We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Pemmican?

By S. N. Smith
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Pemmican is a concentrated, ready-to-eat food that originated with the Native American tribes of North America. Today, pemmican remains in use as a high-protein, calorie-dense fuel for body-building weight lifters and as a survival food with a long shelf life.

Functioning as a high-fat, high-protein energy bar, pemmican was used by native peoples, trappers, and traders, even early Arctic explorers — any individuals needing a relatively imperishable food source that was rich in calories and that would store well for overland travel or times of scarcity.

Pemmican was made chiefly from buffalo, but any lean game meat might find its way into the mix. Deer, elk, moose, even caribou, were all utilized, according to availability. Bear generally was avoid, as it tends to have a higher fat content.

To make pemmican, the lean meat was first cut into thin strips or slices. The meat strips were then dried completely by laying them out in the sun or hanging them from racks over a slow fire. When absolutely no moisture remained in the meat and it was hard and brittle, like jerky, the meat was pulverized between stones until it was broken into very small pieces. The small particles of meat were then combined with hot tallow, or melted beef fat, in roughly equal proportions.

Sometimes, other ingredients were added to improve the otherwise bland character of the pemmican. Well-dried cherries, blueberries, or Saskatoon berries were common enhancements. These were stirred into the meat-and-suet mix while it was still fairly liquid. Admiral Peary, the American polar explorer, was said to have favored his pemmican flavored with raisins.

Meat-and-suet pemmican was a tradable commodity in the nineteenth century. The pemmican mixture was poured while warm and still malleable into large sacks made from buffalo hide. The sacks were then sewn shut and the pemmican within was compressed into stackable cakes that were traded, in these hide sacks, at forts and outposts. Properly prepared and stored pemmican had an amazingly long shelf-life — measured in years — and was a convenient food source to stack and store.

Some modern-day performance athletes such as heavy-weight lifters still rely on calorie- and protein-rich pemmican for an energy boost. A 3-ounce (84-gm) bar of pemmican will contain about 20 grams of protein and provide approximately 400 calories. Pemmican bars, plain and flavored with dried fruit, can be purchased on the Internet from commercial suppliers.

Recipes for pemmican are also available online, and the process for making it is not difficult, provided one has access to a dehydrator or a drying oven. By all accounts pemmican is a bland food, consumed for function more than flavor.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.