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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 11-03-2013, 01:28 AM   #1
Trailer Trash
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I have read a lot of interesting information here about vacuum packing pulled pork and freezing for use at a later date. Can you guys give me some input as to;
- Cook to final temp, then vac?
- Vac whole butts or pulled?
- Add apple juice before vac or to the reheat?
- Best size of package to freeze to make reheat time acceptable?
- Best reheating process?
- Vac/Seal equipment suggestion & source?
This may be too much to handle in one thread but hope you can help me.
Gerry
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Unread 11-03-2013, 03:26 AM   #2
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- Cook to final temp, then vac?
Yes (after a 2 hr rest to allow juices to re-enter the meat)

- Vac whole butts or pulled?
We pull and then bag.

- Add apple juice before vac or to the reheat?
We add cook juices back into the pork, after pulling, and have never had to add other liquids.

- Best size of package to freeze to make reheat time acceptable?
We have found that 1/2 gal packages work best for us. Big enough to hold a good portion but small enough to allow for graduated quantities near the end of a vend to avoid too much waste. YMMV.

- Best reheating process?
We use a gas grill with restaurant pans (or an oven if available onsite)

- Vac/Seal equipment suggestion & source?
Can't help you much on this one. We use Ziploc bags. We have found them to be cheaper and just a good for packaging for "short term" (up to 2-3 months) storage. There are many threads on this site with Vac Pack machine info. You could run a search to find them.

Hope that helps.
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Unread 11-03-2013, 01:01 PM   #3
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Thanks Bizz, it does help!
Gerry
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Unread 11-03-2013, 04:17 PM   #4
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As far as the vac sealing goes, if you're looking to do large quantities of pulled pork, and doing it often, I would recommend a Weston Pro vacuum sealer at a minimum. Foodsaver works well enough for the home consumer that's just trying to save items they bought in bulk, or marinating, or things of that nature, but if you're a hunter, or a caterer, or anything along those lines the Foodsaver starts costing you too much time to even be worth the hassle.

When we move and we start our boar hunting I'll definitely be investing in a Weston. For the moment my Foodsaver does the job, but the moment it dies I'll probably just go ahead and get the Weston.
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Unread 11-03-2013, 04:39 PM   #5
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- 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.
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Unread 11-03-2013, 07:10 PM   #6
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can you vacuum pack food and the serve to the public with a food saver legally in any state?
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Unread 11-03-2013, 07:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kurtsara View Post
can you vacuum pack food and the serve to the public with a food saver legally in any state?

In Ohio you must cook on site at festivals and catering unless you have a liscensed kitchen.
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Unread 11-03-2013, 07:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtsara View Post
can you vacuum pack food and the serve to the public with a food saver legally in any state?
In KS you can use this method for vending/catering as long as you follow proper food handling/temp procedures and operate out of a HD licensed kitchen. In KS you can not sell "packaged" meats/foods unless they have been processed in a licensed "food processing facility". Check with your local HD for guidance on regs in your area.

This link may help also. More than you ever wanted to know. It focuses on canned jellies/jams but the basic information is the same for most all food products.

LINK
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Unread 11-04-2013, 05:57 AM   #9
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can you vacuum pack food and the serve to the public with a food saver legally in any state?
No. In order to even use a vac sealer for commercial use you have to have a HACCP plan in place.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 08:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
No. In order to even use a vac sealer for commercial use you have to have a HAACP plan in place.
Thnx Bubba. It was on the tip of my tongue and I couldn't remember the name. lol

HACCPRegs
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Unread 11-04-2013, 09:26 AM   #11
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I use a Mini Pack MVS45 vacuum chamber that has a built in printer that is set up for HACCP regs. MVS45 is expensive but you can get smaller models. For all my BBQ when taken off the smoker it is put directly into a freezer then packaged when the meat hits a minimum of 40* or less. BBQ is then placed in formulated boil in bags then into vacuum chamber , pork shoulders are pulled prior to going into the freezer then packaged. I do one pound bags of pulled pork reheated in simmering water, one pound bags take less time to reheat and if a customer wants three pounds there just as happy with three one pound bags.

Last edited by gator320; 11-04-2013 at 10:05 AM..
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Unread 11-04-2013, 04:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
No. In order to even use a vac sealer for commercial use you have to have a HACCP plan in place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gator320 View Post
I use a Mini Pack MVS45 vacuum chamber that has a built in printer that is set up for HACCP regs. MVS45 is expensive but you can get smaller models. For all my BBQ when taken off the smoker it is put directly into a freezer then packaged when the meat hits a minimum of 40* or less. BBQ is then placed in formulated boil in bags then into vacuum chamber , pork shoulders are pulled prior to going into the freezer then packaged. I do one pound bags of pulled pork reheated in simmering water, one pound bags take less time to reheat and if a customer wants three pounds there just as happy with three one pound bags.
It must be worth the risk?
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Unread 11-05-2013, 06:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gator320 View Post
I use a Mini Pack MVS45 vacuum chamber that has a built in printer that is set up for HACCP regs. MVS45 is expensive but you can get smaller models. For all my BBQ when taken off the smoker it is put directly into a freezer then packaged when the meat hits a minimum of 40* or less. BBQ is then placed in formulated boil in bags then into vacuum chamber , pork shoulders are pulled prior to going into the freezer then packaged. I do one pound bags of pulled pork reheated in simmering water, one pound bags take less time to reheat and if a customer wants three pounds there just as happy with three one pound bags.
How do you price to hide all that extra expense?
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Unread 11-05-2013, 08:52 AM   #14
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Except for equipment I have very little over head. Everything is packaged and froze. Whole racks of ribs sold by weight $9 a pound, pulled pork and pulled chicken all $9 a pound, brisket sliced and packaged $10 per pound. Very little profit off the ribs; money maker is the pulled pork and chicken. Just word of mouth no advertising and no catering. Not getting rich but having fun. I also use my MVS45 to package meat brought to me by local butcher who slaughters whole cows. That brings in a few bucks.
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Unread 11-05-2013, 09:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtsara View Post
It must be worth the risk?
Theres no risk when your flying under the radar.
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