Pork Butt - the seven month freeze!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by lawman2391, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. Hey y'all -

    Wanting to get your opinion on this situation.  At the end of last summer (almost 7 months ago) I purchased two pork butts at dirt cheap prices from a local supermarket.  Both of them were packaged in the styrofoam bottom and plastic wrap manner (not cryovac).

    One of them (Butt #1) was quite large and so I cut it in half.  I smoked one half (it was delicious) and the other half I plastic wrapped tight, then put it into a heavy duty freezer bag and into the deep freeze.

    The other one (Butt #2) was left in the original styrofoam and plastic wrap packaging and went into the deep freeze as is.

    Just yesterday I was digging through the freezer and found them.  Both of them have some crystalization (I'm assuming it's freezer burn), but the majority of the meat looks to be unaffected.

    So, the questions I have are:

    1. Are these still "safe" to eat?  As in, will someone get sick?

    2. What are the tests you would recommend using once it is thawed out to determine if it is safe or not if there is a question? (smell test, etc.)

    3. What are the best methods for freezing meat long term, in your experience?

    Thanks for everyone's time...I really appreciate it!

  2. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The concern with meat that spent a long time in the freezer is not safety but quality/palatability.

    Your meat is safe, freezer burn or not. If it's a big chunk I assume it wouldn't be dry due to freezer Burns. I would cook it if I were you.

    Vacpac is the best way to freeze meat. I use ziploc bags but I spend a lot of time trying to get most air out.
  3. smokin phil

    smokin phil Smoking Fanatic

    1. Assuming proper freezing, no one will get sick. They would be safe for years. Taste is another matter. Freezer burn is not the tastiest, but it is safe.

    2. I would still smell it. If it smells bad, use your own judgement. Would YOU eat it? I would also cut off any freezer burnt spots, NOT good eats.

    3. The best way to long term freeze most anything is vac pack. I've used vac packed year old pork butts before. No problems at all.
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    Meat kept at or below zero degrees is safe indefinitely. 7 months is not that long if they were sealed tight.
  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    As was stated, they are safe to eat. I would probably wash them down pretty good and let them air dry for a while before using a flavorful rub. I would leave them in the rub wrapped up with plastic wrap for a few days or even more. Then you can smoke them. I would bet they will be wonderful. I have smoked elk roasts up to 2.5 years old and they were fine. I even had a turkey that had been cryovac packaged and froze for 3 years and it was delicious. I wouldn't be put off by an initial freezer burned smell. You will be seasoning and smoking that butt so it will be great. You could even brine for a day to get all of the smell out but I don't think you would need to. If I were you I would invest in a good vac. packer. 
  6. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thaw it, trim off the freezer burned areas (white) and you will be fine.
  7. UPDATE:  It thawed nicely, I had to do a little trimming but it had no off smell whatsoever.  I smoked it yesterday and it came out pretty well.  Thanks for the input!

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