The Original Native American Pemmican Recipe!

The Original Native American Pemmican Recipe!

Native American Pemmican Recipe

The Native American Pemmican Recipe was perfected hundreds of years ago by North American Plains Indians. They actually invented it! Pemmican is a tasty, concentrated, nutritionally complete food. It was originally made during the summer months from lean dried buffalo meat and rendered animal fat as a way to preserve the meat during the long hard winter months.

Authentic Native American Pemmican
Authentic Native American Pemmican
Pemmican was easy to store and transport as the Indians followed the buffalo herds throughout the North American Plains. Indian scouts would carry pemmican with them when they were away from their tribes for months at a time. Some Indians preferred pemmican as their main food source. When properly stored, pemmican can last for many years.

Pemmican has to be stored in a dry dark space for maximum preservation. It is crucial to keep light and moisture away from your pemmican. There is no need to refrigerate or freeze your pemmican. Some people do freeze their pemmican. I choose not to, I recommend you do the same. You don’t want to ruin perfectly good pemmican.

The Discovery of Pemmican by our Early Pioneers & Frontiersman

Frontiersman from the 1800'sOnce America started expanding west, frontiersman, trappers and pioneers soon discovered pemmican. Pemmican became highly sought after by these people and a huge business opportunity was born.

Realizing there needed to be a supply for this new demand, the Hudson Bay Company purchased tons of pemmican from Native American tribes. The shipments would come in animal hides sealed with rendered animal fat. They usually weighed about 90 pounds, give or take a few pounds. You can learn more about the Hudson Bay Co. at

Saskatoon Berries
Saskatoon Berries

There were two types of pemmican. One type of pemmican was a mixture of 50% lean meat and 50% rendered fat by weight. The other type of pemmican was similar in ingredients with 50% rendered animal fat, 45% lean meat, 5% dried and ground berries by weight. Indians used Choke cherries and Saskatoon berries which are similar to blueberries. They are found in the Great Plains area of the United States.

Choke Cherries
Choke Cherries

The Ultimate Survival Food is …

The ultimate survival food is pemmican. All you need to survive is pemmican and water. You can survive on this diet for the rest of your life without any nutritional deficiencies developing. You read that correctly, no fruits, dairy or vegetables are required to stay in top physical health.

Now you can see why our forefathers and Indians relied so heavily on pemmican. Below is a screenshot I got off of It is a nutritional chart for lean beef pemmican. This chart is based on a daily 2000 calorie diet.

Pemmican Nutrition Chart

Based on your size, metabolism etc. You may need to eat more than 2.2 ounces of pemmican a day. The chart above is based on a 2.2 ounce a day diet. Your metabolism will determine how much pemmican you need to survive. Just like anything else we eat, the more calories you burn the more calories you need.

Native American Pemmican Recipe – How to Make Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Food

I included an AWESOME video on how to make real Native American Pemmican along with a the same recipe written for you below. Please make sure you have your sound turned up. I’d hate for you to miss a second of this video. So go ahead sit back, relax and enjoy the video.

Native American Pemmican Recipe – Step-By-Step Instructions


  • Lean Meat – Native American Indians used lean meat such as buffalo, moose, elk and deer. You can also use lean beef or caribou.
  • Animal Fat – Native American Indians used pure animal fat. You can just ask your butcher for beef suet. It works just as well. Some people prefer fat from the kidneys but it is not necessary to make good pemmican.
  • Berries & Nuts –  The original Native American Indian recipe for pemmican has Choke cherries and Saskatoon berries in it. You can add blueberries, raspberries, unsalted nuts and dried fruits if you want. Some people add peanut butter and others add honey or both. I prefer the original Indian pemmican recipe. I use all original ingredients where possible. Everyone has a different taste. You can make it how you like.

*Special Note: 1 cup of dried meat equals 1 to 2 pounds of fresh meat. ( NEVER USE PORK!)

There are 2 Kinds of Pemmican

Basic Ingredients Pemmican #1:

  1. 1 Cup of Ground Dried Meat
  2. 1 Cup of Rendered Animal Fat

Basic Ingredients Pemmican #2:

  1. 1 Cup of Ground Dried Meat
  2. 1 Cup of Ground Dried Berries and Nuts
  3. 1 Cup of Rendered Animal Fat

*Special Note: The original Native American recipe called for only 5% of berries and nuts. What you do here is optional. I only use an 1/8 of a cup. It’s absolutely delicious!

Indians Making Pemmican
Indian Woman Grinding Dried Meat or Dried Berries To Make Pemmican


  1. How To Dry Out Your Meat – There are two ways you can dry out your meat. You can do it the old fashioned way and let the meat sit in the sun all day long. The second way to do it is put it in the oven at its’ lowest setting. The meat should be thinly sliced so it’s easier to dry out. Meat should be very brittle when dry. It should crumble when you break it up. If you are going to dry out your meat in the oven. Make sure to dry it out very slow so the meat does not lose any of its’ nutrition.
  2. How To Grind Up Your Meat – This can be easily done by using a food processor. You should grind your meat down until it is like a powder. If you don’t have a food processor you can cut the meat into smaller pieces and grind it up the best you can. Just like the woman in the image above.
  3. How To Render The Animal Fat – Rendering fat is very simple. You just want to slowly liquify it. There are two ways to render fat. You can do it on a stove top which needs constant attention. The second way to do it is place it in a roasting pan in the oven. Set the temperature between 225 – 250 degrees for twelve to twenty four hours. It can be left unattended this way. If you are doing it on a stove top it will be a lot quicker. Render the fat until it reaches 220 degrees and is liquified.
    *Very Important! Check the temperature with a cooking thermometer. Don’t let the thermometer touch the bottom of the pan! You won’t get an accurate temperature reading if you do.
  4. How To Mix The Meat With Berries & Nuts – If you want to add berries, nuts, dried fruit etc. Now is the time to do it.
  5. How To Add The Rendered Fat – What you want to do here is add two parts of fat to every part of meat. All you have to do is slowly pour the fat in to the meat while you are mixing it. This is where you could add honey or peanut butter as well.
  6. How To Form Your Pemmican – There is no right or wrong way to do this. The choice is yours. You can just simply pour it in to a baking pan and let it cure. Than slice it into candy bar sized pieces. You can also roll them into little balls like meatballs. My friend poured his into a muffin pan. It’s up to you!
  7. How To Wrap It Up & Store It –  After your pemmican has cured (Hardened) you want to store it. Cut the pemmican in to candy bar sized pieces. Than take the individual pieces and wrap them in foil or wax paper. Than you want to store them in a sealed plastic bag. I use a vacuum sealer to store mine. Remember to store your pemmican in a cool dark dry place. You now have your very own Native American Pemmican Recipe.

Now You Know How To Make Your Very Own Native American Pemmican …

The Lost Ways Hard Cover BookThe Native American pemmican recipe, when made correctly, is truly a super food. Pemmican is not just a survival food. You can even take pemmican hunting, camping or hiking with you too! I got this pemmican recipe directly from a book called The Lost Ways. Please read my Lost Ways review by clicking on the red button below.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. You can also email me by clicking HERE: Contact Jack!

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18 thoughts on “The Original Native American Pemmican Recipe!

  1. Hello there. This article reminds me of the time when I was a big fan of books about indians. Once I tried to dry smoked meat on a hot radiator. It was tasty because it was cold smoked meat like italian ham. Anyway, Indians and their culture associates with freedom and strength.

    This particular recipe can make somebody really happy, especially farmers who have animals. They can make pemmican to sell at the farmers market. I wonder if there are regulations from food regulatory agencies. I would like to know if I can sell pemmican?

    You mentioned about pemmican being cured. What does that mean?

    Thanks for the interesting article.

    All the best, Nemira.

    1. Hi Nemira,

      I love Native American culture. There are few cultures in the world that have more respect, understanding and love for nature. We can all learn a lot from their wonderful culture.

      Pemmican is just one of the many gifts from Native Americans. I know I’m going out on a limb here, it may be possible the west would have never been settled so quickly if it wasn’t for pemmican.

      If you were lucky, you could travel from New York to California in as little as 6 months. People carried everything they owned in those covered wagons.

      On a long journey, you need food, water and medical supplies. You could find water along the way. What about food? You had to carry food in case your hunting and fishing didn’t go to well.

      Pemmican was crucial for many settlers making that harrowing journey. Without it, many more people would have never made it to the end of the trip.

      It was dangerous enough, without having to worry about food. It’s impossible to know how many people never made it due to who knows what. The Donner party is a perfect example of what could go wrong.

      Anyways, you wanted to know if you can sell pemmican. I’ve seen it for sale on some sites. I’m sure there are regulations for selling pemmican. Home made pemmican is the best!

      And the answer to your second question is, cured simply means to harden. Letting your pemmican cure is the last step in making pemmican. When your mixing your ingredients, pemmican is in a semi-liquid state.

      Thanks for stopping by Nemira,


  2. I’m very eager to try this recipe. It looks like it would be a lot tastier than jerky! I’m curious, though. you say the meat should be ground up “like powder” and to grind it up as best you can if you don’t have a food processor.

    So how finely did the native Americans grind their lean meats? And did they use some special chopping technique? It’s hard to imagine chopping it to a consistency like powder with a knife!

    1. Hi Chazz,

      Pemmican is tastier than jerky and a whole lot better for you. The Indians would use a stone or tools made out of bone. They would take the dried meat and put it into a bowl or lay it on a flat rock. Then use their stone or bone tools to grind the meat into a powder.

      It takes a bit of work but it was done this way for centuries. Nowadays, we have food processors and blenders to do all the work for us. When the meat is dried out properly, it will crumble in your hand. Grinding the meat the old fashioned way is not as hard as you would think.

      Thanks for your question Chazz. You’re going to love pemmican!


    2. Hi again, thanks for the explanation. I think that every culture has a lot to offer to the rest of world. The Internet gives us the ability to learn about fascinating things. One thing that bugs me is the lack of respect for each other. Simple things as seeing the positive side of everything would save time and energy. We can learn plenty of lost ideas and things from native cultures. We lost touch with nature and we are paying for it. Such as the over use of antidepressants. Anyway, thanks for the great article, all the best, Nemira.

      1. Your welcome Nemira,

        We can learn a wealth of information from other cultures around the World, past and present. I’m always learning new things everyday as I research projects I’m working on.

        You are right about mankind losing touch with nature. Pemmican is a perfect example of a lost food created by people completely in tune with nature.

        I got the Native American pemmican recipe out of a book called The Lost Ways. This is a book about basic survival skills lost to us over the generations.

        These are the same skills Native Americans, early American pioneers and frontiersman used on a daily basis just to survive. We think of these as survival skills. This was just daily life in North America a 150 years ago.


  3. Hello

    Wow, very interesting article on the native american pemmican recipe, I have never heard of this before reading your article and I do have an interest in the native american ways.

    This must have been an incredible discovery for native americans to survive during hard times, I am sure they had a very rough life and it amazes how well they adapted and lived at that time.

    1. Hi Jeffrey,

      The Native American Indians are a very resourceful culture. They never took more than they needed from the land and used every bit of their knowledge of nature to survive and thrive.

      There are many other things they did to preserve their food. One example is, they would smoke their meat and fish to preserve for later consumption. You should give the Native American pemmican recipe a try.

      Thanks for your interest in my article Jeffery,


  4. I love buffalo and deer meat, but have never had the opportunity to try Pemmican. It sounds really good , and if the Native Americans were able to stay healthy and survive eating this then maybe there really is something to consider.

    Thank you for giving me more background on Pemmican. I did not know a lot of the information you provided.

    Thank you


    1. Hi Kelly,

      You’re welcome, pemmican is very nutritious and tasty too! There is a lot we can learn from Native Americans. I’m currently researching other Native American recipes.

      There is no sugar or preservatives in their diet. It’s amazing to me that this information has been forgotten over the generations. If you ever get the chance, give pemmican a try. You’re going to love it!

      Thank you for commenting on pemmican. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.


  5. Interesting food topic. I have never heard of pemmican until today. Thank you for sharing this along with some recipes.

    1. Hi J,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad that you liked the Native American Pemmican recipe. Give the recipe a try, it’s absolutely delicious when made correctly!

      Thanks again,


  6. What an interesting article about the history and origins of Pemmican. I like how you have detailed the process and instructions as to how to prepare the original recipe for Pemmican.
    Thank you for that. I was born in Africa, near South Africa and we were bought up on Biltong.

    Is this a similar product?

    How do the nutritional statistics compare?

    1. Hi Mark,

      Pemmican and Biltong are completely different in every way. Biltong is more or less a type of beef jerky which is made from beef or game meat.

      Pemmican is also made from beef or game meat. That’s where the similarity ends. Biltong is made from thinly sliced meat marinated in vinegar and salt then dried.

      Pemmican is made by drying out the meat than crushing it into a powder. Than the meat is mixed with rendered animal fat. Pemmican is nutritionally superior to Biltong.

      Pemmican is considered the ultimate survival food because of it’s nutritional value and it’s ability to be stored for many years without spoiling.

      Thanks for your questions Mark!


  7. Hi Jack, just saw this for the first time, wow and it sounds delicious, my question is can this be made using coconut oil instead of suet as i’m allergic to beef and pork?

    1. Hi Jenni,

      Unfortunately, I don’t think you can use coconut oil because it won’t have the intended effect that using animal fat does. Animal fat is what keeps everything together. If you are allergic to beef.

      Try using elk, deer or any other game meat. This is what the Native Americans used in their pemmican recipe. Pork should NOT be used in your pemmican recipe because the pemmican does not keep as long and will get you sick.

      If you want to try the original Native American pemmican recipe, you should use some sort of game meat. I prefer to use deer meat. Sometimes I use elk or buffalo meat which is delicious!

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and ask such a great question about the Native American pemmican recipe. Please come back and let me know how your pemmican turns out!

      Best wishes,


  8. As a Hunter, I have found Deer Fat uneditable. You are not saying you can use fat from Deer?
    Second question: I did not see how the Indians stored their pemmican? Yes, we have vacuum sealers, etc. Great!! But how did the Indians store it for long term use?
    Last question: Should the pemmican be dried completely before storing it?

    1. Hi Tim,

      You are right about deer fat, it is not edible. The Native Americans made their pemmican from buffalo which is similar to beef. The fat from buffalo meat was used in their recipe.

      The Native Americans stored their pemmican in animal skins and then sealed them with animal fat to keep light and air from the pemmican. This was a very effective way to preserve the pemmican and would last for years.

      Pemmican does not have to be completely dried but should be as dry as possible before you vacuum seal it. It should be stored in a cool dark place. You don’t want it to be exposed to light or your pemmican will spoil eventually.

      Back to deer meat, you can use deer meat to make pemmican as long as you use animal fat from beef or buffalo. Thank you for stopping by and asking such great questions.

      Happy hunting,


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