Author Topic: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek  (Read 1210 times)

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Offline Bradley David Good

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Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« on: January 28, 2020, 12:27:58 am »
Hello

I would like to learn more about converting a freezer to a meat locker like Derek in the video below.

I'm thinking it may have been covered on this forum but haven't found it.

Wondering about the temperature controller - good brand, routing of the probe

Anything else to consider...

Thanks

https://youtu.be/J_xEsAK7-dA

Offline dariorpl

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2020, 04:35:23 am »
Great question!

Derek said you can find the remote thermostat at a brewery store.

I'm not sure how this works regarding keeping the air dry, and if the thermostat detects too much humidity, will it cool below the desired temperature to achieve the desired humidity level?
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Offline Bradley David Good

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2020, 05:27:44 am »
I don't think so.  My take on it was that it controls the temperature, and just shows the humidity.  I think the humidity in a normal freezer converted to a fridge would be about 55% which is what the video showed.

Seems like his kept the meat fairly dry, which produced months of dry aging rather than a more moist high meat bacteria effect, which some would prefer.  That's all part of this idea - how dry do you want it?

Some add UV light, fans....I think these are more of the type who want to replicate dry aging like in steak houses - which is for the standard public, who fears bacteria.  I don't think it needs to be that dry, but I have no experience other than high meat in a jar in the fridge.  My thinking is that the inside of a fridge or freezer has to be much more drying than a closed jar that is aired every few days, so if that's the case, meat will probably be dryer than high meat in a jar and probably last for months in any converted freezer or fridge.

I'm looking at options and will post more info later.  I found out there are now stand up models that can do fridge or freezer.  That seems like the best option to me so far.  Because if you convert a freezer, you have to run the probe inside and that can leak air at the seal...or you have to drill a hole.

Offline Bradley David Good

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2020, 09:09:46 am »
Note:  had all kinds of links in here but got a message saying that I had contacts in the post???  So I had to remove the links. 



I've been researching this.  Watched many YouTubes like these:

links removed

Benefits of using a freezer:
More insulation and thicker walls than fridge.
More space inside.
Top rack allows for hanging meat on hooks - fridge usually has no place to hang meat hooks from at the top.

I don’t have a stand up freezer to convert.  I have a chest freezer, and don’t use it anymore now that I have come to understand the damage of freezing.  I’ll probably sell it. 

If you do have a stand up freezer, you may want to consider one of the methods in the videos above.
The downside of using anything with a sensor/probe is that you have to run that sensor into the freezer.  If you feed it through the door gap, air escapes and it can damage the seal.  Another option is to drill a hole through the freezer, and then you have to seal that hole somehow, silicone, duct tape.  The last option I read about was to replace the original thermostat with a universal fridge thermostat.  I didn’t look for videos on that one, but I really don’t think it would be that hard.  Freezers are very simple.  A compressor that cools, and a controller with a dial that has a sensor going into the freezer.  You would just find the controller, cut both wires going to it, and wire those into the new universal refrigerator sensor – as long as the new sensor worked with the old probe…that would be the catch if any.  That is probably my favorite idea, just because I don’t like the idea of drilling holes or running the probe in the door gap and having the seal rest on it, leaking some air and costing money, possibly wearing the seal.  However, if you have a freezer that is still in warranty, the probe in the door gap is the only option that DOES NOT void your warranty.

Then I went on craigslist and looked at used freezers.  I basically didn’t see anything within 30 minutes’ drive of me worth considering.

Then I went on amazon and poked around.  I found this nice small freezer for only $228. 

link removed

But I figured it only had about 16-18” of hanging area under the top rack.  Plus, the bottom section is only partially as deep as the unit, because the compressor is under there.  So meats could only hang fully down in the front of the unit.  Still, it’s small and cheap, and an option.  But then you would have to do the temperature controller – but that’s not expensive or hard to do.  Except, reviews indicate that they fail, which could really spoil a bunch of quality meat, and would really be a bummer if it was something you hunted or butchered yourself.
Important to have a delay on the temperature controller so that the freezer does not cycle too often, which could wear it prematurely. Some controller units have a delay which could be set for 3-5 minutes for example, and some have a temperature range, which could be set for 33-37 degrees F for example.

Temperature control units:

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And a nice thermometer/hygrometer:

link removed

Then I went on bestbuy.com and was looking at beverage coolers.  I thought it would be cool to put this in my kitchen, with the glass door, and look at my meats hanging all the time – they even have a light to show your friends your meat!  And all for around $300.

link removed

Then I read reviews on many models that said they didn’t cool down past about 40 degrees and they were hot on the outside and super noisy.  Forget it.

Then I saw on bestbuy.com that there are stand up models that can either be used as a fridge or freezer.  I browsed bestbuy and didn’t find one I really liked.  Note, models sometimes have racks that have integrated cooling coils and cannot be removed.  Other models have glass shelves which was no good for using meat hooks or meat sitting directly on the rack.  Other models top shelf was not high enough for my taste. 

So then I went to sears.com and browsed everything they had.  My favorite model is this one:
Freezer/Fridge – nice racks, nice size only 64” high - $599.  Kenmore 22172 17 cu. ft. Upright Convertible Freezer/Refrigerator - White

I just measured going through my doorway from the kitchen to my basement and with cabinets close by, this would probably just fit.  I don’t think something bigger would.  So don’t forget that if you are going to the basement.

link removed

So there you have it.  That’s my research so far.  I think I’m going to go to Sears and actually look at this unit or whatever else they have and think about it.  Sure would be nice to buy some giant hunks of animals from farms, save money and eat off them for a month or two, and so much fun, and caveman like.

If you have any other thoughts or ideas please share.

Thanks!

Offline FRANCIS HOWARD BOND

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2020, 04:01:26 am »
Putting wires through door seals on a freezer or refrigerator without damage or air gap is easily arranged with flat flexible printed circuit or ribbon wire strips which are thin like paper.   These can be joined to ordinary wires again at each end.

Offline kelpguy

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2020, 09:57:38 am »
here's another raw meat storing option for members that don't have room for a Derek style freezer.
i air dried a beef heart about 3 months ago and put the dried meat in a loosely closed poly bag, the kind that's used for veggies in the stores. i put the bag in the bottom drawer of my fridge and forgot about it until reading this thread today; the meat is in the same state of dryness as it was when i put it in the fridge; still a little flexible. i can't bite through it but i cut a piece off and it softens up quickly in the mouth, chews nicely and tastes about the same as before i stored it. (good stuff!!!)

the fresh raw heart was sliced into strips approx 5/10 mm thick x 20mm wide and air dried on wire racks outside in the sun. the racks were covered with a layer of sheer fabric to keep the flies off and the racks were placed on a table, the legs of which, were placed in plant trays of water to keep the ants away.  i brought the racks into the house at nite. the dried heart was stored in the fridge when it was still a little flexible.  the drying process only took a few 27?c/80?f sunny days.

the meat strips will stick to the racks for the 1st few days so i turn them over daily to keep them from ''permanently'' sticking to the racks.  it also helps to put the racks on cookie trays to catch the drips.

i've also air dried beef muscle, heart and liver, on kitchen racks, in the bottom drawer of the fridge; takes about a week.  the fridge is a frost free type and the bottom drawer is about 5?c/40?f

for anyone new to drying food, i've found that foods dry from the outside in, so before i store a newly dried food, i put the food in a closed container/bag overnite and check it the next day.  this gives the moisture content a chance to average out.  thicker/wetter foods, like fruits, might need to be checked for dryness several times before storing.



Offline dariorpl

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2020, 06:12:02 pm »
Dried beef is normally called beef jerky, kelpguy. Great description and tips. What you did should be called heart jerky. Another option for drying and storing meat is traditional salami, although that usually calls for enormous amounts of salt.

Jerky is definitely an option for long-term storage of food, although I doubt that consuming dried food as a staple of our diets is the best for our health; but it's definitely better than starving, or having to rely on vegan foods that store well, like grains, nuts and seeds.

Honey and cheese are other good options for animal-based foods that store very well.
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Offline Bradley David Good

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2020, 09:38:57 pm »
Thanks for the tips!  Good ideas. 

I removed the drawers from the bottom of my fridge - because they had a different humidity level and for easier access and air flow.  I like it.  I'm planning on going to the farm every 2 weeks for fresh meat, so my fridge probably will have enough space now, with some meat stored on racks or just open on glass, and some in containers with air gaps, to get a little high.  I would like to try to push it to a month though just in case I can't make it to the farm.  So I'll see if I can do that with the normal fridge or if I need the bigger one - I still like the idea of the sears one I listed above.  Just the right size - 64" high.  It would also come in handy for hanging a dear that I hunted or a friend who sometimes gives me parts.  And it sure would be nice to come home from a hunt and not have to take the whole thing apart into small pieces.  Usually I'm so tired already from field dressing or even the gutless method and hauling the meat back, and hungry.

Offline Bradley David Good

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2020, 11:02:25 pm »
I bought the Kenmore stand up fridge freezer - it is very nice.

Butchered my own chemical free goat on Saturday, hung it up and drank its blood. 

Cooked the head and neck yesterday mongolian style - Ghengus Khan's favorite dish - yummy.

https://i.imgur.com/fxPP2gw.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/eachIUC.jpg

Offline Bradley David Good

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2020, 11:04:05 pm »
Also, a report on temperature and humidity.

Empty, and set on "coldest" fridge temp, it was 35 F and about 55% humidity.

Once I put the meat in, it went to 85% humidity.

Offline Bradley David Good

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2020, 11:05:26 pm »
Nargie's Mongolian Cuisine: SHEEP HEAD (Genghis Khan's Favorite Dish)
https://youtu.be/zV8LhTs9GlU

Offline jibrael

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2020, 01:17:56 pm »
Nargie's Mongolian Cuisine: SHEEP HEAD (Genghis Khan's Favorite Dish)
https://youtu.be/zV8LhTs9GlU

Total cook time was 1 hour and 20 minutes. Unbelievable.
I once tried to make it, and it took more than 1 hour and 30 minutes in pressure cooker to get sheep head soft.

Offline Bradley David Good

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2020, 11:17:53 pm »
I removed the brain first to eat it raw at a later time. 

Then boiled the head and neck in a wok like in the video, with some carrots for about an hour.  Was a small goat.  Turned out perfect.

Offline Bradley David Good

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2020, 05:53:26 pm »
Solar Wind Powered Meat Locker
https://youtu.be/B5YJ4e5Vk7M

Offline Bradley David Good

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Re: Convert Freezer to Meat Locker Like Derek
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2020, 05:56:48 pm »
And thank you Derek for the idea!  This has completely changed my world.  I love how the meat ages in there and you can hold it for a very long time and it just gets better. 

 

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