Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Food


November 27, 2017

A fascination for survival food and the zombie apocalypse is how Homestead Lovers became interested in Powdered foods and we have finally tried making the ultimate survival food.

  • Prep: 2 hrs
  • Cook: 20 hrs


Very Lean Beef

Rendered Fat (Tallow)

Powdered & Dried fruits, spices etc


1Pemmican was invented by Native American Indians and was easily carried between camps when they could settle and hunt, a small piece of Pemmican will sustain a grown man for a day. Traditionally the meat used was usually bison, deer, elk or moose however any meat can be used. The meat is traditionally dried in the sun or over a slow fire until hard and brittle, in our modern times it is easier, quicker and safer to dry the meat in a dehydrator. Make sure your meat is lean and all traces of fat have been removed as this will make the meat go rancid. Dry at temperatures over 57c and for at least 12 hours, you want the meat to snap when trying to bend it, if your meat bends put it back into the dehydrator until it has become brittle.

2Once your meat has dried and you have let it cool after being in the dehydrator, you will need to grind it down in a blender, food processor, Thermomix or whatever equipment you own. The dried meat will keep indefinitely in an airtight container in a cool dark spot until you are ready for the next step. You can also add in any other dried and powdered foods at this stage. We separated our powdered meat into 3 and added Sriracha Powder to one, Kimchi Powder to the second and Strawberry Powder and Terva Siirappi to the third.

3The next step is to render the fat (make tallow), we used the fat that was cut away from the meat we used. You will need to make sure that all the meat is cut away so you only have pure fat.

4This was our first time making tallow or rendering fat and there are a couple of different ways to do it, so for more detailed instructions check out the notes section for a link. We tried to render the fat on a BBQ smoker first, which worked well but took an awful long time so we finished it off on the stove top.

5Place your powdered meat in a bowl (with any additions you want) and add the hot tallow. The ratio is around 1:1 and the tallow is poured over the meat an let it soak in. We went by feel with the mix but don't worry if you add too much as you can add almond meal or similar to thicken it up again.

6Cut your Pemmican into squares, strips or roll into balls. These will keep indefinitely in an airtight container in a cool dry spot away from sunlight but for optimal storage keep them in the freezer in an airtight container or zip lock bag.

How to make tallow/render fat

You can make your Pemmican plain or add a variety of ingredients such as:

Dried fruits (Blueberry e.g.)
Fruit Powders
Wheatgerm, almond meal etc
Spices and Dried Herbs

Pemmican is not designed to be wolfed down but break off a small piece and chew like gum

Pemmican was one of the two survival foods eaten in Antarctic Exploration



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