Making pemmican with coconut oil

Pemmican is a natural super food. Its the original energy bar. It consists of dried meat with rendered fat added, dried berries and honey were also added sometimes depending on the season. Pemmican was invented by the North American natives. It was eagerly adopted by the Europeans that came. For those reasons I have been very eager to try some but finding it locally is impossible. I’ve seen a few places online that have traditional pemmican for sale. The reviews however are mixed. Besides that I’m a DIY guy so I decided to make my own. Once again I ran into an issue. You can’t just go to the grocery store and buy tallow. So I got to thinking about using coconut oil. The list of health benefits is long, its a solid up to 76 degrees, has a neutral flavor and the big part is you can find it everywhere and fairly cheap.

I decided to make this recipe as plain and easy as possible. Normally I like to only use grass fed beef but since I was out and knew I would be replacing the fat with coconut oil I went ahead and used regular beef.

I started with one pound of ground beef. I cooked it in my skillet until all the pink was gone. Then I poured into a strainer and washed the meat off. Then I wiped the grease out of the skillet and cooked the beef a little longer the water was cooked off.
At this point I added it to my dehydrator while I slept. When I got up I checked it and it had reduced in size and was completely


I then added it to a bowl. The bowl was for measuring. Since we need equal parts dried meat to fat.


I had another bowl the same size so I filled and melted the coconut oil.


I eyeballed the level to check how much oil was needed. In the future I would instead go by weight since I ended up with too much oil



When I thought I had enough oil I went ahead and combined them in a bowl.

At this point you would add an other ingredients you had like dried berries, honey or spices.


After setting up in the fridge for a bit.

And after removing from the mold.

I figured I would cut it into blocks
for individual portions. The pemmican had other ideas and just crumbled into pieces.


Even all crumbled its surprisingly tasty.
This recipe is extremely calorie dense. It is not at all meant be an everyday food or snack. It is ideal for hiking, strenuous activity, extreme cold weather or as a survival food. So head to you local store and spend a few bucks to try out this easy super food.

18 comments to Making pemmican with coconut oil

  • We should head up to the meat processing plant and pick up some scraps to render our own tallow some time.

  • Angelea

    ok not as gross as I thought it would be. So you are not very good with short answers lol. Stick with the long answers.

  • Just had a BFO, (Blinding Flash of the Obvious)
    I have some ground venison still sitting wrapped in my freezer from last season. I also have some frozen Blueberries in the freezer too,(not yet dried), from the farm down the road
    Let you know how it turns out

  • Rebecca

    Has anyone tried this with animal fat or would coconut oil be better? I have an 6 day endurance race coming up and was thinking about making some pemmican from my venison and cherries. Do you all think it would last in a pack for 6 days?

    • Traditionally pemmican was made from animal tallow (rendered fat) so there are tons of recipes out there for it. Made correctly pemican should easily last six days and give you tons of energy for your race. Good Luck

  • Cymrie

    I’m sorry but I must correct you in one thing, and that is the fact that “Pemmican”, or otherwise known as traveling cakes, was NOT invented by the Native Americans of North America. This type of highly nutritious source of food was used in many parts of the world for tens of thousands of years, especially in Europe. Considering that humans did not originate in America, then obviously “Pemmican” did not originate here either.

  • robert brewer

    that is not pemmican! and the way you described is dangerous! you do not cook, the meat in pemmican you dry it . cooked meat in this recipe will go rancid quickly… you should do some research before you tell people how to do something.

    • It is not traditional pemmican but it is pemmican. The meat cooked to kill bacteria and then drained, washed and dehydrated is very safe for a long time. So get off your high horse. This recipe is safe.

  • robert brewer

    no sir you are wrong. and through your egnorance you are putting people at risk. Im not tryng to start a thing with you, Im typing this to tell readers to beware and do some research. ( as should you ) this recipe wouldnt last a day or two without refrigeration.. thats the point of dried meat! beware and do your research if you are reading this..

    • Actually I researched this very well. Making ground beef in this fashion has been used extensively. I’ve stored it safely in mason jars with no o2 absorbers for months. I’ve taken them on camping trips. The meat is thoroughly cooked then dehydrated completely. For over 8 hours. No moisture and no bacteria due to cooking first. It’s safe, I’ve done research and more importantly actually used it.

  • robert brewer

    but to give you credit ,and show im not just trying to slam someone, the coconut oil idea is freakin genius!

  • robert brewer

    everything else about your recipe is solid, but once you cook the meat all bets are off .even such that if you get your fat too hot it may cook the meat and become unsafe. Ive been a primitive technologist for almost 30 years and have made plenty of the stuff. if you havent yet, you will eventually get sick the way you are doing this. Again not trying to win a debate here just letting your readers know to be cautious, and dry the meat without any cooking. I’ll not respond here again so the last word is yours. if you are a reader considering this recipe be aware that anyone can put up a website and speak as though he were an expert, doesnt make it the case .. take caution.cooked meat no matter how dried will spoil, period.pemmican done correctly will last for years.

  • James Boschma

    I’ve wanted to make a batch of pemmican, but have the same issue with a source of tallow. Coconut oil sounds like a brilliant alternative, especially where I live (summer temps are low enough it should stay solid unless I leave my pack sitting in the sun or something). Is the basic recipe you’re using a 50-50 mix by volume? That looks like what I’m seeing in the photos and write up.

  • […] I cooked the ground beef until fully browned. Washed the meat off in a colander just like in the pemmican article. Added the meat back into the skillet to add seasonings and the salsa. I cooked it a bit […]

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