How to Store Meat from a Meat Packing Plant

When you purchase your meat from a meat packing plant, you’re almost always getting a better deal than when purchasing from a major retailer. Many of our customers, then, actually prefer to buy their meat in bulk, so they can maximize the amount of money they’re saving.

With that being said, buying meat in bulk sounds nice in theory, but it leaves one hanging question: how do you keep all that meat food-safe for as long as it takes to eat? Though there are many ways to store your meat, you may be surprised by how easy it is. Today, we want to discuss how you can store your meat for months (or even years) at a time.

Buying in Bulk from a Meat Packing Plant

The first question to answer is this: how much meat are you buying?

As we’ve already discussed, buying in bulk is almost always the most cost-effective option. However, you should be prepared to make a rough meal plan if you intend to buy in quantities that could last multiple weeks or more.

Depending on how much meat you plan on consuming each day, you should prepare to store accordingly. As an example, if you purchase 30 lbs. of meat and eat ½ pound a day, you’ll want to make accommodations for two months (60 days) of storage. But if you and your family are eating 3 lbs. per day, your storage methods can be much simpler, since you’ll only need to store for 10 days.

All in all, just ask yourself: how long will it realistically take me to eat all the meat I plan on buying? If you’re unsure, any meat packing plant worth its salt will be able to give you a little guidance in the process.

Once you have an answer, move on to the next section.

Specifics of Safe Meat Storage

If you want to store for a year (or even more) in advance, then even the USDA won’t rain on your parade: they say that meats “…are safe indefinitely while frozen.” But how do you store butchershop meat for such long periods of time? Well, here are the three steps we recommend:

Organize Meals in Advance

First, you’ll want to make sure your meals are portioned correctly in advance. This isn’t just to make your meals more convenient—it’s actually integral to food safety.

If you do not portion out your meat in advance, then you’ll likely have to thaw and re-freeze excess meat, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. The best way to avoid this is just to portion out your meat ahead of time, so you only ever thaw as much meat as you need.

Double-Wrap or Vacuum-Seal

Now that you’ve portioned out your meat, you’ll want to double-wrap or vacuum seal it. Vacuum-sealing is the method we recommend first, since ensures that every cut of meat is locked in. That being said, not everyone has a vacuum sealer at home that they can use.

To double-wrap your meat, the USDA recommends that simply keep the meat in the package you purchased it in, then tightly wrap over the packaging using saran wrap.

Freeze it—Quickly!

Now that you’ve double-wrapped or vacuum-sealed your meat, put it in your freezer ASAP! After only 2 hours at room temperature, meat becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and is no longer food safe. Additionally, meat staying out for longer makes it more likely to dry out, creating an undesirable flavor and texture as it undergoes the freezing process. As a result, we recommend freezing your meat as soon as you can.

Other General Rules

While we don’t have time to get into specifics, we want to leave you with a few important rules of thumb for storing meat. These rules are:

  • Don’t store opened packages of meat for in your refrigerator for more than 2-3 days at a time
  • Sealed, unopened packages of meat (such as lunch meat and hot dogs) generally aren’t safe after 1-2 weeks.
  • Freeze or refrigerate your meat within—at most—2 hours of it being out of storage.
  • Never thaw your meat at room temperature, and definitely don’t leave it out on the countertop for more than 2 hours.

That concludes our blog post for the month of march! If you’re looking to purchase high quality meat in bulk and at low costs, then click here to contact us today and place your order.

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