Andy Husek 01.06.22
In this review, we are going to explore a number of meat and food processing products made by MEAT! Your Maker.
As much as I love the hunt itself, I may take more joy in the meat processing and preparation after the fact. Knowing that I’m the only one who handled the processing, cared for the meat, and produced the final product gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. Plus, its just fun to play butcher for a day or two and turn your game in to exactly what you want for a fraction of the costs of what it would be to have a professional processor do it for you. Don’t get me wrong, there can be some substantial up-front costs in terms of equipment but with proper use and care, quality products will last you a lifetime.
This fall I have been working with the MEAT! Brand and trying out a bunch of the Meat! Your Maker products to process my game all fall. This includes everything from initial meat prep, to jerky or sausage processing all the way to final packaging for the freezer. I even used the products to process two entire Bison in addition to whitetail and some other delicious critters. I am going to walk you through the “process” and talk about each specific piece of equipment, how I used it and how it performed.
Once you have successfully harvested your game, got it home and deboned you are ready for the finishing part of processing. In this case, I was making everything into burger meat or prepping it to be made into jerky with the MEAT! Jerk Gun and dehydrator. We will get to that later.
Now that I had the meat deboned and trimmed, I was ready for grinding. I was using the 1.5HP grinder and let me tell you, you better mind your fingers, loose clothing and small animals or children when using this thing! It was effortlessly grinding the meat as fast as we could get it in the chute. Fast grinding allows for you to keep the pace up and the meat cold ensuring that it doesn’t spoil. It can generate up to 18lbs of ground meat per minute! That is likely overkill for a lot of at home use, but I say go big or go home.
The 1.5 HP grinder comes with a coarse and a fine grinding plate as well as a sausage plate for stuffing sausage if desired. It also comes with three different sized stuffing tubes for various sausage applications and a safety filter over-loading chute to prevent and mishaps at the business end of the loading tray. They have several different models of grinders, you can check out the 1.5 HP one I was using here.
Now that I have all my meat ground, I was ready for mixing. This can mean the mixing of some form of fat substance for lean game to keep it bound together and from frying out or it could mean the mixing of seasonings for sausage or jerky. For this part of the process we would be using the 50lb meat mixer with tilt capabilities. I gotta tell you, having been hand mixing for the previous umpteen years of my life this thing paid for itself in a matter of seconds. No more messy meat stuck everywhere, no more freezing fingers from ice cold meat. This thing instantly cut mixing time down by about 75%, and it accommodate 50lbs at a clip! Ass if this wasn’t already a big enough lifesaver, you can hook I up to the 1.5HP grinder for hands-free mixing…. amazing! Once complete you can just pull the pin, tilt the bin and dump the now mixed meat into your processing lugs for the next steps. Again, with the fast grinding and mixing you are cutting down on the amount of time that meat has to get warm and spoil. You can check out the 50lb Meat mixer here.
Now we were ready for some packaging for future use as well as preparation for the jerky gun and dehydrator. I was using the 15lb Vertical sausage stuffer to both load meat bags for the freezer as well as to cleanly load the jerky gun, so you aren’t getting ground meat all over everything. The stuffer allows you to load up 15lbs of processed meat at a time for packaging or sausage stuffing. It is quality made and has minimal parts which makes for a very easy cleanup. You can find out more about the 15lb stuffer here.
Before I go on to the jerky making part of this adventure I want to touch on two more products that we used to get that meat in to the freezer, the poly bag tape kit and the 440lb digital scale. The poly bag taper allows you to seal all of your ground meat quickly and cleanly and the scale makes sure all of the bags stay uniform. Also, the scale is invaluable when using seasoning kits to ensure that you fat, to meat to seasoning ratio is spot on for the perfect finished product.
Now that we had some finished meat in the freezer it was time to flex our wild game culinary skills and whip up some jerky. Two primary products used for this were the MEAT! Jerky gun and the 10-tray dehydrator. I also, used the mixing tub and vertical stuffer for this process but just to load the jerky gun in an effort to minimize the mess. Once you have your seasonings and cure mixed in the meat you can quickly and easily load up the jerky gun and start to lay out strips of jerky on the dehydrator racks. I have found that I can dehydrate up to 20lbs of meat at a time which in most instances is five different flavors (5lb kits) of pre-made jerky seasoning kits you can get from Cabela’s or BassPro. Once you have all the trays filled you load them in to the dehydrator and wait…and wait….and wait. It does take some time, especially if you load it all the way up but the finished product is well worth it. For more information on the jerky gun you can go here to check it out. They have several different sizes of dehydrators and you can read more about the 10-tray version I used here. The dehydrator worked so well we had to try it out on some fruit and I have to tell you, my girls had a blast making it and spent no time devouring it almost immediately!
Now that you are feeling good, have some meat in the freezer and jerky in the dehydrator it is time to cover off on the final product I used to seal up all that delicious jerky. For years I have fought with the “cheap” vacuum sealers, and they all seem to last about a year and then they go into the parts pile where you begin to pirate pieces from one to try and Frankenstein together a halfway working one. It never works and you are left with vacuum seal bags, that are NOT vacuum sealed and left susceptible to freezer burn. Cue the Chamber Vacuum Sealer from MEAT! This thing is a BEAST! Never have I seen or used a sealer of this caliber, and I am not sure why I waited this long to add one to the arsenal. Seems silly considering all the time, money, and effort you put in to processing the game only to use a cheap sealer and have a good portion of your table fare ruined because of faulty bags and freezer burn. It is easier to use than the more traditional vacuum sealers you are sed to and creates a perfect, airtight, and properly sealed bag every time! Do yourself a favor and before you keep buying the cheap gear from other manufacturers every year, invest in this Chamber Vacuum Sealer from MEAT!
In summary, I was HIGHLY impressed with all the products and have GLADLY cleaned out the old guard of processing equipment and proudly replaced it with all this great new gear from MEAT! I just looked and they are running some great Black Friday deals right now so head on over to https://www.meatyourmaker.com/ and check them out!