This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Subject: Preserving Frozen Poultry & Other Meats
From: email@example.com (Tanith Tyrr)
Somebody asked a question about "freezer burn"....here's what
I do about it. Works admirably for me, and since I hunt and slaughter
livestock, I always have a goodly stack of meat of all sorts needing a
deft hand with the long term preserving.
Poultry, especially delicate items like wild duck or quail, keeps best
when frozen either in a solid block of water (best for the small game
birds; use milk cartons) or when frozen completely covered with fat or
oil. The key here is "no oxygen interaction".
If you can afford one (and if you know how to use it properly), a vacuum
sealer is also helpful for processing meats you want to freeze. I'm
currently shopping models; input is solicited.
I freeze larger game birds, specifically wild duck, crocked in rendered
duck fat and wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and a ziplock so that no
surface is exposed. It works admirably and "freezer burn" just doesn't
happen. The outside fat might lose some moisture and texture if exposed
to air, but you can simply melt off the fatty layer and discard. You can
also used rendered chicken or goose fat for this purpose, depending on
what is in your pantry at the moment. I always save jars of rendered
poultry fat of all kinds in the freezer, for this and other culinary
purposes. Confit, anybody? ;>
[Yep, check out the Meat Potting Section in this FAQ.--LEB
I freeze good cuts of beef and lamb in a solid layer of olive oil, as it
does not impart that savory and unmistakable "poultry flavor" that
rendered duck, goose or chicken fat does. Any good quality, fresh and not
rancid vegetable oil will do, but I prefer olive oil for its weight,
durability and flavor.
Extra virgin is best, but the medium weight stuff you can buy by the
bucket load will do. It depends on how much you value that piece of meat
you're putting in the freezer. And taste your oil first to make sure it
won't impart unpleasant qualities to the meat; oil or fat can go rancid
or "off" if you (or the shopkeeper) leave it on the shelf too long.
You can even "freezer marinade" by adding seasonings to the oil
or fat and heating briefly, then allowing to cool before adding to the
meat to be frozen.
You can use a fairly thin (1/4") of fat or oil, so long as you are
certain that the meat is covered on all sides and no actual meat surface
is exposed to air. Personally, I tend to go for a deep crock when it comes
to precious items of wild game; I buy rendered duck fat in 5-pound tubs
from specialty stores such as D'Artagnan (NY) or The Game Exchange (SF).
Gently melt off all the grease before cooking, and you should end up with
a nice piece of well preserved meat even after many, many months in your
Don't forget to invest a small amount in an accurate freezer thermometer,
if your model doesn't come with one. It's worth it as fluctuations in
temperature or too high a temperature can destroy products inside even if
they are properly preserved.