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Old 01-12-2004, 12:31 PM   #1
 
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Default Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

I have a question about freezing, thawing and refreezing meat. I processed my own deer this year. All my meat is nicely packaged in the freezer. I"ve packaged quite a bit of "cubed" meat, figured I would use it for stews and such. I just recently got a meat grinder for my birthday and I"m wanting to grind some of that "cubed" meat into burger. Is it ok to thaw the meat for grinding then refreeze? I"m wanting to grind a bunch of it, mix it with some beef or pork fat then repackage it in one pound quantities for future use. Is this ok to do or will I have to do this a portion at a time, as needed?

The other concern I have is that some of this ground meat may also be used to make some different types of sausage. Depending on the quanity and type of sausage, like a fresh cooked breakfast sausage, I may be required to thaw out the burger, make the sausage then freeze it again for future use. Is this safe?

Next year I'll definately be better prepared.



Thanks,
Toby Duff
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Old 01-12-2004, 12:57 PM   #2
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Default RE: Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

Bad idea to freeze thaw and refreeze. Bad, bad Idea.
Don't do it.
I do sometimes freeze, thaw, and can the meat. But thats it.
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Old 01-12-2004, 02:04 PM   #3
 
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Default RE: Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

What is it about thawing and refreezing that is so bad?

I assume you would suggest the skinning, quartering, de-boning and grinding all take place in a small time frame prior to freezing. Is this correct?

What would be your protocal for keeping for keeping the meat fresh throughout this period? It took me several hours (3-4) to completely de-bone and package my meat. To think I may have to double my time at one sitting in order to complete grind, mix and possibly regrind my hamburger/sausage meat may require that I rethink the quality of my grinder.

I was hoping it could be a little simpler, in that I would not have to tackle all of it in the same sitting or consecutive days.

Toby
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Old 01-12-2004, 02:39 PM   #4
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Default RE: Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

I have got a video and cook book from thes sausagemaker co. And it is common practice to freeze bulk meat, thaw, make the sausage and refreeze. People who say you shouldn't do this are paranoid or misinformed. Just don't let the meat get to warm. It should be kept at 38degrees or below, the colder the better. Also it is easier to grind when ice cold, if not it comes out mush. I,ve been thawing and re-freezing for years with no ill effects. Accept the desire to hunt and harvest more deer for sausages.
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Old 01-12-2004, 04:08 PM   #5
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Default RE: Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

Quote:
I assume you would suggest the skinning, quartering, de-boning and grinding all take place in a small time frame prior to freezing. Is this correct?
Not really. I usually skin and quarter and throw in the cooler for a day or two until I'm ready. Then I de-bone and do the rest when I have time.
I've left meat in the cooler for up to 5 days covered in ice.

From personal exp. the thaw and refreeze leaves the meat tasting bitter.
Now if made into sausage, that might be different as jerseyhunter said.
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Old 01-12-2004, 05:26 PM   #6
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Default RE: Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

I butcher my own deer. I reduce the deer into prime cuts in the field then pack it out. It then goes into a fridge for a day or two. I then complete the butchering , the meat cuts better when it is totaly chilled out. I package the prime cuts and freeze until use. I bulk wrap and freeze the chunks that will go into burger or sausage. After the season is over I take out all the bulk packages and thaw them just enough to be able to break them or cut them apart then they go thru my grinder. The meat grinds better if partialy frozen. I then either add fat and regrind for burger or add spices and regrind for sausage, repackage/stuff etc. and refreeze. Never had a problem. If you let the meat thaw completly bacteria can start to grow. The whole key is to thaw as little as possible, keep the meat as cold as possible and process quickly. The less time the meat is thawed the less chance you have for bacteria to grow.
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:47 PM   #7
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Default RE: Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

Sometimes I can't get game outta the woods fast enough and the dang thing freezes on me, so I thaw it out, but still keep it very cold so that I can grind it and cut it up with a knife, I don't use a saw unless I am sawing the feet off. This has happen to me quite a bit and has never defected, defected, defected defected defected, defected,defected me a bit. Bobby
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Old 01-14-2004, 02:26 PM   #8
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Default RE: Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

Never had a problem with frozen then semi thawing, grinding and freezing again. I have done it for years as I prefer to make small portions of sausage vs one batch, that way it is fresher and I can change the taste to not get sick of one style or flavor. I also will leave small portions of grinder meat for burgers(grind) when I need them, this will help it to last longer in the freezer(better to also freeze small portions of meat than a big portion in one bag!)

About the only problem I can see is letting it completely thaw, then refreezing it. This can cause bacteria growth and disflavours the meat, as mentioned.

If the carcass freezes before process I will thaw it a little(just so it is workable with a knife) to cut and wrap.
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Old 01-14-2004, 11:28 PM   #9
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Default RE: Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

Skeeter, for a Canadian you speak very good english, and I agree 100%.
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Old 01-17-2004, 11:09 AM   #10
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Default RE: Freezing...Thawing.....Refreezing Venison

Eh!!!
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