What is ugly chicken?! The best way to preserve chicken for shelf-stable storage, that’s what it is! Instead of getting freezer burn or going bad when the power goes out, use this step-by-step guide to pressure can chicken, and have a meal ready by simply opening a jar!
When pressure canning chicken with the raw pack method the most common comment I heard was that it was unattractive in the jar. I would have to say that any meats commercially canned would be equally ugly if we purchased them in jars instead of tin cans. Soon I coined the phrase “ugly chicken”. It helps keep expectations real.
I would have to say that the top two things that I am known for are toilet paper and ugly chicken. How’s that for a legacy? Ha!
Personally I think that it is beautiful to see a shelf full of home-canned meats. I also understand that some people are aesthetically driven. If that’s the case with you, pressure canning ugly chicken may not be for you.
There is another way to can chicken that is less “ugly” and we’ll cover that another day.
What Kind of Chicken Should I Use?
For ugly chicken, we use boneless skinless chicken breast. Cut it into pieces around one inch and place them into the jar. You can use pints or quarts. We tend to use pints because as the old rhyme goes “A pint’s a pound, the world around.” and for most meals, we only need a pound of meat.
How to Make Ugly Chicken
Step 1: Prepare chicken breasts
Cut your chicken into approximate 1″ pieces.
Step 2: Fill jars
As you fill your jars, push that chicken down, I mean cram it in. Leave an inch headspace in the jar. This is all that you’ll be adding to the jar. No spices, no liquids, just chicken. By leaving it plain you are allowing for greater flexibility when it comes time to use it.
Step 3: Wipe rims
Once your jars are all filled wipe the rims with water or vinegar.
Step 4: Lids and Rings
Place new canning lids on each jar and put the rings on “finger tight”.
Definition of finger–tight. Adjective. (not comparable) As tightly screwed as can be made by the strength of one’s fingers, without the use of any tools: that is, without any special equipment.
Do not crank that ring on.
Step 5: Prepare canner
Fill your canner with 3 inches (or what your manual recommends) of cool water. The contents of the jar will be cool, so should the water.
Typical pressure canners can hold 8-10 pints or 7 quarts. If you have the 23 quart presto canner then with the aid of an additional rack you can double-stack your pint jars. If you prefer to can your chicken in 1/2 pint jars you can also double stack those.
Step 6: Pressure can ugly chicken
When pressure canning chicken the following rules apply for the various size jars.
- 1/2 pint – Same time as pints – 75 minutes at 11lbs of pressure (or for your altitude)
- Pint – 75 minutes at 11lbs of pressure (or for your altitude)
- 1 1/2 pint – Same time as quarts – 90 minutes at 11lbs of pressure (or for your altitude)
- Quarts – 90 minutes at 11lbs of pressure (or for your altitude)
Check out our video below walking you through the process.
How to Use Ugly Chicken
Ugly chicken can be used for so many different things. Think of it as pre-cooked chicken you did in your Instant Pot, skillet or even from your food storage Costco canned chicken.
- Chicken salad
Ugly chicken is a staple around here and I’m certain that you’ll love having it on your shelves also.