OMG There's So Much Meat!
February 18, 2012 11:16 AM   Subscribe

How do you divide frozen foods, especially meat, between two freezers? We have a regular refrigerator-freezer in the kitchen for items used daily. Then there's a back-up refrigerator-freezer in the garage for beer and meats that we buy in bulk and freeze until we need them. I can't figure out a good system for deciding which meats get stored in the kitchen freezer and which get stored in the garage. Every method I try gets all confused within a month or two. So how do you do it?
posted by DrGail to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What about doing a meal plan for the week and moving that week's meats to the inside freezer on Sunday?
posted by chiababe at 11:26 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

if i had a backup freezer, all of my frozen meat would go there. nothing there is on a daily use, all of it has to be prepped/thawed. i might put seafood in the kitchen freezer, just because it's easier to defrost on the fly.
posted by nadawi at 11:27 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I split things into servings or recipe portions before freezing, then all I have to worry about is proximity and leaving enough time for defrosting.

"Which meats," though, leads me to think you're trying to describe something more complicated or preferential.
posted by rhizome at 11:28 AM on February 18, 2012

When we are organized enough to plan ahead*, we move stuff from the chest freezer to the kitchen freezer based on whatever we need for that week's menu.

*We've been that organized like, three times in 20 years. So I stuck small magnet-backed dry-erase boards on the side of each freezer and keep those updated with what's in there and imposed a "woe-is-s/he-who-forgets-to-keep-the-list-updated" household rule. Also, chain down the dry erase marker to the whiteboard, they walk off on their own.
posted by jamaro at 11:31 AM on February 18, 2012

My mother doesn't really store any meat in the fridge freezer except bacon, weiners and shrimp -- things that might get used on a few moments notice and which don't need defrosting prior to cooking. She mostly keeps frozen vegetables, bread, and baked goods in the fridge freezer.

Meat all goes in the garage freezer (which is a full freezer, not just another fridge, which might skew the whole question), as does anything more than one loaf of each type of bread that she keeps on hand.

Do you have enough non-meat that you can maintain a split of meat in one place and non-meat in the other?
posted by jacquilynne at 11:32 AM on February 18, 2012

I have a chest freezer in the garage that holds a cow. I don't bother trying to restock the kitchen fridge/freezer - just take the frozen meat from the garage when you need it and place in the kitchen for thawing. Why do you need to keep frozen meats in the kitchen freezer?

I use the kitchen freezer for drinking ice, veggies, ice cream, and leftovers.

I do keep the garage freezer sorted between steaks, ground meat, stew meat, organs, etc so that it's easy to find what you need when you go out there.
posted by jpeacock at 11:35 AM on February 18, 2012

If the garage freezer isn't big enough to store all the meat (or if it's hard to keep organized), divide your supply according to type. E.g., chicken and fish in the kitchen, beef and pork in the garage.

The way you do it doesn't have to be the most logical way. Try different ways till you find one that actually simplifies your life.
posted by wryly at 11:56 AM on February 18, 2012

Nthing what everyone else says: meat in the chest freezer. Also came to say that I wouldn't put beer in either freezer. It could explode!
posted by two lights above the sea at 12:33 PM on February 18, 2012

I keep day-to-day stuff in my kitchen freezer: sliced bread, some frozen veg and fruit, hot dogs and ice packs (I have a 4 yr. old!) I like to keep that one at most 2/3 full.

The rest stays in the big back freezer. I keep all the raw meat back there so I know it's at a more regulated temp. I'm not opening and closing that one all the time.
posted by wallaby at 1:30 PM on February 18, 2012

We've got 3 freezers, but the inside freezer doesn't really hold much. Chest freezer gets big hunks of meat, stuff for stock, and the otterpops, upright gets the smaller cuts shelved by type and largest to smallest cuts left to right with the top shelf or two mainly being freezer meals\stock\butter\etc. (the stuff with the higher turn over rate that doesn't fit in the inside freezer). Inside freezer (which is a side-by-side) gets veggies, icecream, smaller portions of stock (for making pan sauces), ice, bread, popcorn, etc. (the stuff with the highest turn over rate). For me it makes more sense to sort things by type then to have to remember which hunk of meat's where.

One thing to consider is keeping a spreadsheet of what's in which freezer and when you got it, but honestly that's more for meal planning than anything else. I get my meat in whole\half animal increments, so it's a pain trying to remember what I have and haven't used. The spreadsheet might be a bit much if you tend just to buy what you'll use that week or is a really good buy.

Oh and you should always try and stack things so that the things that have to be cooked to the highest temperature are on the bottom. That way if one of those accidents happens where things get defrosted, you don't have to throw out your frozen corn because the chicken dripped on it.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:42 PM on February 18, 2012

Everything I'm not going to eat within the month goes in the freezer that doesn't have an auto-defrost cycle.

If I'm going to cook a roast or such next week, I'll pull that meat out of the big stable freezer when I'm next down there doing laundry.
posted by introp at 9:35 PM on February 18, 2012

If one of these freezers doesn't have auto-defrost, stick everything for long term storage in there, especially meat and fish. Auto-defrost is very hard on the exterior of meats in the long term.
posted by ssg at 11:40 PM on February 18, 2012

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