Saturday, November 21, 2009

Freezyer Meat

I got quizzed on my previous post about how and what I used to do this so I will let y'all in my secrets:

Ground Beef
1.  I use a 80/20 blend because too lean a ground beef tastes like cardboard.  Fat may not be your friend but damned if it don't have flavor.
2.  I cook it in one or two batches in the biggest pot I've got.  I can do about 4 lbs at once.  It takes a lot of stirring to get everything browned evenly but just look at it as an upper body workout.
3.  I lightly drain the meat by pouring it into a colander.  I don't want to lose all the fat because it will lose flavor and dry out when reheated.
4.  I don't season the meat.  What?!  Freezing changes the flavor of some things.  Things like onion and peppers can become overpowering and bitter.  When it's time to be used I can just saute up what I need in the time it takes to defrost  the meat in the microwave.  This way I can make sure the flavors and seasonings for the dish I'm making are just right.
5.  I thoroughly let the meat cool before freezing.  This will keep the freezers temperature from plummeting when I put it in and also help when packaging.  Don't want to burn those fingers!
6.  Don't skimp on the packaging.  I am lucky enough to have a FoodSaver machine.  But if you don't, don't worry.  Cheap freezer bags are just that- cheap.  I've found that I had to double up on them which doesn't save any money in the long run.  Use a good name brand freezer bag like Ziploc Freezer Bags.
7.  Air is the enemy.  Don't overstuff your bags, 3/4 full at the most and about 3/4 lb of meat per bag.  After filling the bag, lay on its side and flatten the meat.  Open one corner of the bag and smooth out as much air as you can.  Then reseal and freeze flat.  This not only helps you fit more in the freezer but also makes defrosting quicker.
8.  Date and label.  No one like mystery meat.

1,  I use boneless, skinless breasts.  I also trim them of any fat.
2.  I put the breasts; however many I have or will fit, into a crock pot along with 1 to 2 cups of water and whole bunch of Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute.  I cook this on high for 4-5 hours or until the breasts fall apart.
3.  I drain the them in a colander and let them cool completely.
4.  I use two forks to shred the meat.
5.  Package the same as the ground beef.
6.  Date and label.

Hope this answers some questions!  If you have more, just leave a comment.

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