Meat Packer Extraordinaire

THAT was an exhausting day…

As I’ve done three times now, I made up a meal plan for the full month of November, compiled the shopping list, and took the family with me to Sam’s Club. We split up this time, Jason took Uncle Frank and I took Jeremy and together we flew through the store and bought everything we needed for the month. It was a pricey trip, but it included lots of items to stock pile as well as dog food and some fire wood (since all of ours got wet recently).

However, usually we go on a weekend so that when we get home Jason can bring everything upstairs from the garage to the kitchen and I put it all away. Then he helps me to pack all of the bulk meat into gallon or quart-sized bags. Unfortunately, this time we got moving a little late in the day and got home ten minutes after he usually leaves for work. He ran in the door, threw his uniform on, and dashed back out. I made many many a trip up the stairs with food and assorted items. We were smart in buying a pair of huge reusable bags which helped me a lot, but since I’m pregnant I’m not allowed to lift as much as I normally can.

Once I got everything up the stairs (except for the firewood and cases of soda – way waaay too heavy), I still had to stow it all and get down to the meat. The chuck roasts are packaged two to a case, of which I had to cases. Two roasts were to stay whole, but the other two needed to be trimmed of fat and chunked for stew meat. I prefer not to pay extra for the store to do it and they leave all the fat. Each roast was about 4 pounds, so that was 8 pounds of meat chunks that I bagged right there. After that, I had 9 pounds of ground beef to separate from the 4- and 5-pound cases and bag into individual pounds. Two of those pounds needed to be made into patties for the two days we’re having burgers.

Then, of course there were the 23 bone-in pork chops to process. I ran out of gallon bags, and 5 bone-in chops don’t fit into quart bags. So, I had to de-bone all 23 chops before bagging. Now, the bone-in chops that I purchased were huge, like T-bone steaks. There is the one big side of the chop and on the other side of the bone is this tender little medallion. The chops went into the meal-portioning bags and all 23 medallions went into another bag for pork stir-fry. Yum.

After all of that, I felt very much like a butcher and nearly wore out my fingernail brush to get all of the meat guck off of my hands. After having read all that, take into consideration that I have never ever felt comfortable handling raw meat with my hands. To make a burger patty I usually put it in a baggie to squish and I use tongs to touch everything else. This pregnancy has only heightened that phobia more than ever, that’s why I make Jason handle the raw stuff and I just flop it out of the bags and cook it. This process would have taken AGES if I had done it the usual way, so I had to suck it up and get my hands grubby. Gross! I don’t want to see or touch raw meat for at least a week.

I managed to take a short break in the middle of the processing to pull together some assorted leftovers for the family to eat for dinner, but I had to get everything done. I finished just in time to get Jeremy to bed which took longer than normal because we skipped his bath. My back and feet were killing me and I was completely unwilling to remain standing for another moment in order to cook a meal for myself, so I grabbed whatever I could from the cupboard. Currently I am mid-snack meal comprised of Cheez-its, cold pepperoni, a 100-calorie pack of Fudge Shoppe cookies, and a glass of milk. Don’t judge me, the baby approves. 😉

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