This Is the One Thing You Should Always Do Before Freezing Meat

updated Jun 21, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

If you take a look in my freezer, at any given time you’ll find at least one pack of chicken thighs, some ground beef, and maybe some pork chops. Often you’ll find even more than that. Because just like my mom did when I was growing up, I make a point to stock up on meat when it’s on sale, then I pop it in the freezer for later. I’ve leaned into buying and freezing meat even more over the last year plus of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic — everything from large trays of ground meat and pork loins, to family packs of chicken and sausage.

It’s made me feel prepared and organized. But when I told my mom about my freezer haul, she pointed out that there was one very important step I overlooked before freezing all that meat.

You Should Portion Meat Before Freezing

Despite having watched my mom do this all the time over the past several decades, I completely overlooked dividing large packs of meat into smaller, meal-sized portions before stashing it in the freezer. My error meant finding a way to use two pounds of ground beef when all I needed was one, and cooking up an extra-large batch of chicken.

Even though my mom is no longer cooking for a full table of hungry eaters, she still buys huge family packs of chicken, giant pork loins, and multi-pound trays of ground meat — because pound for pound it’s usually less expensive. These big packs of meat are way more than she’ll cook in a single session, but that’s OK because before freezing the meat for later, she divides everything into portions she’ll need for a single meal. Then she adds it to a freezer bag, labels and dates the bag, and stocks it in the freezer.

Portioning meat upfront makes it far easier to handle when you have it out of the freezer later; you have just what you need so you’re less likely to waste any food. And it means your days of using brute force to break apart frozen-together chicken thighs or saw through a frozen-solid brick of ground beef are over.

More on Freezing Meat

Do you do this too? What are your other favorite food-freezing tips? Let us know in the comments!