Properly freezing goat meat at its peak quality allows it to last longer and provide fresh ingredients upon defrosting. Continue reading to learn step-by-step the most efficient way to freeze goat meat for long-term storage in a freezer.
The following steps are essential when freezing goat meat:
- Clean work area
- Gather tools
- Debone the meat
- Cut the meat into portion size pieces
- Wrap the meat
- Label and date
- Place in freezer
- Organize freezer
- Monitor freezer
How do you properly freeze goat meat?
Preparing goat meat for the freezer requires specific steps that can ensure the meat’s freshness on defrosting. Follow these steps when wanting to freeze fresh goat meat.
Clean work area
Before working with any food, it is imperative to clean your workspace. Wipe down all surfaces with disinfecting cleaner and check to make sure all tools are clean. Move anything that could contaminate the goat meat away from the area you intend to prepare the meat for packaging.
If you are dealing with just a few pieces of goat meat, all you need is a clean cutting board.
The other thing is if you bought a whole goat. Once you start carving, cutting, and slicing, you soon find out that the more space you have, the easier it will be to cut the meat and package it for freezing. I recommend you have at least 5×2 feet (1,5×0,6 m).
Gather all the tools needed to properly prepare the goat meat and package it for the freezer. Tools required include:
- sharp butchers knife,
- sharp boning knife,
- freezer paper,
- aluminum foil,
- freezer labels,
- permanent marker,
- and a cutting board used just for goat meat preparation.
Debone the meat
Remove any unnecessary bones because these take up a lot of room in the freezer. If you bought a whole goat, ask the butcher to debone it for you. If the butcher didn’t debone it, I suggest you debone the leg and shoulder, except the shank. Also, think of deboning loin, depending on what you will do with it.
Deboning is relatively easy if you use a good butcher’s knife. Using a sawing motion with short small cuts, cut the meat from the bone. Gently pull the meat away from the bone to help with the cutting process. Dispose of the bone and continue the process until all bones are removed.
Cut the meat into portion size pieces
Cut the meat into smaller, individual portion sizes for separate packaging. The portion sizes needed depend greatly upon how you plan to cook the meat. For example, determine if you will be making a stew, ground the meat, sauté it, or grill it. The intended use of the goat meat determines how large you cut the meat and how much meat to place in each freezer package.
Wrap the meat
Place the goat meat onto the center of a large sheet of freezer paper with the wax side of the paper facing the meat. If freezer paper is not available, wax paper or plastic wrap will do the job. Meet both sides of the paper over the meat and fold down with small folds until it is snugly around. Then tuck in the sides of the paper, similar to wrapping a present. Smooth out the paper around the meat to remove as much air from the packaging as possible. Use freezer tape to secure the paper around the goat meat.
Wrap the goat meat one more time with aluminum foil or a zip-locking freezer bag, pushing all air out of the package before sealing. Double wrapping the meat can help keep air out and reduce the risk of the meat getting freezer burn.
Avoid freezing large quantities of goat meat together because it can slow down the freezing process. Instead, freeze smaller portions of meat together for quicker freeze time and less waste from not cooking all the meat upon defrosting.
Label and date
The goat meat will be stored in freezer paper packaging, which may make it challenging to identify. Label and date each package with the contents and date you placed the meat into the freezer. Labeling packages allows you to pull items out by date and determine if the meat is still good.
Place in freezer
Place the wrapped goat meat in a freezer set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 C) or lower, the ideal temperature to keep meat frozen safely. Place the meat in the coldest spot in the freezer and avoid placing it on the door where it is not as cold.
Store your goat meat in the coldest area of the freezer and organize meats based on the freezing date. Well-wrapped goat meat can last in the freezer for six months to one year. However, after about three months, the meat may start showing signs of freezer burn.
Because of this, organize all frozen meats based on how long they have been in the freezer by placing older frozen meats near the front. Organizing the freezer ensures you grab those first when in a hurry to prepare a meal.
You also need to be aware of the weight of the package. Whole ribs or shanks include bone, which makes them heavier than the boneless pieces. Boneless packages are usually used for grill, roast or saute and are lighter in weight. So, keep in mind that heavier parts should be put under lighter pieces, thus avoiding squashing.
As mentioned above, frozen goat meat lasts approximately six months to one year. Therefore, monitor the goat meat in the freezer, ensuring it remains frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 C) or below at all times. Additionally, observe the dates and try to use the older goat meat first.
How long can you keep goat meat in the freezer?
Keeping goat meat good in the freezer requires you to use it within four to nine months for optimum freshness. Goat meat can last up to one year, but there is a risk of developing freezer burn after nine months. Therefore, ground or cubed goat meat is best when used within four months of being frozen. More significant cuts of goat meat, including steaks, loins, or chops, can last six to nine months after being frozen.
What is the best way to defrost frozen goat meat for cooking?
Thawing goat meat is similar to thawing any other type of meat. There are three ways to safely thaw goat meat, in the refrigerator, cold water, and the microwave.
Thawing goat meat in the refrigerator
Thawing goat meat in the refrigerator is the best and safest option; however, it does take longer. Depending upon the size of the package of meat, defrosting it in the fridge can take anywhere between 24 hours and a few days. Use a leak-proof bag or place the meat on a plate to prevent any leaks in the refrigerator.
Thawing goat meat in the microwave
Remove the goat meat from the aluminum and freezer paper and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Use the defrost setting to defrost the meat safely. Keep an eye on it because microwaves heat the food, even when defrosting, and cook the meat a little. When defrosted, cook immediately to eliminate the growth of any bacteria.
Thawing goat meat in cold water
Do not remove goat meat from the packaging before thawing in cold water; however, you want to make sure the packaging is air-tight to prevent water from getting inside. Submerge the package under cold water and let sit until defrosted. Drain and replace the water approximately every 30 minutes until the meat is fully thawed. Cook the goat meat immediately to prevent the spread and growth of bacteria.
Freezing is the easiest way to preserve goat meat until you are ready to cook and eat it. Make sure to properly prepare the meat, wrap it in freezer paper, and place it in the freezer until ready to use. Properly packaging goat meat helps keep it fresh for several months.