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Saving Freezer Meat During A Power Outage – Plus My Grid-Down Plan

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Saving Freezer Meat – How to save your freezer meat in the event of a short-term power outage or even a long-term grid-down SHTF situation.

In this article, I’m going to cover how I plan to save our freezer meat in the event of a power outage using two scenarios – A short-term (A few days to a couple of weeks) and a Full-out grid down SHTF situation. This is going to be fun!

Years ago, if the power went out I’d have to deal with or lose a couple of hundred dollars of meat at any given time. That would be painful, but imagine losing a thousand dollars or more of meat.

Now imagine that was the only meat you’d have for a very long time. You need a meat-saving backup plan.

Here’s My Power Outage Plan For Our Freezer And Refrigerators

I’ll share my plan, using my situation, and you can design your plan accordingly, based on your needs, resources, and situation.

I have a generator. Not good enough, right? I also have sixty gallons of fuel (Gas in my case) that’s in constant (Monthly) rotation. For safety, I’d prefer using propane or natural gas, but what I have now works.

I know from experience, and several power outages, that I can keep my generator running for a month with that stored fuel. I can keep the generator running for a week with a continuous run (Breaks for oil and maintenance) and a month running just four hours a day.

Image - Equipment Maintenance Preps

Pro Tip: I keep spare spark plugs, oil, and filters for all of our outdoor equipment. I also do my own maintenance so I know what I’m doing and won’t have to “figure things out” during an emergency. If you plan on a generator to operate daily for a week or more, you need to treat it right. It’s a quick visit to your local hardware store and a small investment. The time to do this is before the event you’re planning to survive.

Here’s what that looks like – Four hours a day

Scenario One: Short-Term Power Outage

The power goes out, and I believe it might be out for a few days or even a week.

I run the generator for four hours a day in the late afternoon, running all of my refrigerators and freezer/s. If we need something from one of them, do it as quickly as possible. I may even cover the units with thick blankets to keep them more insulated.

Once the power comes back on, we replace the fuel using our rotation method and perform any necessary maintenance on our generator, E.g. changing the oil, replacing the spark plug, fuel, and air filters. Portable generators are durable and long-lasting investments only if taken care of.

Pro Tip: If there’s any room in the freezers, I’m wrong. We should be filling gaps with containers of water (ice) right now – before the power goes out. This helps the freezer run more efficiently, as well as helps to extend the cold temperatures within the unit when the compressor is stopped (No power to the freezer). I use the same pop/soda and tea/juice bottles I use for storing emergency water and treat it as such. When I add meat to the freezer, I don’t empty the water from the bottles, I set it aside as emergency water storage – because it is.

Scenario Two: Long-Term Grid Down Situation

The power goes out. It’s something big, and I don’t think the power is coming back on.

Now our plan is a little more involved. We need to protect that protein before we run out of generator fuel. No worries, I have a plan for that.

Whether we have half a cow or just a bunch of frozen meat we’ve prepped, every ounce of that protein is worth more than gold if we just experienced a SHTF event so bad we don’t expect the power to come back on.

Remember, three refrigerators and one freezer (A second freezer coming this fall) and enough fuel to run my generator for a month at four hours a day.

That doesn’t give us a month to eat all that meat, it gives us a month to preserve it – saving freezer meat. In our case, that means thawing and canning, as fast as possible. The goal here is to safely thaw the frozen meat using the refrigerators at a pace we can keep up with when canning that thawed meat.

I have a double burner outdoor Camp Chef propane stove (Paid Link) and more than enough propane stored. I keep an ample supply of empty canning jars and lids, AND WATER just for this grid-down plan of action.

Image - Canning Supplies For Grid-Down Canning

I want to reduce the load of the generator by eliminating refrigerators and the freezer as soon as possible. Once all the meat is out of the freezer, that’s one less appliance to run during those four hours. Once a refrigerator is empty because everything in it has been canned or eaten, that unit is unplugged, conserving even more fuel. This is part of my calculations for getting a month on sixty gallons of gas.

Eat your ice cream before it melts. I wouldn’t waste time and energy trying to save things like frozen desserts.

Honestly, we should be able to can all the meat in a little over a week. We need a few days per batch in the refrigerator to thaw the meat. I can use two pressure canners at a time at 7 quarts each.

If you’re new to home canning, you’ll be amazed at how much cold-packed meat fits into a quart canning jar. I highly recommend every prepper learn and use home canning. Especially canning meat, it’s actually easier than canning most vegetables.

๐Ÿ“‘ Sidenote: All chargeable devices are fully charged using the generator during those four hours a day that it’s running. We also have a small 100-watt solar setup with four panels that will be used to charge devices and maintain the batteries as well.

Energy Back-up Plan

We have a couple of backup options. Both require gas, so gas is extremely important. A second portable generator as well as an inverter we can run from one of our three cars (Which we NEVER allow to fall below half a tank).

The backup generator is smaller and older but can still run the freezer and a couple of the refrigerators. The inverter will only run the freezer and one refrigerator (Our newest that uses inverter technology and requires less energy to start and run) separately.

In both cases, we’d have to consolidate into fewer things to run. The car would have to run twice as long using the inverter since it will only run one appliance at a time.

Wrapping Up Saving Freezer Meat During A Power Outage

Again, this is my plan in the event of a power outrage (โฌ… That was a typo, but I’m leaving it. It’s actually fitting) – long or short term. Maybe your generator runs on propane or your freezer is way bigger. Maybe part of your meat preservation includes dehydrating/drying in the sun or with a sun oven, curating with salt, smoking, fermentation, making Biltong, or jerky.

Maybe you have livestock, and you’re able to keep your meat very fresh – as in alive.

No matter your particular situation, you might want to consider exactly what you would do in the event of a power outage if you are storing meat in a freezer.

๐Ÿ”— Helpful Items & Related Links

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๐Ÿ“‘ NOTE: I use this Wireless Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer With Alarm (Paid link). It has worked fine for me since the day I bought it (Nov 8, 2019) but uses batteries pretty quickly in the transmitters. Triple-A batteries for the base and Double-A batteries for the wireless transmitters that go in your freezers. I eventually want to upgrade to a freezer/refrigerator monitor and alarm that can alert me if the temp starts dropping even when I’m not home. I haven’t found one I can afford yet. I’ll post a review once I have a good one and had a chance to test it for a while. It would also be cool if there were some way to be alerted that the power has stopped running while away from home. I’ll look into it.

I’d love to know your plans so feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Call To Action / Next Step

Next Step:ย Managing Your Freezer Meat – Even With Half A Cow.

Stay safe. Stay prepared.
Hawkins Out.

This article is copyright ยฉ๏ธ 2022 Mighty Mix Media and originally posted on NextStepSurvival.com

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Saving Your Freezer Meat During A Grid-Down SHTF Event

The featured image was created using work by Pete Linforth, Kranich17, jplenio and CleanPNG.

Brian Hawkins

Father, grandfather, Veteran, animal lover, law-abiding taxpayer, homeowner, trucker, and a United States Citizen. Oh, and I'm also a prepper, survivalist, responsible gun owner, and hiker.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. jeffb

    Brian,
    Your plan ultimately revolves around fuel. You are up north and should be thinking more about an earthen freezer provided option. Dig a hole. Have you considered digging a “root cellar”? Good shovels are important.

    1. Brian Hawkins

      Hi Jeff, sorry for the delay, your comment got caught up in the blogger’s inability to keep up box. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I love the idea of a root cellar. None of the surrounding houses have basements, so I’m not sure about the water table, but it is something to look into.

      As far as saving meat in a power outage in the winter, short term, we use the garage all the time, even without a power outage. I have several large plastic coolers that keep rodents out. (So far)

      In the summer, nothing short of food preservation is going to keep the meat as it thaws. A cellar might prolong the meat for a while, but not long enough to can it all as it thaws. At least it wouldn’t seem like it.

      I’d still like to have one though. Especially if I could access it from inside the home. I’m on a slab, so a hole in the floor would need to be cut out. See what you did? Now I want another hole cut out for a hidden cache. LOL

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