Welcome to Carter Country | Since 1964

Welcome to Carter Country | Since 1964

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Frozen at Its Finest: Why and How We Freeze Our Dry-Aged Beef

Whether you purchase a durable, highly-insulated Yeti cooler full of Carter County Meats, or opt for an ongoing subscription that we send to you in our innovative, bio-based,insulated, compostable packaging, you know one thing: you are getting high-quality, grass-fed beef that has been dry-aged to perfection, then frozen at its finest. We do all the work for you, so all you have to do is keep your meat frozen, then eat when you’re ready! We patiently dry-age, expertly portion, then wet-age, vacuum-seal and deep-freeze each cut to preserve the perfection for you and your family to eat, when you are ready.

Men looking at frozen beef

Freezing Preserves Quality 

Simply put, we freeze our beef to preserve the quality. We take care to raise our cattle responsibly in a way that is healthy for the animals, healthy for the land, and in turn, healthy for your family. Then, we take care in patiently dry-aging our beef to ensure maximum flavor and tenderness. Finally we  optimally package and freeze our beef, so that the quality is preserved when you are ready to thaw and cook.

Frozen Beef Lasts Longer

Why not just buy “fresh” meat at the grocery store and freeze it yourself? First, our beef is patiently dry-aged to maximize flavor and tenderness, whereas grocery stores do not age their beef at all. Second, while it’s true that frozen beef lasts longer, it must be frozen a certain way, in certain packaging, at a certain temperature and at a certain speed, to ensure the quality is preserved. First, the meat must be packaged in a way that minimizes  oxygen, which reduces bacterial growth. Then, it must be quickly frozen at a very cold temperature to prevent ice crystals from forming. (You likely know from experience how old supermarket meat looks when frozen too long — it is freezer-burnt with big ice crystals and does not look appetizing!) In contrast, here at Carter Country Meats, our dry-aged beef is vacuum-sealed in reduced-oxygen packaging, then flash-frozen with special machinery. The result is that our grass-fed, dry-aged beef is “frozen at its finest” and will keep in the freezer beautifully for up to three years! In contrast, store-bought meat on styrofoam trays, pumped with chemicals then sealed in permeable plastic, will simply not last as long.

Frozen Beef Saves (Cows’) Lives

If you’ve ever purchased a whole or half cow share from your local rancher, you know that there’s a lot of meat on a cow. On average, one whole cow can feed a family of four for over a year! Cows are big animals, and when purchased from a reputable rancher they simply must be frozen, since a whole cow cannot be eaten all at once. Freezing allows an entire family to be fed from just one cow — in contrast, buying fresh beef at the store means you’ll be eating hundreds, if not thousands of different cows. In contrast, by purchasing your beef from Carter Country Meats, you are ensuring that each cow is utilized to its maximum potential, with each cow feeding as many people as possible such that fewer cows need to be processed. So, frozen beef saves lives!

woman riding horses with cows

Frozen Beef Reduces Waste

It is an unfortunate fact that between one-third and one-half of all food produced worldwide is wasted, lost, and ultimately uneaten. How many times have we all bought fresh meat at the grocery store, forgot to use it and had to throw it out? There’s a better way! We ship our beef dry-aged to perfection then “frozen at its finest” so that all you have to do is keep it (frozen), or eat it at your own pace.

How to Store Carter Country Meats

At Carter Country Meats, all our beef is dry-aged whole to tender and flavorful perfection, then “frozen at its finest.” This process ensures we preserve your beef at the peak of its flavor and at its most tender, so that it lasts as long as is necessary. According toFoodSafety.gov, food can be saved indefinitely as long as it’s stored at 0°F or below the entire time,. When you receive a box of Carter Country meats, you will likely choose to store some in your freezer for later use. Think about what you’d like to eat and when. Store those cuts that you plan to keep frozen longer, at the bottom and back of your freezer — they will keep even better when not exposed to temperature change from opening the freezer. Then, keep those cuts you want to use sooner, closer to the front of the freezer so you remember to use them. You may want to pull out a certain cut for dinner right away, but make sure you thaw the beef properly (that is, at least overnight), to ensure maximum deliciousness. Then, when you are ready, follow the simple directions below to thaw your beef properly.

How To Thaw Carter Country Meats:

  1. Place frozen package on elevated rack to allow airflow underneath (such as a wire cooling rack) with tray underneath. 
  2. Place in fridge and let thaw in fridge for 1-2 days, depending on the size of cut (larger cuts will take longer to thaw.)
  3. When thawed completely, remove from package and gently pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Then, let sit 10 minutes to allow oxygen to “bloom” the meat (get color back)
  5. (optional) If desired, you may trim to your preference, but know that all our meat is already trimmed to be ready for you to enjoy.
  6. Season and cook your steak as desired! See our pamphlet included for tips on how to cook each cut of steak, and be sure to enjoy within 3 days of thawing.

If you don’t have time to thaw your beef in the fridge, the next best option is to submerge your meat in cold water. Put your frozen meat in a leak-proof Ziplock bag and place into a bowl of cold water, ensuring that the meat is fully covered.Ground beef that’s been frozen flat should thaw in about ten minutes, while denser hunks of meat will a little take longer (about 30 minutes for each half pound). Once thawed, cook immediately.

Frozen foods that were thawed in the fridge and not on the counter can be returned to the freezer. However, if you thawed the food on the counter, the food cannot be returned to the freezer safely and must be cooked immediately. When food sits out in the “danger zone” (40°F - 140°F) for more than two hours, it’s a bacteria bonanza. At this temperature, bacteria grow rapidly. That could leave you sick from any number of bacteria that live and multiply on raw meats, including E. coli and salmonella.

One thing to consider: refreezing sometimes compromises the texture and flavor of your beef. It’s not ideal to give your frozen food a second run, but it is safe if you’ve thawed it properly in the first place.

steak being cut

Cooking Without Thawing

When there is not enough time to thaw frozen foods, or you're simply in a hurry, just remember: it is safe to cook foods from the frozen state. The cooking will take approximately 50% longer than the recommended time for fully thawed or fresh meat.

How To Thaw and Slack Out Individual Burgers

Our 7 and 28 lbs Dry Aged Burger packs come frozen in stacks of seven individual patties. Each burger is 4oz of grass-fed gold. We suggest thawing out a stack at a time in the refrigerator using the technique explained earlier. If you want to thaw a smaller number of patties at once, start by removing a stack of 7 patties from the freezer. Place the stack on a cutting board and very carefully use a cleaver to separate individual patties from the stack. Small pieces of paper separate each patty and make separation an easy task. If you don’t have a large knife or cleaver, you can drop the stack of patties from 6-8 inches above the countertop onto the cutting board and the stack should fall apart into individual burgers.