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Discussion Starter #1
What kind of refrigerator/ freezer do you guys use for your game meat? If I shoot what I am planning on shooting I am going to need a separate unit for meat, as I don't have much room to begin with.

The 2 points I have seen so far are that it is best to have one without a frost free function, as that sucks the juice out of the meat. Also, you can dry age meat at 32-34 degrees, but most refrigerators stay closer to 40-45.

What should I be looking for?
 

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I have a 15 cu ft chest style freezer in the basement that I bought from a local retailer in the 90's. It isn't frost free and still works just fine. I favor the chest style freezers because of their capacity and cold air sinks so they don't lose as much temperature when you open them.

I take several items from the big freezer and transfer to the freezer in the fridge. The big freezer is opened less and I have no need for frost free. I also like to vac seal game meat and fish and that delays the "freezer burn". If you wrap in paper then double wrap.

I would look for the EER as that should give a good indication of the insulation and efficiency and hence quality. They last a long time so may well get the best you can find.
 

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I have a Westinghouse chest freezer I inherited from my in-laws. It has now been in use for at least 35 years without any service, still freezes meat hard enough to drive nails with.
 

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There is an ugly as sin green chest freezer in my garage that is old as sin, and freezes meat so hard you could fill pot holes in the road with the meat and drive over them. I just looked at it and its a Sears Cold Spot.
 

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I have a 15 cu ft chest style freezer in the basement that I bought from a local retailer in the 90's. It isn't frost free and still works just fine. I favor the chest style freezers because of their capacity and cold air sinks so they don't lose as much temperature when you open them.

I take several items from the big freezer and transfer to the freezer in the fridge. The big freezer is opened less and I have no need for frost free. I also like to vac seal game meat and fish and that delays the "freezer burn". If you wrap in paper then double wrap.

I would look for the EER as that should give a good indication of the insulation and efficiency and hence quality. They last a long time so may well get the best you can find.
Terry - Do you think 15 cu ft. is about right for most folks? I need one too but I'm not sure how big. I don't want to go overboard and get anything too big but it'll defeat the purpose if I go too small. If I'm lucky I may have one deer and one hog in a year plus some fish now and then and a few other things. [I recently learned the hard way that I need a freezer. I lost about 60 lbs of excellent pork from my son's hog he shot back in June. I was keeping it in the top freezer of a spare refrigerator and somehow the freezer door was ajar. For about 4 days. "What's that smell?" :(] Anyway, roughly how many pounds of meat do you think a 15 cu ft freezer would hold? Thanks!

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Discussion Starter #7
Thats a good question I would like an answer to as well. If all goes well I am allowed 3 deer and will hopefully have a hog in there too. My goal is 2 deer and from there I will assess if a third is a waste. How many cubic feet does everyone suggest?

Also, does anyone age their meat?

PS I do have a vacuum packer that I currently use for steak. I love the thing and it really helps with freezer burn.
 

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Thats a good question I would like an answer to as well. If all goes well I am allowed 3 deer and will hopefully have a hog in there too. My goal is 2 deer and from there I will assess if a third is a waste. How many cubic feet does everyone suggest?

Also, does anyone age their meat?

PS I do have a vacuum packer that I currently use for steak. I love the thing and it really helps with freezer burn.
I don't know if this is considered aging meat or not but on the deer and hog we let the meat rest in a large cooler filled with ice and let the meat drain out and chill for about three days, changing or adding ice as needed. Then it's processed and packaged and into the freezer.

+1 on vacuum packing.

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Chest freezers are great if you have the room and they can be purchased at a big box store for not a lot of money. I have an upright that is a little easier to store things and takes less floor space. I purchased it around 1979, it is a Kenmore (Sears) with 18 cubic feet capacity. It has worked flawlessly for these 32 years or so. I defrost it about once every two years,it needs a defrost soon.
 

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Terry - Do you think 15 cu ft. is about right for most folks? I need one too but I'm not sure how big. I don't want to go overboard and get anything too big but it'll defeat the purpose if I go too small. If I'm lucky I may have one deer and one hog in a year plus some fish now and then and a few other things. [I recently learned the hard way that I need a freezer. I lost about 60 lbs of excellent pork from my son's hog he shot back in June. I was keeping it in the top freezer of a spare refrigerator and somehow the freezer door was ajar. For about 4 days. "What's that smell?" :(] Anyway, roughly how many pounds of meat do you think a 15 cu ft freezer would hold? Thanks!

Wave
Wave, I use a 15 cu ft chest type also. I find that smaller doesn't leave me enough room for fish and seafood, and no room to spare for those "good hunting" years, and also the 15 seems easier to keep meat in rotation and not let the older stuff get buried at the bottom and forgotten about until they aren't worth keeping.

A 15 will hold a couple hundred pounds of meat if it's packaged, 6 whole hams in bags in the bottom of it won't even hardly put a dent in the capacity.

We usually don't double wrap in paper, we use the good quality ziploc freezer bags, but the important part is to pack those so they don't get banged around too much, once meat is frozen in them, all you gotta do is bump them together and it puts holes in the bag and you got freezer burn.

Venison is one of the only red meats that doesn't hurt it to thaw and refreeze it. I have frozen whole hams then thawed and cut them up, repackaged and refrozen and never had a problem with it. A good chest freezer will keep venison good for up to 3yrs as long as it never warms up, I know this for a fact because some went that long in mine and once the tiny bit of freezer burn was cut off, you would have never known.

The two best chest freezers I have owned were both old used models that served well beyond their years, I'd be scared of buying a new China made freezer. They may be fine for all I know, time will tell but it wouldn't surprise me a bit to see the old good ones outliving them 10 to 1.
 

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Thanks DougGuy - good comments. After my son shot another hog last month I had to do something - 2 hogs and 1 deer in a 7 month time period = a lot of meat! I bought a chest freezer at Best Buy because it was 1) cheap ($189) and 2)available right now. It is not large - only 7.2 cubic feet - but it swallowed up everything we had with room to spare so I think it will do the job for now. I don't have room for anything much bigger anyway.

I agree - in general appliances do not last like they used to. I feel lucky to get 5 -7 years out of a washer & dryer. My parents used the same set they had for over 30 years. The appliance repair guys I talk to say the same thing. "They don't make 'em like they used to." It may be cliche but it's true.
 

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I have a med size Chest freezer.? That I bought from Home Depot apx $300.00 it serve me well for other food + the Venison, Rabbits etc.? I use Glad " PRESS & SEAL" to wrap all of my meats & Veggies.? it works great & no freezer burn even after 2 yrs.? I found that the Food Saver Vac Bags are expensive to use.? Since I found the Press & Seal rolls are apx $2.50 @ Wal Mart.? why change.?
 
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