Meat Preservation and Tips

Cool tips and frequently asked questions about meat storage. There are different ways you can preserve the meat you buy at the grocer, or from the butcher. Follow these tips, and you will always have a good meal.

recipebutton Dip the steaks into any oil, wrap and freeze quickly in a single layer. When frozen (24 hours) they should be stuck into zipper bags for additional protection. If you use a flavor-infused oil, so much the better.

recipebutton Brine the meat in 1 qt water, 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup sugar overnight. Pat dry, wrap in cling wrap, lay out to freeze, and put into zipper bag.

recipebutton Dry rub the meat, let it sit in the fridge for a day or so, wrap, freeze, put into zip bag.

recipebutton Single layers of wrap won't protect the meats, especially in a frost-free freezer. I use at least three layers; cling wrap, a zip bag and a zip bag. If you oil the meats and package them this way, they'll last a year with no noticeable quality loss. The frozen oil minimizes moisture migration in the meats. They will ultimately become rancid, but that's year off.

recipebutton The meats need to be frozen quickly or they'll lose a lot of juice when thawed. Slow-freezing lets long spiky ice crystals form in the meats. They puncture cell walls and the juices leak out. Your freezer should be set below 0 degreesF. Even better if you can get it down to maybe -20F.

recipebutton When thawing meats, do it in the fridge. Foods thawed under refrigeration will lose less moisture and retain a better flavor profile. It will usually take 2 or more days to thaw a chicken. maybe 12 hours to thaw a steak. Don't thaw meats or fish in warm water. Makes the meat dry and tough. Same for the mike.

recipebutton Frost-free freezers alternately warm and cool the freezer compartment to keep the frost down. That accelerates freezer burn. That's why I have a big, upright freezer that isn't frost free. With oiling and wrapping carefully, I can keep foods in the upright for a much longer time than in the frost-free freezer that's part of my fridge.

recipebutton Take meats to freeze out of the store packaging. That film is intended to let oxygen in. You want impermeable wrapping for your meats in the freezer. The only exception is when you buy big cuts like sirloin tips or whole rounds that are packed in cryopack bags. Then you can stick the whole thing in the freezer as is. The plastic wrap they use for that is airtight.


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