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Vacuum Sealer = Inferior
I made a hodge podge of ribs last night. Some elk ribs from 2012, moose ribs from 2017 and elk ribs from 2020. (I did a freezer deep dive and rotation day before) The elk ribs from 2012 had zero freezer burn whatsoever, yet the moose ribs from 2017 sure did. The moose ribs were vacuum sealed. The 2012 ribs were wrapped with shrink wrap. Like the kind that you use to wrap packages in a warehouse.
My dad always wrapped meat with shrink wrap. I now always wrap meat with bones in it that might pierce a vacuum seal bag that way, but that shrink wrap method is fool proof as far as spoilage. As the shrink wrap tightens, it pushes blood between the laters of shrink wrap which then freeze causing a perfect, air tight seal. I've never had anything go bad that way. The annoying part is, sometimes blood leaks out in the freezer and you'll get little frozen blood leaks on packages. Also, it just takes way longer. Also, it is more annoying to unwrap.
On a completely separate note, the elk ribs were out of this world, the moose ribs I would have given a 3/10. Just though still. Not sure why. All were smoked 7-8 hours and then put in a cooler for near another hour.
Could be when the moose rib package leaked, it dried out the meat.
That's interesting, thanks for the report.
I have also had bone-in cuts puncture holes in vacuum packaging and get freezer burn. My Father always wrapped his meat in Saran Wrap, then regular freezer paper. He rarely had any freezer burn or blood leaks, but that method also took a lot longer than a vacuum sealer. Has anyone ever tried double vacuum sealing bone-in cuts?
My dad owned a barbecue place when I was growing up and so the local butcher was a good friend. He ALWAYS said that the best way to wrap meat for long term storage was to use the "shrink wrap" type product that you mention and then butcher paper over that. That's how dad used to have all of our beef wrapped when we had one butchered and that's how he/we always did anything that we butchered at home. I still do it that way. Although we do use the sealer for vegetables, fruit, things of that sort.
JL, the moose package never leaked it was vacuum sealed. Grey Ghost I have tried double bagging and double sealing, but results still aren't as good as the shrink wrap. Anything I expect to eat in 2 years or less, or doesn't have bones, and especially ground I will vacuum seal. If it's got bone protrusions or for some reason I want to ensure long terms storage that will get shrink wrap. I'll prob throw the shrink wrap piece inside a vacuum seal bag to avoid blood in the freezer.
Apauls- did you notice if the moose package was still air tight? Another point to add, if there is absolutely any moisture or blood that gets up in the seal when you are vacuuming the package it will not be sealed tight. That can cause freezer burn when air gets in there. Ive had packages I thought were sealed, but werent because blood or moisture got in the seal. I could open the packages with my hands. Not good.
Great idea for a thread OP, I’m in for info.
Any links to the shrink wrap material you referenced that is food grade?
FWIW, I bought some heavy food grade bags for meat ( transport) on Amazon
I love my vaccuum sealer. I almost never seal bone in meat ( I bone most of it out in the field) ….and my stuff never makes it more than 3 years…thus I don’t have the experience some of you have
I’ve paid a guy to cut and wrap the last several elk I’ve shot. Not only does he make the best breakfast sausage I’ve ever had he also does a great job wrapping the meat. His first step is to wrap the cuts in food grade meat wrapping paper (this isn’t butcher paper, it’s much thinner and fragile). He then wraps that in plastic wrap and lastly he wraps it all up tightly in butcher paper. For ground meat and sausage he puts a pound in a plastic bag, submerges that in water to remove all the air, ties the bag with a easily removable knot then wraps that in butcher paper.
He also does some interesting cuts such as false tenderloins, thin tips and others I can’t think of. I’ve never had to trim any of his work before cooking.
I hope he continues providing this service as long as I continue to hunt since he does a much better job than I can do myself. He also raises excellent beef and pork and sells those on reservation a couple of years out.
I have found good quality butcher paper to preserve the meat from freezer burn, I haven't gone 10 years but 3 or 4 and no problem
Timely thread!! I'm starting to question vacuum sealing myself. Most times its good, but sometimes it leaves air pockets and I get freezer burn after a while. I have an older Food Saver and newer one from Cabelas (it says heavy duty, but not sure about that). Seals on both are good. I don't package with bone in either. I got away from vacuum sealing ground meat and now use the plastic bags. Seems to work better.
You probably need to remove some of those walleye fillets from the freezer so you can see what you have there in the bottom, Adam. I can help.
I used to shrink-wrap then butcher paper 20 years ago. Now I zip-loc bag, squeeze the air out by submerging in water, then butcher paper. I've had packages as old as 5 years still perfectly fine. Biggest reason I switched was because it's such a PITA to get that shrink-wrap off again.
The shrink wrap is getting more difficult to find around here I've noticed. I can still order it but can't find it locally as often as I once could.
We commercially wrap everything in freezer plastic first then freezer paper. It works fantastic. The stuff we vacuum seal is always wrapped in plastic first then sealed. If the bag loses its seal then it still has the plastic wrap to help protect it. It works really well with bacon. Stuff with a bone in like a ham roast has a bone guard over it then wrapped in plastic. What I would really like is a roll stock machine or a vacuum sealer with a heat shrink tunnel attached on one side. We have wrapped in plastic and freezer paper for close to 31 years now and I don’t see that changing.
Is there a difference in shipping shrink wrap and food grade wrap. My customer has 8 inch by 16 inch rolls of wrap that they wrap pallets of mail in before allowing the post office truck to pick it up. I can get there almost empty rolls any time I want.
I'm ready to invest in a better vaccuum sealer than the $100 and under cheap models that only last me a few hundred pounds of meat. Suggestions??
I’ve heard those things are a “bugger” SIP! ;-)
I’ve always been satisfied with my Cabela’s (using Cabela’s bags) until recently, when I used some Food Saver brand bags, and noticed it didn’t seal well. Appeared to initially, but after a couple months in freezer, you could tell. It seems obvious that the uneven, grid textured surface of the Food Saver bag would be harder to seal than a smooth surface(like the Cabela’s brand bag)
I prefer to package meat the old school way. Shrink wrap and then butcher paper. I find it last much longer than vacuum seal. Vacuum seal can get damaged too easy and get air in there
I find most vacuum sealers seal slightly frozen meats better. I freeze for a few hours in ziplocks then seal meat with vacuum sealer. You don’t get all that juice interfering with suction and heat seal.
I shrink wrap and then vaccum seal. Helps stop moisture from interfering with the seal and I think helps protect meat even more
I shrink wrap with Reynolds plastic wrap and then meat paper. Never a problem. For cuts like loins I keep them in large sections and then cut into steaks when preparing for the grill. Air is the enemy and the less surface area you provide, the better.
Oh yeah?! I shrink wrap, wrap in butcher paper, vacuum seal, dip in wax, then freeze to -85degF. Just kidding.
Are there species differences in how long they stay good frozen? Seems like apples and oranges.
The quality of the meat is one of my favorite things about hunting. I feel like a pilgrim when I get some venison, trout, turkey, or squirrel out of the freezer that I cleanly killed and my wife cooks it to perfection. I may be overdoing it, but we use plastic wrap and double freezer paper. This thread is making me hungry.
Not shrink wrap. But, I use Saran Wrap and then butcher paper over top that. While my deer never make it to next season, I’m eating homemade beer sausage and Cajun sausage I made four years ago. It is perfectly fresh and still tastes yummy.
Fuzzy, about 3 years ago I purchased a Weston from Costco. If I remember right it was about $300 or so? I've gone through 6 other "food saver" brands - they just don't last.
As far as getting a good seal on moist cuts - I do as was mentioned put in freezer for couple hours. OR I just put a paper towel in the top of the bag and then seal - If I have any concern I double seal.
A few years ago we took a couple sealers with us and packaged a complete elk in camp (truck camp with a generator and freezer) at about 9,300 feet. When we got back home in MN we had to re-seal everything. Going from that altitude to low loosened all the bags. Or it was the fact we had 2 of the cheap "food saver" brand sealers??