Pemmican is a concentrated, high-energy, and high-protein snack food that will keep for many months if stored in a cool place. Pemmican is a Cree word that means “rendered fat.” The fat you use can be saved bacon drippings, rendered chicken fat, purchased or homemade beef suet, or any other animal fat.
- 2 pounds lean ground meat (beef, turkey, venison, etc.)
- 1–2 cups rendered fat (suet, bacon fat, etc.)
- 3 cups finely chopped dried fruit
- ¼ cup honey (optional)
- ¼ cup finely chopped nuts (optional)
1. Spread out the ground meat on parchment paper either on the racks of a dehydrator or on a baking sheet. Dry at 180°F overnight or for about 8 hours. You want the meat to be crispy-dry for pemmican, not chewy as for jerky.
2. Pulverize the meat until it is almost a powder. You can use a mortar and pestle, but feel free to take advantage of a blender or food processor to do the job.
3. Melt the fat over medium-low heat in a small pot.
4. Combine the meat powder, chopped dried fruit, and the honey and nuts (if using). Add the liquefied fat a little bit at a time, working in each addition with your clean hands. Keep adding fat until the pemmican holds together when you squeeze a small handful of it. Use only as much fat as necessary to hold the mixture together.
5. Put the pemmican onto a dish or tray and pat it out until it’s in a layer about ½ inch thick. Chill it in the refrigerator or another cool place until it is solid enough to cut into bars that are about 4 inches long and 1 or 2 inches wide.
6. Wrap the pemmican pieces individually in waxed or parchment paper and store in the refrigerator or another cool place.