Freezer died, need help rescuing meat

AndreaSoJuly 22, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I just noticed that my upright extra storage freezer must have died at some point last night. We usually buy meat in bulk from a local farmer, and currently have half a cow's worth of various cuts that have defrosted. The freezer temp did drop below 40, so I think my best bet is to cook the meat, vacuum seal, and re-freeze for later use.

I have a couple chickens in the crock pot right now....and am going to cook the pork chops for dinner tonight.

The hamburger should be simple enough to cook and re-freeze....and I have a ton of cubed steak that I am going to marinade and toss in my dehydrator for jerky....the roasts are still frozen, so I think they should be fine.

My question is about the steaks....I have a variety of rib eyes, t-bones and hangar steaks....I was thinking I could slow roast them all in the oven and then shred the meat for future use. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to temperature/method for cooking a variety of cuts at once. I'm hoping to come up with a tender end product, but I cannot divide up my batches by type of steak, etc....I just don't have the time. I need to throw everything in at one temperature and get it taken care of.

UGH! So frustrating. Thanks in advance for any advice!

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Cook it with onions and garlic (just cover it with them) and freeze in portions to use for whatever. Maybe add a bit of water, but you just want to slow-cook it at about 300 or so for quite a while, then shred and use for taco filling, tamale pies and anything else, seasoning as you use it.

Or this chili recipe - 10 pounds of everything :)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 3:43PM
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I agree, the only way to cook it all at once would be slowly, and shred only when it has finally become tender.

I'd be canning beef, but you have to have a pressure cooker and time for that. Shredded beef would be good though, for chili, for sandwiches, something like a French dip or with BBQ sauce, tacos, burritos, even pasta sauce.

Good luck, and my condolences, what a way to have to use up good steak.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 4:00PM
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To get it to cook more evenly, cut it into chunks, and cut it off the bones. Brown it in a shallow layer under the broiler and then cook it packed into a stock pot.

Consider roasting the bones in a separate pan and then making beef stock with them.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 4:03PM
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Thanks for the great feedback, everyone. I ended up doing a combination of the above- cut out bones to use for stock, and roasted the meat in a low oven w/ onions and garlic for 5 hours til totally tender, shredded, vacuum sealed and froze. It will be convenient to have it on hand for quick meals. Thanks again for the suggestions!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 7:42AM
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How could you freeze them, I thought your freezer went out?

If you got a new freezer you could have just refreezed them as they were not bad....


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:05PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I think you did a great job. When ours went out, I never even thought about cooking all that meat. We took anything salvageable to our neighbors. I had spent days (prolific apple tree) making frozen apple pie filling, and my neighbor got to take as much as she wanted in trade for freezer space.

We lost all the meat though.

If this ever happens again, I'll be cooking all the meat for sure!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:57AM
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cherig, I'm assuming that she either replaced the dead freezer, or that there was room in her freezer/refrigerator in the kitchen. Cooked and shredded beef takes far less space than frozen beef on the bone.

Beef can be safely refrozen, if it still has ice crystals, but the quality usually suffers. But, it'll still take the same amount of freezer space, so if I'm trying to cram a lot of beef into a smaller space, it's going to have to be cooked or canned.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 12:46PM
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I have lots of canning supplies for just this problem. We currently have four freezers full of EVERYTHING, including the meat of three deer from last fall. If we had a problem with electrical outage, I would be canning constantly until it was all processed. I have a propane gas stove and will always have one for this very reason.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:10PM
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