Saturday, 25 January 2014

Buying meat in bulk part 2

Now that you know how much meat you need you need to source it from somewhere. When you look at it a good option would look to be just to buy a whole, 1/4, 1/2 of a large animal. I am not fond of this method, while it is easy you don't get to choose your cuts, you end up with too much of one thing.

Some things to look for in a place to buy meat
- Buy from the meat packer or wholesaler
- If they butcher the animal on site or own the site it it butchered it is cheaper
- Look for places that offer you meat frozen and already packaged. (Usually only available for pork and beef, we freezer pack our chicken.
- Try before you buy (This is huge, you want quality)
- Talk to them about your meat, if they know their cuts that is better, how flexible are they?
- Compare prices, look for the best quality for the lowest price (I buy all my shrimp at Costco and canned crab)
- Don't dismiss cutting up whole meat yourself (We buy whole frozen  utility turkeys when they are super cheap , thaw them enough to be able to cut them up then freeze in manageable portions, the Turkey Farmers of Canada has good info on that)
-Don't be tricked by pretend bulk buys,
- Know what you eat, if you aren't adventurous in the kitchen don't buy cuts you won't eat, even if they are substantially cheaper. Buy what you will eat! Just because it is cheaper does not mean buying 80lbs of ground beef is the best choice. Or now is not the time to buy 10lb of beef tongue just because you saw it on Masterchef and have decided you are going to try cooking it, by all means buy a little to experiment with, but don't count on it.
-Budget, put a little money aside every paycheck to save up for it as it is a huge investment all at once.
-Don't plan to pick up all the meat on the same day. You need time to fit it all in the freezer and time to package it up. If it isn't frozen putting all that unfrozen meat in the freezer at once could raise the temperature to unsafe levels and spoil the food, or cause your motor to burn out by working too hard.
-Know your freezer size and put your freezer through a defrost before filling it
- Invest in a freezer lock and or alarm. (Nothing is worse they having someone not notice that they left the freezer open a crack and spoiling your food)
- Buy soup bones and make stock, there is nothing like fresh stock. I save my turkey bones and chicken bones and buy beef bones make stock then can it in the pressure canner. It is well worth the effort. Not only is is cheap you know exactly what went into it, there is no hidden MSG and it tastes better then the store bought stuff anyways :)

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