Summer? It’s in the bag!

In Tips and Hints on October 27, 2010 at 11:00 am

Homemade MRE: "Meal - Really Excellent"

A vacuum sealer falls into the category of “things you never gave much thought to until you have one”.

Freezing has always been my favourite way to preserve foods.  I guess that is because I have always mentally characterized canning as rural-American Russian Roulette…

…”I wonder if this jar will be the one containing the extra fun of botulism?”

Vacuum sealing facilitates one of my summertime passions; meat rubs and barbecue.  Unfortunately, I now live in the America’s weather answer to the Ukraine…Iowa.  For almost six frozen months of every year, my smoker and grill lie dormant.

By the time spring arrives with its first warm grilling day, I used to be as meat-deprived as the only surviving vegetarian member of the Donner Party.

The FoodSaver vacuum sealer put an end to the mid-January onset of my barbecue Jones.

All summer long, my smoker and grill turn out pounds of smoked brisket, barbecued chicken quarters, and hamburgers; each seasoned with my own rubs.

The finished meats are set on a medium-sized baking sheet and placed in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  Meat juices and fatty liquids are not friends to vacuum sealers and the freezing solidifies the juices and fats in the meat.

After the meat has set, I quickly vacuum pack the nearly frozen meat, label the sealed bag, and toss it into the freezer.

These (pre-portioned!) meats are perfect for lunches year-round and are just the ticket to the tastes of summer when the snow is tukkes-deep.  You simply defrost the meats in the sealed bag, with their juices.  The meats can even be fully reheated in the bags if you stand close by to monitor the heating process.

I have blind-tested grilled meats stored this way against freshly grilled meats (oh the sacrifices we make for science).  The result?  Okay, it is not perfect.  But the meat has all of the character of grilled meat that cannot be reproduced indoors.

For a barbecue junkie, like me, it is summertime in a bag.

The FoodSaver sealer retails for about $150-175 and a HUGE box of rolled bags retails for about $40.

Editor’s Note:  Meats stored in vacuum packs MUST be frozen for long-term storage or refrigerated for immediate use.


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