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Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. Place a dishtowel on the bottom of another large stockpot to prevent the jars from moving. Add 4 inches of the hot water to the second pot and bring back to a boil. Lower the jars upside-down along with the lids into the water and boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the jars from the water and cool completely.
Fill the jars with the chuck roast, leaving 1 inch of space at the top. Next add a piece of onion to each jar, followed by 1 teaspoon of salt. Then fill each jar with some of the boiling water. Remove any air bubbles by inserting a butter knife into the jar and pressing out the bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth and tighten the lids onto the jars.
Bring another gallon of water to a boil. Place another clean dishtowel in the bottom of an empty stockpot. Lower the jars using a jar lifter. Add enough of the boiling water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Increase the heat to high and bring the water back to a boil; cover and cook until the temperature reaches 180 degrees F. Continue cooking, maintaining this temperature, for 30 to 40 minutes. The jars are sealed when the center of the lid is pushed in.
Place the jars on a cooling rack and rest, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
Label each jar with the date and store in a cool, dark place.
Properly-handled sterilized equipment will keep canned foods in good condition for years. Sterilizing jars is the first step of preserving foods.
Jars should be made from glass and free of any chips or cracks. Preserving or canning jars are topped with a glass, plastic, or metal lid, which has a rubber seal. Two piece lids are best for canning, as they vacuum seal when processed.
To sterilize jars, before filling with jams, pickles, or preserves, wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse well and arrange jars and lids open sides up, without touching, on a tray. Boil the jars and lids in a large saucepan, covered with water, for 15 minutes.
Use tongs when handling the hot sterilized jars, to move them from boiling water. Be sure the tongs are sterilized too, by dipping the ends in boiling water for a few minutes.
As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.
After the jars are sterilized, you can preserve the food. It is important to follow any canning and processing instructions included in the recipe and refer to USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.