How To Pressure Can Meat Sauce

canning meat sauce

A double batch of canned Meat Sauce


I remember watching episodes of the Waltons where Mama and Grandma are canning and putting up for the winter.

Some days Verdie would come by to help.

Canning is easy enough.

Just time consuming.

The more hands. The more help. The more enjoyable it is.

Here are some items to gather up before pressure canning:



* When canning always follow the instructions that came with your pressure canner.

Gather your ingedients.

  • 5 pounds of ground beef/venison
  • 2 cups of chopped onions (or 1 cup dehydrated onions)
  • 2 green peppers chopped
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1½ tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • about 9 cups tomato purée
  • 111 oz can tomato paste (use enough to thicken to your desire)

Let’s get started:

In 16 qt saucepot, brown beef/venison. Drain if necessary. Add onions and peppers and simmer till tender.


Adding dehydrated onions

Meanwhile, using Sauce Master begin to purée tomatoes.

I love the Sauce Master because there is no need to blanch to remove skins!

I used about 2- two gallon bucketfuls of Roma tomatoes.


Two gallon bucket of Roma Tomaotes


Purée tomatoes with Sauce Master


wrong screen

Oops! The pumpkin screen makes a thicker purée, but doesn’t catch seeds!


Now that’s better!

We added tomato peelings/seeds to compost in years past.

However, the chickens and pheasants enjoy them as a treat now!

Since adding all the birds, my compost pile is growing at a much slower rate!


Compost Bins

Back to the recipe:

Add brown sugar, garlic, spices, and vinegar. Continue to simmer. Stir occasionally.

Don’t forget delicious spices!

Continue to add purée alternating with paste till you get a thickened consistency.

Now that is thick!

Fill pot almost to the top to make a double batch.

Take a taste. Need any more spices?

I add 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar to my canner to prevent water stains on jars.


Now for the pressure canning:

Ladle hot sauce into hot clean jars. Leave 1 inch headspace at top of jar.


Wipe rim of jar with clean dish cloth.


Using magnetic wand remove a lid from a pan of hot water (NOT) boiling.


Adjust bands on jars fingertip tight only. Place in canner.


7 quart jars will fit in my canner nicely. My canner also calls for 3 quarts of boiling water and the canner rack. Follow directions that came with your pressure canner.


NOTE: Process jars according to the manufacturers directions that came with your pressure canner.

Process Meat Sauce at 11 pounds pressure for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Begin timing when gauge reaches 11 pounds. Adjust heat to maintain.

Once processing is finished, turn off heat. I remove the canner from the stove.

Let pressure drop on its own, according to directions that came with your canner.

When opening canner, lift lid toward you to avoid steam. Remove jars from canner with jar lifter and place on towel for 24 hours to cool and seal.


The next day, check seals.

Remove bands. Wash jars in soapy water.

Dry well. Label.

Store in a cool dark place. Do not stack.

I make this extra thick to serve many purposes.

For Spaghetti Sauce: I add tomato juice to thin it a bit.

For Chili: I add beans, chili powder, and cumin.

For Sloppy Joes: I use it as is.

For Long Boys: I spoon onto hot dog buns, sprinkle with cheese and bake.

You can add it to Lasagna or Marzetti.

What other uses can you think of?



Linking up this week with:





7 comments to How To Pressure Can Meat Sauce

  • Laura

    Thank you SOOOO MUCH! This was an excellent tutorial, with lovely pictures. I’ve been looking for this exact post for a while, and I guess patience pays off because this is perfect. Thank you!

    • Kathy

      Thanks so much for the kind words Laura! I am thankful that you are a patient woman and found my post. 🙂 By the way, I’m just curious. How did you find it?

      • Laura

        actually I found it on Pinterest. I typed in ‘pressure canning meat sauce’ and yours was one of the >10 that popped up. When I searched on Google I couldn’t even find anything; it was all different types of canning, and pressure cooking but not the two combined, which I thought was interesting since it’s a very popular and old practice.
        Thanks again! I’ll be checking back for more tips 🙂

  • Susan

    Hi Kathy,
    I actually agree with Laura. My first stop was Pinterest and when I types “canning meat sauce” your site came up.

    Thanks and I too will be checking in occasionally.


    • Kathy

      Hi Susan! I am glad you stopped by and it is helpful to me to know how you found me. 🙂 I love Pinterest. Please do stop back. I have so much more to write about. Especially about gardening and canning. Right now though, life’s a little busy with a recent wedding and now a graduation coming up. Hope to see you soon! ~Kathy

  • Karen

    Hi Kathy, I am new to canning and have a question.. I cooked a tomato sauce with meat, I like to mix my meat in the sauce , I usually will brown ground beef, italian sausage, and pork.. I also make meat balls and with the beef and sausage , egg and breadcrumbs . I browned the meatballs and cooked all in my sauce for several hours.. i included seasonings . I had quite a big pot of sauce so decided to can some.. I followed directions on canning, since I had so many meat balls i included a few in each jar. then processed at 11-
    12 lbs of pressure for 75 mins…I went outside to work in the yard and when I came back in the house my canner was still at pressure but didnt seem to me that it was not releasing much steam..

    my concerns are , 1- is it ok that I canned the meatballs with the sauce and that they have egg and bread crumbs in them and thoroughly cooked.

    2- concern the canner was faulty, again it was at pressure but just seemed that it wasnt releasing steam like I would have expected.

    3- all the jars sealed, they are quart size and I was able to pick the jar up by the lid after processing and wiping the jars down and the seal seemed intact, but I think I may have filled one jar a little too high and it seemed I had some sauce leak out into the water. is this ok? I did clean and wipe all the jars and lids down

    well I am new to this and the last thing I want is to make my family sick.. : ( I would appreciate any input you may have . thank you

    • Kathy

      Hello Karen! I am so sorry it has taken me this long in replying. Somehow I missed your comment.
      First of all, I would recommend you contact your local extension office. I live in Ohio and mine is through Ohio State University Extension Office through my local county’s office. They are a good source of information. They will also test canners each year for proper sealing and the gauge for correct pressure.
      Your concerns:
      1- I think that eggs and bread should be fine. I have seen recipes for canned meatballs using them both.

      2- First let me say, I suggest to only leave the canner for short periods of time while the canner is going. I’m always extra cautious when the canner has pressure building. My stove top always needs adjusting to keep the pressure steady. If you’re sure it maintained the correct pressure for the entire time, it should be ok. My pressure canner releases very little steam unlike my pressure cooker.

      3- Test the seals by pressing in the center of the lid after the jars have cooled. It should stay firmly depressed. You said your lids stayed intact while lifting them. They should be fine. I think it is normal for a little of the fluid to leak out. The water in my canner is sometimes discolored after canning too. I just make sure all my seals are depressed when storing them and re-check them again before I use them.

      I am so glad you are learning to “put up” food for your family. It’s fun, economical, and you know exactly what you are eating. Follow the guidelines in your canner’s manual and you should be just fine. I remember being afraid of making my girls sick too years ago. But in the 26+ years I’ve been canning and freezing, not one incident. 🙂 I have had jars that have come unsealed during storage so always check before using them. I pour the contents of stored unsealed jars in the compost pile.

      If there is anything else I can help you with, please let me know. Thanks for stopping by!

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