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How to Wrap Meat for Freezing

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Being self-sufficient can be very rewarding, but there is often a large learning curve to get there. When we first started processing our own meat we didn’t know the best way to preserve its freshness. We used zip-top plastic bags mostly and as long as we used the meat quickly it was fine, but if we didn’t it would get freezer burn. After all our hard work getting the meat prepared, this was the last thing we wanted to have happen. We finally did some research and learned how our butcher wrapped his meat.

The first step in this process is procuring the right supplies. There are 2 different kinds of butcher paper: one with a waxed coating and another without. The waxed coating makes it waterproof and a better barrier but is much more expensive. If you combine 2 layers of plastic wrap and the non-waxed butcher paper it works really well at preserving your meat. Even if I used the waxed paper I would do one layer of plastic wrap but that is up to you.

We like to prep the estimated number of butcher paper squares we will need and cut them beforehand. A square is easiest to work with, so I usually cut a small piece off the end and use its width as my guide for cutting the squares. You can use scissors for cutting this or they have handy (expensive) butcher paper cutters, but we have found using the edge of the table works perfectly well. Stabilize the paper coming from the roll, have the amount you want hanging over the edge of the table and pull down towards the ground starting at one edge of the paper and continuing to the other.

Weigh out your meat into 1-2 lb amounts. Choose the amount based on how much you use at a time. I wouldn’t do any more than 2 pounds as it starts getting pretty big for your square of butcher wrapping paper. If you have two people wrapping together it works well because one can be weighing the meat (dirty hands) while the other is wrapping. I really try to avoid touching the butcher paper after the meat, so if I am working alone I have one”meat” hand and one “paper” one.

Once your meat is ready, wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap, being sure to cover it on all four sides. We found the best way was to place it on a square piece of plastic wrap going corner to corner. This gives you larger ends to pull tight and wrap over it. Repeat the last step with a second layer of plastic.

Meat Positioning

First Layer of Plastic Wrap

Second Layer of Plastic Wrap

Now that your meat is wrapped nicely in plastic it is time to put it in the paper. Again you want to roll corner to corner. (That is why you needed a square.) Start by rolling it up with one corner over it.

Corner to Corner

When you are at the halfway point, take the two side corners and fold them over it like you would wrapping a present. I have found the best way to do this is to press the paper down flat at the edge of the meat, fold to half the angle (45 degrees), pull up over the meat, hold it, then fold the rest of it (the last 45 degrees) over your meat.

First 45 Degree Fold

Second 45 Degree Fold

This nicely packages the meat, leaving the last corner to roll up into and lock the folding with a piece of masking tape.

Masking Tape

Now all you need to do is label your meat with what it is and the date (trust me you’ll forget). Throw it in the freezer until you are ready to eat it.



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