Question on Freezing Meat

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Jun 20, 2007
Troy AL
In general is there any special things to do when freezing and thawing out
meat where it will still be in great shape to smoke. Looks like spare ribs might
be on sale this week and I might stock up. I have a beer fridge in my shop were I can let them thaw out slowly in it.
When I freeze meat, I either keep it in it's origional packaging or put it in a plastic freezer bag and make sure all the air is out of it to prevent freezer burn. To thaw it out, I go the safe route of putting it in the fridge to thaw. I never nuke, so in a pinch I'll put it under cold running water. It will thaw faster than letting it sit at room temp.
My best friend for freezing meat is a vacuum sealer. Once you get the hang of vac sealing you can add six months or more to the recommended freezer shelf life of meat. And actually I believe you can hold a product much longer than that. The manufacturers are a bit shy about going out on that limb.

My experience is that if vac sealed meat products are kept at -10F you can plan on a 18 month shelf life at the minimum. It is probably longer but I have never pushed that envelope.

To add more to that, if you are storing a large amount of meat, say, a side of beef, you could invest in a deep freeze. The cooler temp will allow you to keep your meat even longer. Especially if used with a vac sealer.
And an additional piece if info: debone your meat. Now I know this is not possible with ribs. But deboning cuts like a butt and all game meat avoids "bone sour" which shortens the frozen shelf life of your product.

When I butcher I separate all the muscle groups from the bone. This my preferred method of preparing any meat for freezing.

And I agree with a deep freeze. My preference is for a chest type of freezer. Easier to maintain good temp, especially when I lose my power as often as I do out here in the boonies. A generator helps but not when I am working long hours.

Just bear in mind that you will need to establish a good method for marking and rotating your frozen product. "First in, first out".

Hope all this helps!

I agree with the vacuume storage. Since I purchased mine, thats all I use. If it is in cryovac. Thats better yet. Thicker plastic and an excellent seal...
I agree with most of what was said but I did want to add - never freeze in the store packaging with the foam tray and shrink wrap. It's has to much air and will ruin the meat very quickly! Always rewrap or use a vacumm sealer unless you plan to use it within a week or two.

If you don't have a vacumm sealer you can use plastic bags and squeeze out most of the air then suck out the rest with a straw and twist it or zip it quickly while you are sucking the air out. It works but not as well.
I would like to add if you dont have a vac sealer, and you want to store said item for a long time, try freezing the meat in old (cleaned out of course) milk
jugs/cartons. Fill with water, submerge meat, then freeze. Just make sure everything is totally submerged. Works especially well with fish. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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