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View Full Version : Are vacuum seal units worth it over ziplock freezer bags?


wahoowad
12-09-2017, 06:38 AM
Just the 2 of us here, and the missus doesn't eat much of the meat I smoke, so I put half of what I smoke in the freezer. Typically I use basic ziplock bags - sandwich, quart or gallon depending on how much I have to freeze. Sometimes I'll wrap the meat in plastic wrap first, or use a tupperware tub.

Maybe my taste palette is undeveloped, but I don't ever recall having an issue with the defrosted meat. Sure, if I dig it out after 18 months it might be all freezer burnt (and this happens :icon_blush: ) but usually I am getting to it within a few months.

Curious if I'm really missing out on something with the use of these vacuum seal units to make it worth having one more appliance stuffed in my kitchen cabinets?

DubfromGA
12-09-2017, 06:52 AM
A few years back I bought a super duper awesome vacuum unit.....used it some, but put it away and never use it.

Freezer bags & double freezer bags work great for my small family.

pjtexas1
12-09-2017, 07:10 AM
I double freezer bag meat more than I seal. To me the value comes from everything else I seal. I think it paid for itself just in keeping chips and cereal fresh. We used to throw out stale stuff all the time. Now we just reseal it the bag it came in. Anything that is in a bag can be resealed.

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WeberWho
12-09-2017, 08:15 AM
Check your local Craigslist for a used vacuum sealer. I found mine for under $15. I use mine when cutting down primals, dryaging, brisket, and pulled pork. The bags also work great for reheating. Portion out pulled pork or brisket to meal size and toss in the freezer. When you need a quick meal you can grab the bag and throw it in a pot of hot water and you will have food ready to eat in minutes.

EdLo
12-09-2017, 08:18 AM
I double freezer bag meat more than I seal. To me the value comes from everything else I seal. I think it paid for itself just in keeping chips and cereal fresh. We used to throw out stale stuff all the time. Now we just reseal it the bag it came in. Anything that is in a bag can be resealed.

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Is there a particular brand or model?

mstewart39
12-09-2017, 08:22 AM
I have a $40 food saver. I love it. I get freezer burn when I use just freezer bags. I donít when I vac seal.
I have no idea about the $200 units. Iíve had mine for over 2 years and I am extremely happy with it. Like WeberWho mentioned I use it to reheat pulled pork a lot. I use my Anova sous vide to reheat pulled pork or cook frozen fish.
I recommend it whole heartedly.


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sniperfx
12-09-2017, 08:24 AM
Use my vac quite a bit. No freezer burn. Also use to pack rub into meats at comps. Works well..:thumb:

brdbbq
12-09-2017, 08:30 AM
I have the 3440 foodsaver but I get bags in a roll and make my o

https://www.amazon.com/Nutri-Lock-Vacuum-Sealer-Commercial-FoodSaver/dp/B01LCKD5QW/ref=sr_1_12?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1512829704&sr=1-12&keywords=foodsaver+bags

Stlsportster
12-09-2017, 08:33 AM
I got a $70 foodsaver on Amazon prime day last year. Use it for meat and leftovers all the time. Buy 6lbs of ground beef at Costco for $3.30/lb ($6.99/lb in the grocery). Seal 3lbs into 1lb packs for tacos or chili or meatballs. Make and seal 3lbs into hamburger patties. Do the same with porkloins sliced into steaks, and other large volume packs.

Also works great for leftovers. Cook an 8lb pork butt and get 4lbs of meat. Eat 1lb for dinner and vacseal the rest into 1lb packs for tacos or chili and some 4oz packs for lunches. Ribs into 4 bone packs I send home with my mom.

Cold smoked cheese.

Lasts forever...fresh as the day you cooked it or bought it.

Edit:photos model 3240

https://i.imgur.com/o0cFaU7l.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/R1CkjCol.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/cJMxry3l.jpg

Beentown
12-09-2017, 08:40 AM
I have had less expensive food savers and now the 15" Cabelas "Commercial".

They are certainly worth it for me. Batch cooking (cold smoking bacon, grinding sausage, processing a deer, etc...) makes it worth it to me. Now add in that I buy in bulk and seal into serving sizes, sous vide, reheat my bbq in it, etc...

Most useful tool besides my chefs knife in the kitchen.

TIP : Have a sealer and like fresh guac? Make the guac, vac seal leftovers when done. It will last weeks in the fridge with no browning. Cut the tip of the bag and pipe out the guac next time you want it. Reseal when done, repeat.


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EdF
12-09-2017, 11:16 AM
I've been through a series of sealers over the last 10 years or so. The current one is 7 years old and holding. They definitely do a better job (IMO) than zip-locks, and the food will last longer in the freezer.

Tip: if you can get one that uses regular food-safe bags rather than the the special chambered ones (yeah, Foodsaver, I mean you), you'll save a bundle of money. Enough money to cancel out double the price of the device in a not very long period of use. Price the bags, and you'll see.

rexster314
12-09-2017, 11:45 AM
First vac sealer was a Foodsaver model from 1995. That thing worked out very well, lasting for about 4 years. Got a newer model, don't remember the model # but was a commercial type with 2 pumps. Replaced the rubber seals after about 3 years, kept on going for another 4 years. That one finally gave up the ghost and we bought another new model that lasted about 8 years.Then bought one of the first Foodsaver 3800 series that we still have, the style with the automatic vac/seal function. This past spring bought a VacMaster 320 chamber vacuum.
To say that we're sold on vacuum sealers is an understatement. Never freezer burn, pecans that were vac sealed 3 years ago are still fresh and crunchy. Briskets smoked a year ago, once thawed, are just like I smoked them yesterday. Cheese lasts virtually forever. I'm eating some smoked cheddar that was done 4 years ago.

Garyclaw
12-09-2017, 12:02 PM
We love ours. Just the two of us here. Great for meat sales and garden produce.

Rockinar
12-09-2017, 01:03 PM
I dont really freeze any meat but I make a few days meals and seal them in the fridge. Its makes a huge difference. If it makes a huge difference in the fridge id suspect it would make a huge difference in the freezer too.

I have some $99 Food Saver I got at the grocery store. It works pretty decent but sometimes wont seal when liquid get in the seaing bar area. If you got the $$$$ a chamber vac is the way to go. Liquids are not an issue with them.

BillN
12-09-2017, 01:12 PM
If short term freezing of leftovers is the purpose then no, ziplocs will do the trick. However for sous vide at higher temps, storing bulk spices/rubs, long term freezer storage, marinating, etc it's worth it in my opinion.

IamMadMan
12-09-2017, 02:17 PM
Just the 2 of us here, and the missus doesn't eat much of the meat I smoke, so I put half of what I smoke in the freezer. Typically I use basic ziplock bags - sandwich, quart or gallon depending on how much I have to freeze. Sometimes I'll wrap the meat in plastic wrap first, or use a tupperware tub.

Maybe my taste palette is undeveloped, but I don't ever recall having an issue with the defrosted meat. Sure, if I dig it out after 18 months it might be all freezer burnt (and this happens :icon_blush: ) but usually I am getting to it within a few months.

Curious if I'm really missing out on something with the use of these vacuum seal units to make it worth having one more appliance stuffed in my kitchen cabinets?

If you are using items relatively quick and have had no issues with freezer burn, you shouldn't concern yourself with changing the way you do things.

However if you wish to keep foods for longer periods of time, a vac-sealer can be a good investment.

I'v found items in the freezer that fell behind things dated 2 years later. No freezer burn, no off taste, and one would think it was from yesterday. You get longer freezer shelf life of your foods with a vac-sealer.


My wife vac-seals a multitude of pantry items into dinner sized portions (dry ingredients). She divides homemade spaghetti sauce for other meals.
Meat can be divided into meal sized portions, left-overs can be sealed for another day for use months into the future with no off tastes. Left-overs can be sealed into meals or single serving portions for later use.

Best of all, reheating is easy, just drop the bag into a pot of hot water until serving temperature is reached. No guests? just serve from the bag for easy clean-up.

It's a matter of what you need, not what someone else may, or may not have.

Smoking Piney
12-09-2017, 02:41 PM
If I'm storing for a known short term - a few weeks tops, I'll use zip-locs.

If I store for an indeterminate time, I always vac seal - no freezer burn or frost, no funky taste.

Monkey Uncle
12-09-2017, 04:43 PM
It is absolutely worth it. A Ziploc bag zipper is not truly airtight. I find that pulled pork and brisket that have been frozen in a zipper bag will taste bland and dry after a several weeks. Most of the smoke flavor is lost. If they are vacuum sealed, I can pull them out of the freezer a year later and they haven't lost any flavor or moisture.

A vacuum sealer is also great for storing raw meat that you buy in bulk when it's on sale. Vacuum sealed steaks and roasts will keep indefinitely in the freezer.

However, I won't re-heat cooked meat in a vacuum sealed bag. I'm too paranoid about the plastic melting or giving off fumes.

pjtexas1
12-09-2017, 04:56 PM
Is there a particular brand or model?FoodSaver V3245. Probably 10 years old. I'm sealing way more than I'm vac-sealing.

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grantw
12-09-2017, 05:53 PM
Totally worth it. I have a cheaper model for a lot of years, my dad just upgraded and gave me his food saver brand one. Freezer burn is non existent


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Big Andy
12-09-2017, 06:30 PM
I bought a foodsaver a few months ago on WOOT.com. It was like $20. I have been buying whole luncheon meats, ham, pastrami, etc. at Restaurant Depot and slicing on a $50 slicer from Academy Sports. The meats keep well when vac packed and frozen. These items paid for themselves in two trips. They are worth it for that alone. The price is about half of what you pay in the grocery store for the cheaper brands.

JohnnyVanWinkle
12-09-2017, 09:00 PM
Yes, definitely!

Bbq_lover
12-09-2017, 09:18 PM
I dry age my ribeyes and when I cut them into steaks, I vac seal them. I gave 2 to someone for their birthday. They defrosted them in the fridge and we’re going to cook them one night, but didn’t because of an emergency. They were away for 2 weeks and were wondering if the steaks were still good. They didn’t want to lose them cause they knew these were dry aged. I happened to be with them when they got back and we opened up the steaks and they were still good! Try that in a ziplock and it probably will be dicey at best. That situation helps justify a vac sealer for me!

ebijack
12-10-2017, 04:32 AM
They work, but for me, no. Not worth the extra time, effort. And eventually they die/break $$. I used them for alot of years. Yes the cheaper brands. Glad I did not spend the big $$ on a high end one.
Now I only use freezer bags, then wrap in butcher paper. You won't get any torn holes, rips from sharp edges (from other frozen vac bags) when items are moved around in your freezer as you look thru the packages. Like others mention. This way also, I Never have any freezer burn.
I have 2 cabinet freezers I keep full with either fresh or cook products.

Sopchoppy
12-10-2017, 06:08 AM
Gamesaver Plus is what I use now. I vac seal everything, buy ground beef at Sam's and break down into 1# packs; 10# of pinto beans same 1# packs; buy rub 5# at a time and vac seal into smaller packs; same for summer sausage, pulled pork, coffee beans, fresh peas and beans. They'll keep for years. I found a pack of venison cube steaks from 2012 in the bottom back of the freezer, fried 'em up, no difference in look or taste from fresh ones. So, yes I like vac sealing vs. ziplock.

Cibelo
12-10-2017, 07:00 AM
I have an old food-saver. How do you tackle the liquid in the food from preventing a good seal?
Cibelo

jasonjax
12-10-2017, 08:03 AM
I have an old food-saver. How do you tackle the liquid in the food from preventing a good seal?
Cibelo

I get a good seal in-spite of the liquid. I can hear the liquid hissing when the seal kicks in. I will double-seal liquid/wet stuff typically though.

EdF
12-10-2017, 10:03 AM
I have an old food-saver. How do you tackle the liquid in the food from preventing a good seal?
Cibelo

One good way is to put the bag in the freezer until the liquid mostly solidifies. Then seal it.

Sopchoppy
12-10-2017, 12:05 PM
I have an old food-saver. How do you tackle the liquid in the food from preventing a good seal?
Cibelo

I use one of the blue paper towels folded at the top of the bag, catches the wet stuff before it can get to the sealing bar.

Cibelo
12-11-2017, 07:03 AM
Thanks everyone

smokeswirl
12-11-2017, 09:28 AM
Def worth it. Love my vac sealer. I actually prefer the most basic manual sealer over the newer foodsaver models. Hate the way the new sealers make you use more material than necessary by forcing you you to make a 1.5" seal when their own seals on pre-made bags are 1/4"