Buying and keeping large portions of meat can be an effective way to stretch the budget and still have the option of affording high quality meats. In this case, most people are typically utilizing their freezer to store meat for longer periods of time. Here are a few rules to live by that will help maintain the integrity of your proteins.
The ideal circumstances for storing meat is in vacuum sealed portions that can be pulled from the freezer and used for 1 or 2 days at a time. If vacuum sealed is not an option, reusable freezer bags will do. Try to avoid freezing cuts in paper as they will be more exposed to air and it’s likely to become a mess when thawing.
* When deciding what meat to freeze and what to use first, it is a good rule of thumb to avoid freezing leaner cuts. This is not a hard and fast rule, but the leaner the cut, the more likely it is to develop freezer burn. This is because leaner cuts have a higher water content. The fattier the cut, the better it will freeze (ie freeze pork belly before pork chops, or ribeyes before porterhouse).
* If you are freezing fragile proteins, such as fresh cased sausage, it’s recommended that you freeze them without being stacked. This will ensure the protein keeps it’s natural shape until frozen. Once frozen, you can then stack them together for more efficient storage. You don’t want to smash a fresh protein because you put it into the freezer and stack other proteins on top of it.
When you are planning on thawing meat from the freezer, it is best to plan ahead and pull the frozen cut from the freezer to the fridge and let it thaw slowly over a period of one or two days. We do not recommend short cutting the process unless absolutely necessary.