “unsafe”, the USDA would have shut them down by now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anne July 1, 2017 at 12:31 pm Reply

    Do you think this would work with hamburger patties?

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    • Preserving the Good Life July 5, 2017 at 5:49 pm Reply

      No, the salt in the sausage helps preserve it. You don’t have that salt in the ground beef. I would try canning the patties like we do the ground beef.

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  4. umstetter July 17, 2017 at 11:13 am Reply

    I raw, dry pack my hamburger – that is I pack it into pint jars, leaving 1 1/2″ headroom. Wipe rim with vinegar on paper towel, slap a hot lid on it and PC for 75 mins at 11lbs pressure (I’m under 2000ft, but over 1000ft) adjust for your altitude. A pint will usually hold about 1lb of meat. I don’t use salt or other seasoning in the meat, just straight from the package to the jar. When I’m ready to eat it, I remove the lid, warm the jar in the microwave to melt the fat, drain the fat and meat juices from the jar into another container that I keep for meat drippings for broth (freezer). I can then do whatever I want with the meat – tacos, chili, sloppy joes, etc or slice into 4 hamburgers, and put on buns. It only takes a few minutes to heat the meat up in a pan or microwave.

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  5. Sheri December 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm Reply

    This is how we can our sausage as well.
    And we are also in Southern VA…
    Have not had an issue yet…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Deidre J Sowerby May 20, 2018 at 10:05 am Reply

    I am SO happy to see this!!! Lord I catch more flack from this lol

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  7. Beth Durham June 4, 2018 at 10:20 am Reply

    My Middle Tennessee Grandma taught me the same thing. I hadn’t had any in years and a fella at church shared a jar with me a few months ago so I was just sharing the story on my history blog (www.TennesseeMountainStories.com) and saw your recipe while researching whether you could can it without a self-sealing lid. Have you ever tried that? You know, like in the old crocks?

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    • Preserving the Good Life June 8, 2018 at 11:34 am Reply

      I’ve never tried canning it that way….you’ve given me something to research and think about.

      Like

  8. Carla H July 19, 2018 at 9:15 am Reply

    Do you know if this would wotk using frozen sausage (cooked) and lard? Don’t currently make my own sausage as just two of us.

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  9. Robert September 22, 2018 at 10:26 pm Reply

    I’m so thankful I found this way to can sausage, I do canning and I know my mother used to do it that way too, she raised 8 kids none of us got sick from eating sausage canned this way. Thank You again for sharing.Robert M.

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  10. Judy Morgan December 22, 2018 at 2:18 pm Reply

    Thank you. That is the way we had it growing up and I am 73 years old.

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  11. Linda June 7, 2019 at 11:32 am Reply

    My mother served can sausage with chunks of potatoes and a white sauce. It was delicious.

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  12. Patricia Miller August 22, 2019 at 9:33 am Reply

    My mom has said her mom used to can sausage and that it was the best. She would make sausage gravy with it. She never told me how she canned it,but I figure she done it this way. Thanks so much!

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  13. Patty Dubree September 14, 2019 at 9:03 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing. My aunt always canned their sausage patties this way and no one ever got sick.

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  14. Richard November 20, 2019 at 10:11 pm Reply

    My family has been canning Italian sausage like this for generations. We still place 5 day dried sausage & seasoned eggplant in crocs & cover with lard. Clean living

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  15. Michelle Whits November 24, 2019 at 7:53 am Reply

    What do I do if I run out of grease? Add more? What kind?

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    • Preserving the Good Life January 13, 2020 at 8:05 am Reply

      I typically cook enough for 1 jar in 1 pan so I can use that grease for that jar. If you continue to run out of grease, you may need to try a sausage with more fat so it will make more grease.

      Like

  16. Teresa Oakes December 18, 2019 at 2:45 pm Reply

    My dad says he thinks this is the way his mom did it to

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