Vac-Sealing Fresh Meat?

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by s2k9k, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Since I got my Vac-Sealer a few months ago I have been buying fresh meat when it's on sale and Vac-Sealing it and freezing it. I used to just put it in Ziplocks or the package it came in. Well so far I have just done beef (hamburger and chuck roast) and it turns brown very fast. When I just put it in Ziplocks it would stay red/pink for a long time. I have cooked and ate some of the hamburger and it smelled and tasted fine. I have 3 good chuck roasts I just bought and froze 2 weeks ago and took out of the freezer last night to smoke this weekend and they are brown.  I don't think anything is wrong, when I bought them they were real red and I vac'ed them and froze the day I bought them. I'm just wondering if this is normal for Vac-Sealing?

    BTW I'm using a Foodsaver and bags from VSU.
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Here is an explanation from...   ...JJ

    When freshly slaughtered meat is cut into steaks, the muscle tissue comes into contact with oxygen in the air. The myoglobin in the meat binds this oxygen, forming oxymyoglobin and giving the meat a red color. However, if fresh meat sits for a period of time, generally over the course of several days, the structure of the myoglobin changes. The iron molecule in the middle is oxidized from its ferrous to ferric form and a different complex is formed called metmyoglobin. This compound turns the raw meat a brown color. The meat is usually still safe to eat when cooked, but the brown, unappealing color turns off most consumers. To avoid having your fresh meat turn brown, use it as soon as possible after purchasing it.
  3. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I kinda understand that Jimmy but I don't understand why I've had burger in ziplocks stay red for months before but in Vac-Seal bags it turned brown in weeks.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just a guess but maybe in Ziplocks there is still some Oxygen in the bag reacting with the Myoglobin maintaining the red color. When you vac pac Oxygen is greatly reduced, there is no new contact continuing the red color and the reaction completes, turning brown...JJ
  5. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Kind of what I was thinking after what you just posted. When i used ziplocks I tried to squeeze out all the air but I knew there was still some in there.

    So with what you posted, if you could slaughter fresh meat in an environment free of oxygen what color would the meat be?

    Not sure why I'm asking but sometimes I just get curious about stuff, I think my mind works too much sometimes! Probably why I'm addicted to this forum!
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Maroon with a Blue hue. Blood drawn from a Vein, oxygen spent Hemoglobin, is dark compared with blood exposed to the Oxygen in an open cut...JJ
  7. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I am still puzzled by this. Yesterday I bought another 5# chub of ground chuck and after making 4 burgers I divided the other 3#'s up and decided to do a test. I put 1# in a ziplock and squeezed as much air out as I could with my hands then sealed it. I took the other 2#'s and vac/sealed them 1# each. They all came from the same chub, were all at the same temp and all went into the freezer at the same time on the same shelf right next to each other with nothing on top or below them.

    They have been in the freezer for 1 day now and I looked at them and the one in the ziplock has a brighter red color than the vac/sealed ones. The vac/sealed ones are still red but a darker color. I am going to look at them each day and see what happens. I will update this with my results.

    Here they are right now after 1 day in the freezer, don't know if you can see the difference in the picture but I can see it:

  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Have you ever tried flash freezing the meat and then vac sealing it? I have not experienced the issue you are having - just thinking outloud
  9. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Not sure what you mean by "flash freezing" but no. I have always just stuck meat in a ziplock and put it in the freezer and have never had any turn brown. I just recently started vac/sealing it. I have only done a few lbs of ground chuck, the 3 chuck roasts and I have 4 london broils I caught on sale I plan on making jerky out of. All of the meat I have vac/sealed has turned brown within about a week.. I've eaten all the burger and the chuck roasts and they all tasted fine and I'm still alive. I'm really thinking it's like JJ said in post 4 above that it is the vacuum sucking all the oxygen out. I'll see what happens in a few days.
  10. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Just put on a sheet pan in the freezer to freeze then seal it 
  11. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Oh OK, well another experiment I will have to try.

    Wonder if I could put it in a vac bag but not seal it and let it freeze then vac/seal it? 

    Might have to try both ways.
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

     Sure you can Freeze in the Vac Bag then seal it...I do this all the time when I get Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast on sale. The meat is usually so wet that if I don't freeze first the liquid gets sucked up...Works for Tomato Sauce too...JJ
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
  13. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I almost forgot about this until I opened my freezer today. Well its been a week and there is definitely a difference in color, it's not real noticeable in the picture but I can really see it:

  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dave, morning....Interesting test..... I have heard, don't know if it is true, chubs are sealed in CO2 to stop oxidation and keep the meat red for the consumer..... maybe the vac sealer sucked out all the CO2 and that is why the different color......

    Anyone else know of the atmospheric injection in meat packaging ????   Am I all wet on this one....  Dave
  15. You are correct Dave. In the day when we hauled hanging beef over the road they pumped CO2 into the trailers after the meat was loaded and the trailer sealed up.

    They do the same with fruits and vegetables, they pick them while they are still green, load them in the trailer, gas them, and when they get to market they are ripe.

    The true test is which one will last longer in the freezer, and we all know that answer. 
  16. dad of four

    dad of four Smoke Blower

    I'm assuming you are not eating Raw hamburger, so the real test is how each batch taste.
  17. hsmama2boog

    hsmama2boog Newbie

    Hi there! I realize this response comes years after you posed the question.  I found this thread while researching this very same issue.  I purchased some lovely steaks for a birthday meal for my husband, but didn't want to freeze them, only to defrost them a day later and thought maybe it would be OK if I vacuum sealed it.  When I got up the next morning to find them brown, I was almost in tears!  I thought something had gone wrong!!  Upon researching, including on the site for my vacuum sealer, I have found that it's likely due to the lack of oxygen and happens often with vacuum sealed beef.  ;)  I hope this information is something you already found, but thought I'd throw in my findings just in case.
  18. yvonne

    yvonne Newbie

    Very informative thread about sealing meat and the color change. Answered many of my questions. Really loved it. 
  19. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great advice JJ. When I vac pack soup I usually balance it at an angle in the chamber to stop it pouring out and then have my finger on the vacuum stop button for the moment it starts to boil. Meat and veg I often freeze before - often to ensure that it keeps it shape - but I have not done it for soups/sauces. Freeze it first and then seal it - such a simple solution I am kicking myself not having thought of it before. Old age must be making me soft in the head !

  20. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Wait, so vac seal meat turns brown?  That sucks.  I was thinking about getting one of these sealers for fish I catch.  Is there anyway around this?

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