- Cook to final temp, then vac?
Yes, I cook the product until it is done. You can't really assume the product will be properly reheated by the customer. Or if you are in a hurry, for that matter. Fully cooked product is the only way to roll.
- Vac whole butts or pulled?
Depends on what and how you are marketing. If you are vacuum sealing for sale, then pulled is the way to go. But, if it is for your use in a shop or vend situation, then the larger the chunk you can seal up, the better your end product will be at time of sale. Pulled pork, or that matter, any BBQ, loses quality in terms of both moisture and texture the minute you part the meat. If I was vending, I would prefer to add an hour to my prep time so I can reheat full butts, then serve pulled pork that was frozen.
- Add apple juice before vac or to the reheat?
If you freeze it, don't add liquid, make sure it is tightly vacuum packed as possible. If you are just chilling it, add a little. Remember that it will be a little moist when you reheat it. I don't like to add moisture when I freeze it, as moisture will condense as you freeze it and that will be the moisture for reheating. Adding more just makes mush.
- Best size of package to freeze to make reheat time acceptable?
That all depends, again, in how it is to be applied and how you are serving. If you are trying to serve from vacuum packs heated at service, then do them serving size. If you are just preserving the meat for bulk service, then I would do them in 2 to 3 pound packs. And just try to plan when I need to start reheating. Use the boil bag types bags and things are easier, as they can be heated.
- Best reheating process?
I prefer to heat in an oven or cooker, not in a boiling bath or hot water oven. but, you do what you have to for any given cook. Hence my advice to splurge on the boil-in bags, gives you the most options
- Vac/Seal equipment suggestion & source?
The best you can get, and if possible, from a local source, at least for the machine. Foodsavers are fine for home use, but, the duty cycle is very limited.
I'm feeling bearish, and I'm packing a Wusthof Grand Brisket slicer from MABA
Whip It Off, Chambers!
"perhaps...but then again...maybe not..."