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Mailing meat to a resupply point ...
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Mailing meat to a resupply point ... on 12/31/2013 17:43:14 MST Print View

I use a service that mails out meat to my house. They just send it in a styrofoam container packed with ice bricks.

I was wondering what the maximum time is that I could keep the meat frozen in these containers.

If it's a significant amount of time (7 days) then I could see mailing this to myself at a resupply point.

What you could do is mail buns, hamburger, and sausages...

Then when you get to a resupply point you can have a REALLY good dinner that night :-P

The S.O. could help with this by mailing you a care package at a specific date.

Maybe even something exotic like lobster and butter.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Mailing meat to a resupply point ... on 12/31/2013 19:25:24 MST Print View

I'd stay away from seafood. Beef gets "aged", old seafood just gets nasty. And corned beef, etc, are fine at room temperature for a few days. Salami, etc, for many days.

I move and send a lot of frozen meat (including fish) and some of my tricks are:

Freeze it REALLY hard. And not just the meat itself, but all the packaging. Whether in a styrofoam-lined box or wrapped in clothes in the middle of a duffle bag, the whole box/duffle is in my deep freeze (-15F) for days before I leave. Then, driving to the airport, the box/duffle is wrapped in a synthetic sleeping bag/quilt for the 4-hour drive. I know that helps, because the inside surface is quite cold to the touch when we get there, instead of having warmed.

Clothes are great insulation. If you are sending any clothes, wrap them around the frozen items. For 12-36 hours, that is ALL I do - wrap in clothes, a plastic bag, clothes, a plastic bag. Over 36 hours, I consider putting it in a styrofoam box.

For small quantities, talk to anyone at a medical office, hospital, or pharmacy. Vaccines, among other things, are shipping in 8" x 10" x 12" styrofoam boxes that holds about 2 liters inside. Cheap (free), lighter than ice chests (and therefore cheaper to mail). Pro-tip: There's not a lot of room inside to fit hard-frozen fillets, but if you put the unfrozen meat in, and fresh it inside the styrofoam box (leave the lid off), it will conform precisely to the interior of the styrofoam.

I never use water ice. If it is critical to keep cold, I use dry ice or frozen brine. Frozen brine (about 25% by weight NaCl) freezes/thaws around 10 to 15F. So all that frozen brine melts before any of your meat/fish/ice cream thaws. I've used this to transport ice cream to stupid places. It is also free, unlike dry ice. Well, almost free, maybe 25 cents for the salt. Use an old soda bottle, 90% full of brine and freeze that. Throw it away later or bring it home and refreeze it. It's DIY "blue ice" except it thaws at 15F instead of 32F. And also better than sending yourself frozen water (you can get water anywhere), is to freeze something containing water. Decant beer / wine / champagne into plastic pop bottles and freeze them. The beer and champagne will still be carbonated when thawed (I've done this many times). Then the beer/wine serves as your shipping ice but, hey!, now you have drinks with dinner!

Do this on group trips (rather than solo trips) because more is better. 4 pounds of meat has little more surface area than 1 pound, but represents 4 times the "cold" (more properly, it takes four times the heat gain to thaw). So it will stay frozen about 3 times as long. Using only clothes as insulation, one pound of hard-frozen meat wrapped in clothes is good for any same day travel. 3 pounds is good for 2 days.

On the trail, wrap things in your sleeping bag. That greatly increases the time it takes to thaw. Keep your pack in the shade when you can. Solar input makes a difference.

Using a few of these tricks, and you end up waiting for things to thaw. That is itself a trick. Check the temperature of the food in time to allow you to expose it to ambient temps in time for dinner. When I catered a wedding for 30 on top of Half Dome, I put a thermistor in the ice chest so I could check its thawing over two days (and found I needed to open it up and speed things along).

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
On the road again - more tricks on 12/31/2013 19:36:22 MST Print View

When on the road, all motels have ice machines. All gas station sell 7-pound bags of ice. Anyone who sells soda has an ice machine. All of which helps you keep your milk cold, but doesn't keep anything frozen (because meat and fish thaw before pure-water ice does).

So bring a pound of salt (79 cents) and some freezer zip-locks. Add ice cubes and salt in the zip locks and place those on top your meat. It will keep it frozen, even freeze it if it thawed. I've done my own version of RSW cold storage to freeze vac-packed fish fillets on the trips home.

Many motels and any hotel will pop your stuff in their freezer overnight. Hopefully, your whole ice chest (getting it all well chilled before your next day).

Those mini fridges in hotel rooms? With a freezer compartment too small to hold a carton of ice cream? It will hold 4-6 pint, plastic soda bottles. Frozen, those will keep your picnic supplies cold all day and can be drunk as cold water as they thaw.

The little ice bucket in your hotel room not big enough? Use the trash can. Wrap the outside in a towel, put your stuff in, fill it with ice from the ice machine. Leave it in the tub or sink. Add salt if you want things colder than 32F.

Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
mailing meat on 01/01/2014 08:51:31 MST Print View

Why doth thou not packith thy meats in oaken barrels filled with salty brine? I love this thread! As a former meat cutter, I just don't mess with packing/shipping meat unless is it logistically a very simple and straight forward point to point proposition. There is just too much that can go wrong in transport with anything but the most heavily salted, smoked and cured meat products. Even then, those products can get gross. If you are sending salmon from Pike Place Market or ordering Omaha steaks shipped to your house, sure. However, mailing and caching meat seems crazy to me.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: mailing meat on 01/01/2014 14:08:11 MST Print View

I think he means that he is ordering from a place like Omaha Steaks and setting himself up for a BBQ at a resupply spot

i would call Omaha and see what their guidelines are. could even have them use more ice than usual if they don't fill the cooler.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Tastes like chicken. on 01/01/2014 15:09:00 MST Print View

From USPS regulations:

526.4 Adult Fowl

526.41 General

Disease-free adult fowl may be mailed domestically when shipped under applicable law in accordance with DMM 601.1.7. Adult chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, doves, pigeons, pheasants, partridges, quail, ducks, geese, and swans are mailable when properly packaged. Adult fowl must be packaged without food or water because liquids, moisture, and loose foodstuffs can cause damage to the shipping container, other mail, and Postal Service equipment during transport.