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Freezing Meat for Catering

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Hi, I've been searching the internet for some assistance on the topic of freezing smoked meats, and I have found this site so I thought I would see if any of the shared knowledge here could help me. 

 

A buddy and I are looking at starting a catering business and have gone through all the steps to get licensed, inspected, etc.  In the process of that though, we have had multiple requests to do "Pre-Catering" where we will prepare X-number pounds of meat for clients and then freeze it for them to purchase and use for their Wedding, Reunion, Boat Show, etc. 

 

My question is this, after looking through all the guidelines for getting meat to drop to temperature fast enough to meet the FDA guidelines we are struggling to find a way to chill our meat/freeze our meat fast enough to meet the guidelines.  Has anyone ever tried to do this before for reselling or have any quick ideas on how to build a blast chiller?  We are looking at trying to freeze upwards of 300 lbs of meat at a time and if we were just doing it for friends I don't mind tossing it in the freezer and just letting it go as it needs to, but since it's to the public I want to be sure we at least come close to recommendations. :) 

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 2

Actually, pack the vacuum bags while the meat is still 140 to 170, you can then pasteurize the bags in 170 degree water, then you can take your time on the cooling process.  Obviously this won't work for meat which is cooked rare to medium well.  It does work awesome for pulled pork and brisket.  For rapid chilling of the vacuum sealed bags, Iced brine water tanks do an amazing job of dropping the temperature.  Once they are below 40 degrees F, you can just use a standard deep freezer (or ice chests with dry ice) to keep them ready. 

Then to restore the meat to it's original temperature, a hot water bath gets the job done fast.  As they were sealed in bags, no moisture is lost. 

In the long run, you will save money purchasing a high end (chamber style) vacuum sealer, it uses less expensive bags than the classic "food saver" bags. 

Good luck with your enterprise, it is a tough gig to keep a profit in.

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