How to make Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Super-Food

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How To Make Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Super-Food

Invented by the natives of North America, pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers. These people spent a great deal of time on the go and depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time.

Pemmican was light, compact, high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and if done properly can last anywhere from a few years (decades) up to a lifetime without refrigeration!

Pemmican consists of lean, dried meat which is crushed to a powder and mixed with hot, rendered fat. Back in those days the natives made it with bison, deer, or elk but nowadays it is usually made with beef. Crushed, dried berries can be added as well.

A man could subsist entirely on pemmican, drawing on the fat for energy, the protein for strength and vitamins for health. There are a few cases in history of people living for months (in good health) only out of pemmican.

So, it’s easy to understand why I choose pemmican as the ultimate survival-superfood.

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People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at how the guys who wandered the west 130 or so years ago did it. As I’ve said it in a recent article (30 Lost Ways of Survival from 1880) the “SHTF” we all prep for is what folks 150 years ago called “daily life:” No electrical power, no refrigerators, no Internet, no computers, no TV, no hyper-active law enforcement, no Safeway or Walmart.

How to Make Pemmican

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups lean meat or a pound (deer, beef, caribou or moose)
  • 3 cups blueberries (or other dried fruits)
  • 2 cups rendered fat (or 1/2 pounds)
  • Optional – unsalted nuts and about 1 shot of honey

Get about a pound and a half of lean, grass-fed shoulder roast and let it firm up in the freezer so you can slice it thin.


Add salt and pepper. Set the oven to the lowest possible temperature (around 150 degrees) and put the strips of meat directly onto the rack. Crack the oven door to prevent moisture buildup.

At this point, you can also put a handful of frozen wild blueberries on a small oven pan to dry out with the meat.

Let the meat dry out for about fifteen hours, or until it is crispy. Toss it in the food processor until it becomes a powder. Do the same with the blueberries. In the old days they’d pound it with a rock to turn it into a “powder”.


For the fat portion of pemmican, you can use tallow (rendered beef or mutton fat) or lard (rendered pork fat). Cut up your fat in small pieces and place the fat into the crockpot. Set the crock pot on low heat and remove it only after it becomes completely liquid. Use a strainer to avoid all the crispy bits; you just want the pure, liquid fat.

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Mix the meat and berry powder together, then slowly add the hot liquid fat. Pour just enough so that the fat soaks into the powder – slowly.


Let it firm up, then cut it into squares or roll it into a ball.

If done and stored correctly it can last for decades. Wrap these “pemmican balls” in wax paper and store them in a ziplock bag in a cool, dark place.

Back in the 1800, the native people Canada (Metis) would go southwest onto the prairie, slaughter buffalo, convert it into pemmican and carry it north to trade at the North West Company posts. For these people on the edge of the prairie the pemmican trade was as important a source of trade goods as was the fur trade for the Indians further north. And this is because for a serious journey, almost all foods would have been too heavy to carry.

If you’ll ever have to bug out – especially without a car – keep this in mind: Pemmican is the most compact, light, natural and nutritious supply you can take with you.

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More Off-Grid And Survival Resources:

  1. Survive The End Days (Preparation Tips For TEOTWAWKI)
  2. Famous Chef Sheds 60lbs Researching New Paleo Recipes: Get The Cookbook FREE Here
  3. Bullet Proof Home (Amazing Secret Tactics To Protect Your Home Against Looters, Thugs And Thieves)
  4. "Red" Smoothie Helps Alabama Girl Shed 80lbs!
  5. Survival MD (Field medical guide to survive any crisis situation)
  6. #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat
  7. US Water Revolution (Generate Your Clean Water Anywhere)
  8. Blackout USA - How To Survive An EMP / Long Term Grid Down Situation
  9. The Lost Ways Of Survival - Ancient Survival Secrets Of Our Ancestors
  10. Here's What Happens When You "Unlock Your Hip Flexors"

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  • By gary, April 8, 2015 @ 03:24

    is there a printer friendly version tab im missing?
    i like to make a hard copy in case of power failure or for the bugout bag.

    if there is’nt one it would make life easier for your subscribers to install one.
    just a suggestion.
    thank you!

  • By Alec Deacon, April 9, 2015 @ 03:11

    At the end of the article on sharing options we have also print option.

  • By MARTHA, April 12, 2015 @ 17:17

    print command is for the entire website (not just pemican recipe and instructions) and does not allow print preview. i wasted 9 pages of paper and ink, and still got nothing usable. poor planning on the part of website designer. useless to visitors. I won’t visit again.

  • By Alec Deacon, April 13, 2015 @ 04:55

    Sorry for that. I have just placed the Clearprint and pdf buttons under the post. I am sure that you won’t have this issue again.

  • By Ramone, April 13, 2015 @ 14:46

    Ever hear of pen and paper??? Here you are learning to make primitive survival food, but you get butthurt when you can’t use your technology to print a recipe that I’ve easily committed to memory and you could just as easily transcribe to “hard copy” using a primitive writing utensil and a slip of paper. Maybe you should stick with Jack Links…

  • By Mead, September 22, 2015 @ 08:23

    Not just that but one could have just as easily copied and pasted the recipe into a Word document and printed it that way.

    Aside from that, Print Preview is there to assure someone doesn’t waste their paper.

  • By spark, September 24, 2015 @ 01:05

    i live near a jack link facility, there is more hazardous nitrates in those products, you would have a better chance of survival without all the nitrates. in the event of the grid being gone,

  • By Gordon, April 10, 2015 @ 13:47

    Love it ….. ! Awesome info. …… thanks !

  • By ERIN, April 11, 2015 @ 17:59

    So i guess what im wanting to know is how do we make it without the advent of a blender or oven? can the meat be sundried?

  • By mischa, September 17, 2015 @ 00:32

    Yes, you can sun-dry beef, however, you need to take hygiene into account. It would need to be kept insect free, so it’s easier if you had an oven or at least a smoker for meat preservation.

    in lieu of a blender, there is a metate (meh-tot-tay) which is similar to a mortar and pestle, but consists of a flat rock with another rock to grind the meat into powder. Takes a whole lot more effort (I’m off grid, trust me, it all takes more effort) You can find them sometimes at Walmart in the cooking section. A good one is made in Mexico out of lava rock and costs about $10-15. (more bowl shaped than flat)

  • By Stewart Lawson, April 12, 2015 @ 00:27

    Like the Info…need video’s of things like this.

  • By Cristian Haulica, April 14, 2015 @ 07:50

    So… How many servings would those quantities account to?

  • By EBM, September 25, 2015 @ 10:17

    From here:
    “Three-quarters of a pound (.34kg) of pemmican a day was a sufficient ration of food, although a hard-working traveler might eat between 1 and 2 pounds a day. “

  • By Cindy, September 15, 2015 @ 16:57

    Regarding printing, you can also highlight what you want to print, right click your mouse, click on copy. (You will NOT see that your computer has done anything.)

    Now go to a blank document (or you can open your email) and go to where you would normally type. Again right click. Now click on paste.

    You now have only the information you want and can email it to yourself or save it in a document. After that, you can print until your heart is happy. 🙂

  • By Cindy, September 15, 2015 @ 16:58

    By the way, THANK YOU for the recipe and instructions!

  • By Galen Rankin, September 21, 2015 @ 16:29

    How do you keep the tallow from getting a rancid/ old smell and flavor to it?

  • By Kitty, September 28, 2015 @ 02:00

    oil and fat that are protected from air stay fresh much longer than otherwise. Tallow doesn’t tend to go rancid to quick anyway, I have some deer tallow that has been open to the air for three years with no smell of rancidity.

    However the stories I’ve read say that the indians would wrap the pemmican in deer hide and might even seal it with more tallow to protect from buts and air. Pemmican stored that way would last a decade or so.

  • By Bobby Bennie, March 26, 2016 @ 14:59

    Can it be made with regular olive oil rather than the tallow? If so how much would be required, because “Pour just enough so that the fat soaks into the powder – slowly.” is a very vague discription.

    Any help is appreciated.



  • By Mead, September 22, 2015 @ 08:25

    Sounds yummy.

  • By Drake Arthur, September 22, 2015 @ 21:27

    If you can’t figure out how to print text, I don’t think you need to spend much time on prepping, you’re not going to make it anyway.

  • By Faith Milligan, September 28, 2015 @ 01:14

    Would like to print out these recipes.

  • By Alec Deacon, September 28, 2015 @ 05:03

    Hi Faith,
    You can do that. You can go to PDF and then click print.

  • By, November 27, 2015 @ 08:53

    I blog quite often and I truly appreciate your information. Your
    article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your site and keep
    checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as

  • By Dee, January 19, 2016 @ 17:09

    Although I have never used measured tools to make this, it looks similar to how I was taught to make pemmican. Thanks for the measurements.
    FYI: If leather and tallow aren’t around to wrap and store, another way is to imbed beeswax in denim or heavy cotton fabric, the wax acts as the tallow would and can be sealed in similar manner.

  • By Patricia Schneider, January 21, 2016 @ 23:39

    I am a vegetarian and I wondered if there was something like this using beans, veggies, fruit, and no animal fat?

  • By diane, March 19, 2016 @ 04:00

    Patricia Schneider, here you go…

  • By Patricia Duft, March 19, 2016 @ 07:26

    I would think you need a fat that stays solid at room temp. The fat is needed for energy. I guess you could experiment, or google it.

  • By Muhammad Sajid Rashid, April 21, 2016 @ 00:50

    I live in pakistan, can i get this recepie book? if i can’t then please send recepie on my e-mail. thanks.

  • By Remington550, June 17, 2016 @ 08:32

    Could the dehydration process be done in a solar oven? Also could this be done dehyrating different veggies? Would sealing in a vac seal wrap help to lengthen shelf life?

  • By Gabriel, August 5, 2016 @ 05:57

    Hi! Is there any restriction to the type of meat used? Like pork or lamb for example?

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