Pemmican Recipe: How To Make It Like The Pioneers Did | The Survival Journal (2024)

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Pemmican Recipe: How To Make It Like The Pioneers Did | The Survival Journal (1)

Are you interested in seeing how to make pemmican?

Are you looking for a recipe that serves as the ultimate survival food and is easy to make with readily available ingredients? Perhaps you want something tasty that also stores well?

Welcome to the ultimate guide to the infamous pemmican recipe. You’ll see the step by step instructions, the ingredients, and everything else you need on how to make it below.

Another survival recipe from The Survival Blackbook, In this guide, you’re going to learn how the Native Americans made Pemmican, also known as the Ultimate Survival Food.

Then look no further, for pemmican is the perfect solution for you. But what exactly is pemmican? Read on to find out more about it and how to make it.

Pemmican Recipe: How To Make It Like The Pioneers Did | The Survival Journal (2)

Table of Contents


It’s only natural to give you a brief history of the food since it has so much of it. But first, let’s clarify the question those unfamiliar with this food have on their minds.

What is Pemmican?

Also commonly described as “The Ultimate Survival Food“, Pemmican is a Native American food that was later adapted by Arctic explorers. The word pemmican is derived from the Cree word for fat. It is a paste of dried lean meat, mixed along with some berries and melted fat.

Pemmican has been used as an emergency MRE for survival in times of crisis dating back more years than I can count.

The pioneers and Native American Indians made pemmican. It’s reputation proceeds it. It has become one of the most widely known and effective survival food recipes.

It was traditionally stored in leather bags and was kept for months, if not years.

Since it is a nutrient-dense food, voyagers and traders on expeditions used to rely on pemmican as a major food source. And it was through these people that pemmican was popularized in European nations.


Traditional pemmican recipes call for lean meat of a large game like deer, moose, elk, caribou or bison. And the commonly used berries were chokecherries, Saskatoon berries or even currants. Melted suet was used as the binding.

For a recipe more suited for the modern kitchens, the following ingredients are needed:

  • Dried lean meat like buffalo, game or beef.
  • Dried berries like cranberries/blueberries/chokeberries/juneberries. Take the same amount as the dried meat.
  • Molten lard- 1/8th cup for 1 pound of dried meat.
  • Sugar to taste.


For equipment that’s needed for this survival recipe, the Native Americans used stones to grind the meat. If you’re feeling extra primitive and want a challenge, grab a couple of stones. If not, we will skip that and opt for age-appropriate appliances if that’s okay with you.

1. A good quality food processor.
2. A mixing bowl.
3. A mixing spoon.
4. Paper bags for storage.
5. An oven, if you have to dry your meat or berries.

8 Steps On How To Cook Pemmican

The steps on this recipe don’t take long and you’ll find it to be easy. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Cut Into Strips

If the meat needs to be dried then cut it into thin strips and lay it on a baking rack in an oven preheated to 170 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It should take about 4 hours and will be rock hard dry when ready.

Step 2. Berry Dry Time

Similarly, for the berries, you can dry them in the oven. Put them on a baking paper-lined sheet pan in an oven heated to 225 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3 to 3.5 hours.

Step 3. Grind

Use a meat grinder to grind the meat into shreds. This is optional, you don’t have to grind it. Small chunks of the dry meat work just as good, it’s preference.

Step 4. Add Berries

Then add an equal amount of dried berries and grind again.

Step 5. Perfect Meat Texture

Take the mixture out into a mixing bowl. The meat should have the consistency of course powder and the berries should be chunky.

Step 6. Pour Molten Lard

Now pour in the molten lard and mix with a spoon. The fat will hold the mixture together. Add sugar to taste.

Step 7. Nik-Nak Patty Whack

You can form the mixture into small patties with your hand and store them paper bags. It can be refrigerated for longer storage.

Step 8. Survive and Thrive

Enjoy your pemmican as is, boiled or in stews.


So there you have it. A recipe that has been passed down through generations and is considered to be one of the best survival foods around.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it calls for simple ingredients that can be customized according to one’s taste. Do give this recipe for pemmican a try.

I hope this article on how to make pemmican like the pioneers did helped you understand the recipe better. You might also like our recipe post on how to make mud apples and also how to make Mormon johnnycake.

Do you know any other ways other than the traditional Native American way of cooking pemmican?

Pemmican Recipe: How To Make It Like The Pioneers Did | The Survival Journal (3)
Pemmican Recipe: How To Make It Like The Pioneers Did | The Survival Journal (2024)
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