(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links because I will shamelessly throw them in whenever I can!)
So I told you all how excited I was for Zaycon’s chicken to hit the market here. And man was I stoked! I got two boxes I was so excited… which means 80 lbs of chicken entered my house! After two days of working to get all my chicken taken care of, I’m finally done!
I realized that some of you might really want to buy bulk meat (whether through Zaycon or grocery store sales or straight from someone who raises animals) but don’t know what to do with it all once you buy it and bring it home! So I’m here to help. Because it’s kind of a project. A big one. But it’s one that will pay off in the long run.
I’m no stranger to bulk meat storage. I grew up on a cattle ranch. Once or twice a year, we butchered a beef and needed somewhere to put all that meat. My parents had a huge upright deep freeze. That was our solution.
When my husband and I got married, we bought a smaller chest freezer that can hold 1/2 a beef easily and can cram a full beef in if we use the freezer space on our refrigerator. A freezer is a wonderful investment that will quickly pay for itself if you have the room for one! (This picture is an affiliate link to one that is very similar to ours and, if you order from this link will result in me receiving a small commission.) I’ve also heard you can sometimes find great deals when people are moving or even at thrift stores or garage sales! So keep your eyes open!
Until recently, the only option I knew for long term, bulk meat storage was freezing. (Unless I felt up to making jerky that is. And let’s be completely honest here, jerky doesn’t really qualify as “storage” since my husband and boys devour it immediately.)
I loved having lots of meat available but I hated that it was all frozen. It can take a long time to defrost some of this stuff you know! And my spacey mom brain often forgets I need to get something out early in the day. Heck, sometimes, I’ll know all day long that we’re having steak for dinner and never make it to the freezer to get one out! I’ll get most of the way there and see that the laundry needs switched and game over! My brain gets distracted and I never get to the steak. I can do this several times a day, until dinner time arrives and we’re looking at a chest freezer full of brick-hard meat.
Chicken was worse for me. For some reason, when I defrost it in my microwave, it tries to cook. Which is gross. I don’t know why but it has always really grossed me out when my chicken starts cooking during defrost. So I hated forgetting to get out some chicken. This actually detoured me from buying and making chicken on occasion!
But now, in my wise old age, I know a solution. Not just for chicken (although that’s obviously what’s on my mind most right now) but for a lot of bulk meat.
Yup. Until my sister-in-law showed me that she canned chicken, I didn’t even know canning meat was possible! It is! It saves freezer space, and it tastes SO GOOD, and it is ready to eat straight from the jar if you so choose. Plus, it’s the easiest, best shredded chicken in the world.
I’ve canned beef stew, which I don’t normally like when it’s made fresh but loved from the can because the flavors are so much more developed. When canning meat, you have to use a pressure canner which literally smashes flavor into every fiber of the food in the jar, equaling deliciousness.
I only add a little salt to my chicken but it makes the best chicken and the the best broth, and I will never stop canning it. I thought about doing a whole post on the canning process but there are so many tutorials already. This is the one I use for my chicken. And this is the basic recipe I used for my stew. I will however throw in another awesomely timed affiliate link to a pressure canner because that is a necessary ingredient for any meat canning endeavor. This is a lot like the canner I use…except that mine is old! I love it and have never had any problems with it.
Canning also saves a lot of space. Of course, you need a pantry or cupboard or something to store the jars of chicken (or whatever meat you use) but I took about 40 lbs of the chicken and canned it into 14 quarts and 18 pints. Since I have a whole food storage room with lots of shelving, this works really well for me. I then froze the remainder pieces individually and put them in ziplock bags in the freezer.
Another great plan is to make a lot of freezer meals rather than freezing all of bulk meat individually. I actually made a huge batch of these chicken taquitos (but with red salsa instead of green) and my chicken enchiladas and froze them both. While it takes up a little more room, it saves lots of time and you don’t have to thaw your meat to cook it (because Zaycon chicken comes unfrozen as I’m sure other bulk meat might). Both of these recipes can be cooked straight from the freezer which is excellent. There are tons of freezer friendly meals that can be made ahead of time for all types of meats. Imagine everything you could make with hamburger you got a great deal on!
Hopefully some of these ideas helped you know how to tackle your bulk meat orders. And for anyone interested in Zaycon, they have excellent products, not just chicken but pork and beef and fish and all kinds of stuff! Click here to check them out! Tell them you were referred by Rusty Basket. I’ll receive a small credit toward my next purchase (because there will definitely be a next purchase!), and you can then get a code to refer your friends and get credit toward your next order! Win win win!