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Food Handling General Discussion General and open discussion for food handling and safety.


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Old 08-23-2015, 05:21 AM   #1
rikun
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Default Crash cooling in commercial deep freezer?

Hi,

I sometimes need to crash cool whole briskets and butts, and have used a commercial deep freezer for that. It doesn't contain any food, it's designated for this purpose. But it's not really a blast cooler, just a freezer with lots of power.

Since whole butts are very large in diameter, it's really hard to crash cool the internal temp low & fast enough without freezing the outside.

Are there any food safety implications if the outside gets frozen a bit? The meat won't be frozen at any point after crash cooling, they just go into the fridge and after a day or two get reheated, pulled, and served while hot. I really prefer to pull and serve, I don't think the quality is there if I pull before chilling.

How about from quality standpoint? I've eaten butts that were crash cooled this way and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. I guess there are some structural changes when it gets frozen a bit.

I monitor the surface temps by IR thermometer and they were 14F on the surface when the inside was crash cooled to 42F.
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:59 AM   #2
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I'd be worried the butts or any thick cut of meat could end up being a bit mushy if not pulled/separated first since the middle won't be able to cool properly. But I'm no expert.
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Old 08-24-2015, 06:08 AM   #3
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The middle will cool properly, that's where my internal probe is. Well at least according to recommendations here, in less than four hours under 42F.

With the outside freezing a bit more, it can be done in less than two hours.

Maybe I'll try doing a "hybrid water ice bath" placing a big container of water with some ice blocks in the freezer and keeping it cool just above freezing. And chill in that water bath in the freezer.
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:51 PM   #4
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Years ago, I was taught that you never crash cool in the freezer, even a walk in will suffer some temperature loss, and heat loss is much slower than desired. The exception would be blast freezers that can cool to below 30°F in a matter of minutes.

Here is the method I was taught.

1. Prepare a large ice bath, at least twice the volume of the meat you will be placing in it. The Bath should be at least 50% ice, but, more is better to about 70%. The balance should be cold water.

2. As the meat comes off of the cooker, place it in heat proof plastic bags (oven roaster bags are ideal, they are heat and cold resistant, large and offer no off flavors). Loosely tie each bag with a zip tie or wire tie. You want air to escape.

3. Submerge the bags in the ice bath, once submerged, the bags will compress against the meat and the heat transfer will be maximized. Clip the bag to the wall of the ice bath.

4. Generally, a packer brisket treated this way will cook to 40°F within 30 minutes, a butt will be closer to 45 minutes. Monitor internal temperature, do not remove until IT reaches 40°F

This will produce and end product that preserves the quality of the meat as closely as possible. It is also food safe, as the meat never remains in the "danger zone" for more than one hour.
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Old 08-25-2015, 04:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
Years ago, I was taught that you never crash cool in the freezer, even a walk in will suffer some temperature loss, and heat loss is much slower than desired. The exception would be blast freezers that can cool to below 30°F in a matter of minutes.

Here is the method I was taught.

1. Prepare a large ice bath, at least twice the volume of the meat you will be placing in it. The Bath should be at least 50% ice, but, more is better to about 70%. The balance should be cold water.

2. As the meat comes off of the cooker, place it in heat proof plastic bags (oven roaster bags are ideal, they are heat and cold resistant, large and offer no off flavors). Loosely tie each bag with a zip tie or wire tie. You want air to escape.

3. Submerge the bags in the ice bath, once submerged, the bags will compress against the meat and the heat transfer will be maximized. Clip the bag to the wall of the ice bath.

4. Generally, a packer brisket treated this way will cook to 40°F within 30 minutes, a butt will be closer to 45 minutes. Monitor internal temperature, do not remove until IT reaches 40°F

This will produce and end product that preserves the quality of the meat as closely as possible. It is also food safe, as the meat never remains in the "danger zone" for more than one hour.
Landarc was nice enough to help me with this suggestion some time ago. It works great!! I do it all the time for butts I make for the guys at work
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:06 PM   #6
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Yup, ice bath.
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