Packaging Meat After Cooking
Meat Hacks: Packaging Meat After Cooking
Learn the steps to follow when packaging meat products after smoking or cooking with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.
How to package meat products after cooking
Whenever you cook meat snacks like smoked sausage, jerky, snack sticks, or any other smoked and cured meats, there are a couple steps we recommend following before packaging. First, cool the product immediately after your smoking and thermal processing is done. You should NOT cover the product while it is cooling down, so you can prevent condensation from forming and so that the outside of the meat product can be dry, especially if you used a cold water shower or bath as part of your cooling process you’ll want the product exterior to dry out before packaging. Once you’ve cooled the meat products, you should then let them sit out at room temp for 1 to 2 hours before packaging to begin equalizing with the ambient room temp so you again don’t have condensation begin to form. For a product like snack sticks or jerky where shelf stability is the goal, you can also lose shelf stability when moisture is introduced into the packaged product because moisture creates an environment where mold can potentially grow. Snack sticks and jerky are also meant to have a lower water activity and if you do not let the product cool before packaging and condensation forms in the package or the outside of the meat snack, then you won’t have the same effect and ability for a longer storage time without some packages and product going bad, growing mold, etc. Another benefit to removing moisture from the product and preventing condensation before packaging for meat snacks with casings is to prevent small ice crystals from forming and going through multiple freeze and thaw cycles which can actually separate the casings from the meat and in turn also lose the snap or bite the casing helps add to the meat snacks when biting and eating.
To sum things up, when you are ready to package your meat snacks or other products, the product to be packaged should have a dry exterior and should be equalizing with the ambient room temperature so you can avoid moisture on the product or condensation build up in the package, which will help with your overall product quality, reduce chances for mold to grow, and help products with casings stay intact if they are frozen and thawed.
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