Our word "pemmican" comes from the Cree word "pimikan". This is how you make pemmican:
- First take 1/2 pound very fatty raw beef or buffalo and cut it into small pieces. Separate the lean meat from the fat carefully.
- Dry the lean meat slowly over a fire, or on a barbecue grill, or in an electric oven - this will take several hours at least so you might want to do this part ahead. The meat is dried when it is not at all red anymore.
- Now grind those pieces up into mush either by hand (with a mortar and pestle) or in a food processor. When it is all ground up it will be crumbly.
- Add 1/4 cup dried berries like dried currants or raisins and grind it all together.
- Take the pieces of fat (suet) and chop them as fine as you can. Heat the fat slowly over a fire or a burner on your stove until there is no red left and the fat is all melted. Simmer it for a while. Strain it through a strainer and let it cool. To get it more solid, melt it again and strain it again. This is tallow.
- Mix 3/8 pound of the cooled marrow grease or the tallow into the fruit and meat mixture and then seal it up or refrigerate it. When it is cold you can cut it into bars for serving, like brownies.
- You can eat pemmican plain, or boil it to make a soup or a stew. Sometimes people added potatoes or onions when they boiled it.
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Copyright 2012-2014 Karen Carr, Portland State University. This page last updated 2014.