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The Historic Survival Food: What Does Pemmican Taste Like?

Popular among survival foods, pemmican has a North American origin and is a food that unites travelers.

They’re compact and nutrient-dense foods with a similar preparation to beef jerky.

But is it appealing to the palate? What does pemmican taste like? Its flavor is entirely subjective and depends on a few factors.

So, this article will discuss pemmican and compare its taste profile to the much-similar beef jerky.

Besides, you will also find tips to cook pemmican and make it taste better.

The answers are only a few scrolls down.

What is Pemmican?

Pemmican is a complete food made of dried and pounded meat shaped into patties.

The meat is seasoned and combined with other ingredients.

Animal fat helps bind the elements and retain a compact structure.

Ground meat/fish, lard, and dried berries are the ingredients of pemmican.

The ingredients are combined into a paste and sun-dried until hardened.

This could be preserved for months or years and was particularly important during winter when food was scarce.

Because the food contained meat, travelers could rely on it to satisfy their hunger and please their palate.

Pemmican originated in North America and soon became a food for explorers.

Indigenous communities in the region used it as a harsh-climate food.

Today, you can use the oven to make the drying process quicker and freeze it for use on days when you’re too bored to cook.

You can even consider it a meaty protein bar.

What Does Pemmican Taste Like?

The recipe you follow will determine how your pemmican tastes.

But since most involve dried meat, they taste like beef jerky but with more flavor and smokiness.

Pemmican may also contain a sweet and tart undertone if you add berries to the recipe.

The berries preserve well and provide a depth of flavor to the meat.

Depending on the seasonings you’ve added, pemmican can taste bland or savory.

If you consume pemmican as is, it won’t have much flavor as you’re only eating dried and concentrated meat.

It will have a dry, chewy, and crunchy texture, which is perfect for pairing with a hot beverage.

Besides, you may also quickly get squeamish if you eat too much.

However, when you rehydrate the pemmican in water for 30 minutes, it becomes moist and tender, releasing all its flavors.

It can also make great soup bases, gravies, and sauces and need minimal seasonings to enhance its flavor.

Rehydrated pemmican also tastes great when you cook it with fresh veggies.

It gives you the essence of consuming a balanced meal and adds more texture and color.

If you’re planning on making more complex dishes with pemmican, you can directly add it to gravies and broths instead of rehydrating it in water.

When you compare pemmican to beef jerky, you will find that the former is a lot fatty and calorie-rich, while the latter is relatively lower in carbs, protein, and fats.

As such, pemmican is nutrient-dense and more suitable for travel.

Although pemmican uses lean meat, the fat/lard used to hold the ingredients together makes it fatty.

This isn’t entirely bad as it gives you more energy, making the food travel-friendly, especially when you want to travel light.

How to Cook Pemmican?

Unlike beef jerky, pemmican uses much more ingredients and requires a complex process.

So, here are some tips for cooking the best pemmican every time:

  • Use a variety of berries to add complex flavors: Instead of settling for one berry type or two, consider using berries with complementary flavors. Raisins and currents are some popular options. Also, remember to ground them into a fine powder to release the maximum flavor.
  • Dry and ground the meat: Removing moisture from the meat helps preserve the nutrients and makes the preservation process quicker. Also, it is essential that you round the meat into a fine powder, as this allows the seasonings to penetrate deeper. .
  • Salt the meat to prevent bacteria growth: Salting the pemmican mixture adds flavor and prevents potential bacteria growth in the meat. It also helps extract moisture from the meat and readies it for preservation. .
  • Don’t go heavy on the seasonings: Since pemmican needs to be preserved for a long time, its flavors will condense and become more flavorful. Remember, you’re not going to eat them right away, and the ingredients will marinate in the seasonings you add.


As a food, pemmican has a long history of being the staple food of indigenous communities in North America and becoming the food that unites travelers and explorers.

Today, anyone can prepare this food, adjust the standard recipes, and enjoy this food when in a cooking rut.

Pemmican contains seasoned meat, fat, and berries, so it is nutrient-rich.

If you dislike the taste of pemmican, rehydrate it and use it in other recipes to transform it into a flavorful meal.

What Does Pemmican Taste Like? Does it Taste Good?

Intrigued by pemmican's flavor? Curious if it's a delectable snack? Let's examine the taste of pemmican and whether it's satisfying to eat.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 4 Servings


  • Pemmican
  • Ingredients from your favorite recipes


  • Depending on the ingredients used, the cooking method, and the type of dish, the taste of the food can vary greatly.
  • Make sure to select a recipe that will elevate the food’s original flavor, and enjoy experimenting with different recipes!
Keyword What Does Pemmican Taste Like
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