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Old 09-07-2012, 11:28 AM   #1
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Join Date: 06-16-12
Location: Nappanee, IN
Default I need input on smoking and freezing 2600# of fresh hams

I am helping with a "hog roast" for my local fire dept. Over the years it has progressed from whole hogs to just using fresh boneless hams. we do 2600# which means approx. 208 hams. I will be doing the smoking this year and my plan is to do 5 batches as my smoker will only hold 40 or possibly 42 if I stack correctly. I will be doing this over the next 3-4 weeks as I have time and help. I plan to bring them to a temp. hot enough to be able to pull them and then put in aluminum pans with crimp on lids and freeze until 3-4 days prior to our event. Does anyone see any problems with holding pulled meat in the freezer for 3-4 weeks? Also if anyone has any bright ideas that can help me out I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:18 PM   #2
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Just my thoughts; I would store in Ziploc bags and gett as much air out as possible. Also, it would be preferable to have a freezer that is NOT frost free. Frost free freezers promote freezer burn. Good luck 2600# is a huge undertaking,
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Old 09-13-2012, 06:14 PM   #3
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Location: Harrisburg, PA

The primary issues with cooling large volumes of meat are plenty.

Have you taken a Food handling course?
If so - then you know there are certain requirements and techniques to safely cool down cooked foods thru the danger zone.
If not - go get someone who has the knowledge to assist you.

For example - think of a mass the size and shape of a standard red brick - weighs a couple of pounds. That size will take longer to cool down based on its physical size and density.

Take that same brick - and spread the mass thin within a 1 gallon ziplock - shaped like a book. and place it between ice blocks/refreezable blue cooler blocks and watch how fast it cools down. Or you can also place it between two hotel trays of ice for a quick chill... before going into the deepest portion inside a walk-in in the lower elevation (knee level).

It all depends on maximizing surface area to an iced surface.

You do not want to put hot hotel trays full of BBQ (10-15 pounds per tray) into a cooled environment.
Improper cooling will risk unsafe foods to the public.

I would not want to be there when that happens... liability will not be kind.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:49 PM   #4
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Join Date: 10-16-08
Location: Virginia

That is a huge undertaking to try to cool that much meat, then trying to thaw and reheat the day of the event.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:26 AM   #5
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Join Date: 06-16-12
Location: Nappanee, IN

I appreciate everything that has been said. Yes I am a certified food manager. As far as cooling the product goes, I have found so far that a hotel pan filled level full and not packed down will be frozen solid in 3 hours or less(this meat is unsauced). I don't put the lids on until the product is at least chilled. I am putting this in a walk in freezer. I will be moving all of the pans to a walkin cooler several days prior to our event to allow them to thaw. Freezer burn does worry me some but I am unsure how bagging this many pounds would work very well. @BBQ Bandit. Please enlighten me a little more as I am relatively new to the area of cooling very much product at a time and you're making me nervous.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:55 AM   #6
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Location: Southern MN

How do you plan to cool 520 lbs of ham rapidly??
That is the biggest hurdle as I see it.

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Old 09-14-2012, 10:31 AM   #7
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Put the hams in pans on a table when you get them out, get a box fan and blow directly across the hams, if you have a airconditioner you can put behind the fan even better. You will be fine. Just make sure you get them low before you put them in the freezer or you will kill your freezer.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:29 PM   #8
somebody shut me the fark up.

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Join Date: 07-30-11
Location: Pemberton, New Jersey

As they stated, the safety factor in cooling hot food is a major issue.

For our VFW pig roast we cook some in advance and safely freeze in 1/2 pan trays adding apple juice after cooling. We plan to cook as much as possible the day of the event but it is not possible to cook all that day. Our first run is low and slow and then when those go on hold for resting we do a second batch hot and fast. The precooked goes into a 24" "Camp Chef" propane smoke vault that we use as an outdoor oven next to the cookers. We can heat 12 1/2 trays at a time in a controlled temperature. We also fill the warming box on the smoker and have a constant supply always hot and ready for serving.

I hope all goes well for you..
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