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Shelf life of cooked meats in freezer?

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    Shelf life of cooked meats in freezer?

    Doing an internet search, I was surprised that many sights (all that I looked at anyway) say the shelf life for cooked Brisket, in a freezer, is only 3 months. One site said wrapped properly, 3 months. Another said 3 months even when vacuum sealed.

    That is surprising to me. 3 months seems an awful short amount of time. I've only had a big freezer for a short amount of time (13 ft, self defrosting), and really expected I could keep vacuum sealed meats longer than that. Much longer....

    I've still got maybe 10 lbs of pork butt in 1 lb packages out there.... right at the 3 month mark. Maybe 15 lbs of brisket that has only been in freeze for 3 weeks. I'm using the meats in dishes more and more, instead of just eating the meat. Trying to stretch those dollars, ya know. So... the meat is lasting much longer than it used too.

    Is that REALLY the limit for keeping the meat stored in a freezer safely?


    #2
    No, it’ll last much longer. 3 months would be more reasonable for how long food will last in the freezer in a fridge/freezer combo. It lasts longer in a deep freezer because the temp is lower. Just make sure your freezer is staying below 0 degrees, -10 would be even better. My chest freezer runs -20 to
    -30. If vacuum sealed, the food will not have any loss of quality for a year and will still be good for a few years.

    Comment


      #3
      Yep, 3 months is the FDA recommended length of time that cooked meats be kept in the freezer. If you vacuum seal I would think you could get another month or so out of it, as the FDA recommendations are for the average person. But I will leave that up to you, mine never lasts that long.

      Comment


        #4
        And just to clarify, it is self defrosting and states it defrost the condenser after every 12 hours of compressor running time. I don't think that necessarily means the compartment gets above freezing though. But what do I know??? I've never seen the thermometer above freezing, and there is supposedly an alrm that goes off if it gets above 23*F.

        I keep it on the middle setting, and my thermometer shows that is -15*F.

        The indoor, fridge/freezer combo one I keep at 0*F

        Comment


        • mountainsmoker
          mountainsmoker commented
          Editing a comment
          Your keeping it at a good temperature. And no defrosting the condenser has nothing to do with the temp inside the freezer.

        • Red Man
          Red Man commented
          Editing a comment
          Self defrosting does not necessarily mean the temp will rise above freezing, but the temp will rise during defrost which makes the temp less stable than a chest freezer. And the condenser does not defrost, it’s the evaporator that defrosts...sorry, can’t help myself, I do refrigeration work.

        • journeymanjohn
          journeymanjohn commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the correction. I re-read the info, and it definitely is the evaporator that defrost.

        #5
        Not to say that meat in a freezer is good forever, but I've eaten lots of food that was in a freezer far longer than 3 months. It's going to taste off after a while, probably before it makes you sick. Hope I never find out otherwise.

        Comment


          #6
          To follow up on my answer above, here is the FDA chart I used to get my answer. If you read it closely the length of time recommended is for the quality of the item in the freezer. A freezer can keep something safe to eat indefinitely it just might not be very palatable. I have kept my home made bacon vacuum sealed for a year and it was as good as the day I smoked it.

          https://www.fda.gov/media/74435/download

          Comment


          • journeymanjohn
            journeymanjohn commented
            Editing a comment
            That chart should be a sticky around here somewhere, with the part about indefinite storage and quality emphasized.

          #7
          I have a small chest freezer, which doesn’t defrost at all, and food in vacuum sealed bags or cryovac, fresh or smoked, keeps well for much longer than 3 months. I feel that is a rule of thumb that applies to the self defrosting freezer in your fridge, more than a dedicated deep freeze. I do however think that any self defrosting model, due to temp fluctuations, will not keep food fresh as long as a chest freezer.

          I try to keep stuff in my freezer for no more than 12 months before using, but smoked two butts that a lady bought me from her deep freezer, for her, that were 2-3 years old. Her teenage sons ate 16 pounds of that pork without issue. She had been watching my Facebook posts of the smoker and asked if I was smoking could I toss her meat on too....
          Last edited by jfmorris; June 11, 2020, 08:10 AM.

          Comment


            #8
            USDA states “ The guidelines for freezer storage are for quality only—frozen foods stored continuously at 0 °F or below can be kept indefinitely.”
            This webpage with this info and chart is located here. It may be a duplicate of the page mountainsmoker posted above and if it is I apologize.
            https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safe...storage-charts

            Comment


              #9
              Donw Basically the same chart just different US agencies. Mine FDA your H&HS. Yours is prettier also. They both point out that there freezer length is only for best quality, that in reality food will be good indefinitely.

              Comment


                #10
                I have three freezers. Two uprights and one chest freezer. I would never try keep frozen meat longer than three months in the uprights - just seems that stuff gets 'freezer burnt' in those. The chest freezer I wouldn't hesitate to go for a year though...

                Comment


                • jfmorris
                  jfmorris commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes - the variations above 0F in the self defrosting uprights (never saw an upright that wasn't self defrosting) cause freezer burn over time. Vacuum sealed or cryovac might be good longer, with no air space to allow ice crystals to form.

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