Here are our best tips on how we process, store, and buy meat in bulk, as well as our (non-sponsored) Zaycon Fresh review – a company we have used for several years.
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I don’t love to buy things in bulk.
Which is funny, since I’m a huge Costco fan.
Our family just isn’t big enough to justify buying large quantities of fruits, vegetables, frozen foods, etc.
Ask me again when my boys are teenagers 😉
However, if there are two things I always buy in bulk, it is toilet paper and meat.
I feel buying in bulk gives us the most bang for our bulk in these two categories. So today, I wanted to share some more details on how we buy meat in bulk – as well as how to store bulk meat!
How We Buy Meat in Bulk
The main place that we buy meat in bulk is through Zaycon Fresh. We have been using this company for YEARS, and if I can help it, it’s the only place I buy chicken and ground beef (and I’m hoping to start buying ground turkey).
The meat is super high quality, it comes to you fresh, and, most importantly, it’s cheap. I’ll share a bit more about how Zaycon works in a bit, as well as why we love it. But it really is most of the cost-effective ways to buy meat in bulk. Often you will see the chicken on sale for around $1.69 a pound, though I’ve seen it as low as $1.39 a pound. It ends up saving us a lot of money in the long run.
When I can’t buy meat from Zaycon, I typically go to Costco or watch the sales. I never like to buy chicken unless it’s under $1.99 a pound. Ground beef or ground turkey I typically like to get below $2.99 (though if I get a lower fat content with ground beef, it will often go above that).
I’ve never done this, but I know some people will buy a portion of a cow or pig to get high-quality meat. This typically has a higher overhead cost, but it’s definitely something to look into.
How We Process and Store Meat in Bulk
One of the biggest essentials when it comes to buying meat in bulk is having lots of extra freezer space.
Is it absolutely necessary to have a stand alone or chest freezer? No. We didn’t have one until just about a year ago.
However, it makes things A LOT easier. We used to have to split our orders from Zaycon, because we had literally no room left in the freezer portion of our refrigerator.
Chest freezers tend to be less expensive, and they usually use less energy, but I am glad we have a stand alone freezer. We got it for about $100 on Craigslist. I’m pretty sure it’s about 100 years old (okay, not really), but it works.
If you are worried about the energy it might use, they do have Energy Star efficient ones available nowadays. Your electric company may even give you a rebate for replacing an old one with one of these!
ANYWAYS. Make sure you have freezer space. Moving on.
When we get our meat from Zaycon, we pick it up from a big truck and come home with either rolls of ground beef or boxes of fresh chicken.
They need to be processed pretty quickly, so we usually set aside a couple of hours (for the chicken. Ground beef is a lot easier).
How to Prepare your Meat for Freezing
Trim the excess fat from the chicken. Make sure you are using high-quality kitchen sheers.
Weigh chicken in one to two-pound increments. Place in bag. Write weight and date on the bag.
For Ground Beef/Turkey:
Cut off large pieces and weigh into one pound increments and place in bag. Write weight and date on the bag.
Storing your Meat
Now, you need to decide what you want to store your meat in. Until recently, we have always used freezer bags.
Unfortunately, this never really works that well for us. Somehow, they always end up a little freezer burnt. It tastes fine still, but definitely not as good as I want it to.
We recently got this Food Saver vacuum sealer, and it’s a total game-changer. A vacuum sealer is a bit of an investment, but if you are buying meat in bulk, it will help prolong the taste and quality much further.
So take it from me…if you can use a vacuum sealer…DO IT.
I know some people who even can their chicken using an electric pressure cooker, but I’ve never personally done this. I feel like it’s a good option, though!
You could also cook up your ground beef and then freeze it. I know some people who will do this, and then make some of it into taco meat, some into spaghetti sauce, etc. I think this is a great option!
I have gotten the 80/20 meat from Zaycon. It is less healthy, but I think it tastes better. I try and get rid of the excess fat by cooking it, draining it, putting the meat in a strainer, and then putting it under water. Then I return it to the pan to add seasonings, too.
And now, more about Zaycon Fresh. I want to make it 100% clear that they are NOT paying me to write this post. I am a part of their affiliate program (if you are a blogger, you can signup for that here), but it is truly one of my favorite companies that we use on a regular basis.
I’m passionate about giving you all the best deals and information, which is why this post is so long and in depth. They did provide me with some of the information below (which was helpful so I didn’t have to write it all out myself!).
As I mentioned, we’ve been using it for years. I’ve never had any issues with the meat, and I can really taste a difference from the grocery store. They often have amazing prices (recently they had chicken for $1.39 a pound), and they are great to work with.
Is Zaycon Fresh chicken organic? No, but I think it’s about as close as you can get without having the actual certification! It is not certified by the USDA, but all the animals are humanely raised and processed in the United States. You can read more about the company here.
What is Zaycon Fresh?
You can think of Zaycon Fresh as a type of food coop, and in this case specifically, a meat coop.
Have you ever been a part of a food coop for produce or purchasing other types of foods in
bulk and direct from the source? Well, it is similar in nature.
Buying via a food coop leads to higher quality due to direct relationships with the producer,
fresher food again because of the direct relationship, as well as lower prices because you are
cutting out the middleman (i.e. the grocery store). It’s a smart food buying concept.
How does it work?
This program is offered through Zaycon Fresh Foods. They are a nationwide meat coop. It is a
unique process, but the rewards in quality, freshness and value are worth the wait.
- You order your meat selection now for a pickup date within 4 months from now. This is
how a group buying system works. When many can order directly from the supplier, it drives the
price down. As a result, this is done over a several month time period to ensure the
requirements of the group discount price.
- You order the meats in bulk. Generally 40 lb cases at a time. Many families will also
split a case, which is a great option if you can’t afford the entire 40 lb amount (or don’t have the freezer space for it).
- Sale offerings are changing all of the time. There are several options, but each option
is only offered a few times per year. So the specific offerings and sales at the time of login will
vary depending on the month! Make sure you sign up here for a free account so you can make sure you get all the best deals. Through March 31st, 2017, you can get an exclusive blogger discount using the code BL20 ($20 off your entire purchase).
- At the specified day/time of your local pickup, a refrigerated truck will arrive in your
- You will drive to your pickup location on the day and time of your pickup event,
generally within 30 minutes, some locations within 5 minutes of your home and in the parking lot
of a private business or organization where arrangements have been made.
- You don’t even have to get out of your car. You pullup in line. When it is your turn,
roll down your window and give the driver your name, pop your trunk and they will place a
plastic sheet down to protect your vehicle and load your order into your trunk.
- Drive home with your order!
- The whole process is just a few minutes, which makes it very convenient!
- Feel free to read the FAQ to help answer additional questions. You can sign up here!
What does Zaycon sell?
Here is a list of all the products you can buy from Zaycon. This will be based on availability in your area:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 93/7 ground beef
- Premium hickory smoked bacon
- 90/10 ground turkey
- Angus ribeye steaks
- All beef hot dogs
- Breaded chicken breast fritters
- 80/20 ground beef
- Kansas City Strip Steaks
- Pork sausage links
- Premium Pork tenderloin
- Premium skirt steaks
- Sweet Italian Sausage
- Wild Argentine Red Shrimp
Why would I buy my meat this way instead of the grocery
- The cost is 30-50% less than the grocery store depending on the meat selected.
- Most all of the meat is delivered farm fresh, never frozen (there are some exceptions
like the Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon, that’s a little difficult to deliver fresh from Alaska). It
comes directly from the farms, so it is very fresh, as opposed to ;meats in the grocery
store going through a long journey to arrive at the store and handled by many in the
- The quality is compared to the higher quality options in the grocery store. The local
farms are handpicked and Zaycon is committed to providing the highest quality. If at any time a
farm does not meet their strict standards, they will drop this farm and meat will not be available
in this area until an acceptable replacement is found. I love that you can trust Zaycon is always making sure their meat is top of the line.
- It’s convenient! I can’t tell you how much I LOVE not having to shop around for the best prices, or worry that the meat I buy on sale at the grocery store isn’t high quality. It makes things easier knowing that I can rely on Zaycon.
- They have a great reputation, high ratings, including a great BBB.com rating (A+).
- They have been around since 2009, and growing massively in popularity because
they are meeting several needs in this key area of grocery shopping and grocery budgets
- They have one of the highest customer retention rates in any industry. The
percentage of return customers exceeds industry standards. The proof is in the
How do I order?
Ordering is really easy!
- Log on to the Zaycon site and register or login.
- At the top of the page, click on shop by product or by location.
- Find the meat offerings you are interested in.
- You will find the details of the meat being offered.
- Click on “On Sale Now”
- Add as many cases as you would like.
- If there is a coupon code, enter it at checkout.
- At secure checkout, enter your payment information.
- You will receive a confirmation email of your order and you will also see your order
history under “My Account.”
- Wait for your pickup date/time!
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about Zaycon or about buying meat in bulk!