Common questions I get asked is “How do I keep meat while traveling?”
From my experience as a butcher and as a camper, it depends on how long you are traveling for. First of all, make sure you have a fridge that works well, especially in hot weather conditions.
Short Trips: Two – Four days
Meat can be packed fresh in your fridge, making sure that is wrapped well so that is does not leak. Store the meat at the bottom of the fridge where it is the coldest. Make sure that the fridge setting is 1-3 degrees.
Medium Trips: Two – Ten days
Meat can be vac-packed, what this does, it removes all oxygen out from the pack, which helps keep meat in good condition. This will last two – four weeks as long as the pack does not become loose or get air in it. If this is the case, then the meat needs to be used within a day or two. Again store the vac-packed meat at the bottom of the fridge where it is the coldest.
If vac-packing meats with bones e.g. chops, then you must wrap the chops in glad wrap first, that stops the bones from piecing the vac-pack bag. Sausages can be vac-packed, whoever the vacuum-pack needs to be set to a lower pressure, as this will prevent the sausages from coming out the sausage casing. An alternative option is to freeze the sausages in small packages at home. In the car fridge the sausages will slowly defrost over time, or leave the sausages out during travelling time so by the end of the days travel they will be defrosted and ready to cook.
Long Trips: Two – Four weeks
For long trips I plan all my meals for the duration of the trip. I vacuum all my meats in portion for my trip, then freeze the portions of meat at home. When getting ready to travel I set the car fridge 3-4 degrees because the meat is frozen, the temperature does not need to be set to low. What you will find is that, the frozen meat will keep the fridge quite cold.
Depending on how much frozen meats you bring, you will find that run your fridge at a higher temperature or turn it off for a couple of days to save battery life. Modern fridges are well insulated so defrosting will take quite a few days. Again if you are planning on using meat cuts that day, take out frozen meat and placing in a container while you are travelling. If meat is slightly defrosted, place in the warmer part of the fridge (the butter section).
Always remember to keep an eye on your fridge when you are travelling to hot places, whenever you are having a breaking during the day, always check your fridge to make sure that it is running properly, including the temperature. If you do have meat in a container outside of your fridge and it has defrosted, put it back in your fridge so it will be fine for that night.
When travelling cooking meals does not have to be a chore, it can be the best part of a trip, preparing food around a camp fire with your mates and family. Telling stories of the day’s travel, eating a beautiful cooked steak, or camp roast, while sipping on a glass of wine.
Now we have come a long way from the days of canned veggies and spam, be adventurous with your cooking and enjoy.
Camp Oven Recipe: Lamb Shoulder Roast with herbs and veggies.
1.8kg – 2kg Lamb Shoulder with bone. Feeds about 5-6 people.
Additional ingredients …
Veggies of choice, maybe a couple of onions, some carrots, mushrooms and a few spuds, cut up into good bite size chunks.
Fresh herbs e.g. Rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper.
Some veggie stock, throw it all in with meat.
2 – 3 hours cooking time
Ingredients can be taken with you and stored in fridge they will keep fresher and longer