how to vacuum seal meats with a lot of liquid

Two pieces of meat vacuum sealed.

Vacuum sealing dry foods is a breeze. But vacuum sealing liquids on the other hand can be a complete disaster if you don’t do it right. The biggest problem you will run into is a poor seal that breaks before you’re ready to take it out. Imagine taking out rib eye steaks only to find it freezer burned, brown instead of bright red, and void of all the freshness you thought you had sealed in. Don’t panic. Foods with liquid can be sealed just as well as dry foods if you follow these simple tips.

Keep the vacuum sealer above the bag

It’s as simple as it sounds. Keep the vacuum sealer higher than the bag and the food. How do you do this? Just let the bag hang off the edge of the counter. You’ll have to support the bag with one hand.

For this trick, it’s best to have a newer vacuum sealer (one that only requires the touch of a button to vacuum and seal). Once you close the top half of the vacuum sealer, it “locks” it down on top of the bag. A push of a button will then vacuum and seal the bag.

An older and lower end vacuum sealer that requires you to push down on the top of the unit requires a little bit more work. First you start off with the bag of food on the counter. Close the lid and keep it down on the bag so it holds it in place, but doesn’t start the vacuuming. Use your free hand to slide the bag off the counter. Now the vacuum sealer is above the bag. You can then use both hands to press down on the vacuum sealer and start the vacuuming and sealing process. If you have a big bag that is heavy, you’ll want to have someone to help you. If help isn’t available then use a chair or table that is lower than the counter.

Use paper towels

Fold a piece (or multiple pieces) of paper towel into a strip. You want the length to be the same as the width of the bag’s opening. Place the strip of paper towel right before the lids of the vacuum sealer. Make sure the paper towel isn’t being clamped. Then just vacuum and seal as normal. The paper towel will absorb the liquid if you get any.

What about the paper towel? Can I just leave it in there? Yes, you can just leave the paper towel in there. What if you don’t want the paper towel? There’s another trick to get rid of the paper towel after you seal it.

For this to work, you’ll have to leave a little extra bag space to work with. Just make another seal below the paper towel. Then cut off the part with the paper towel. This only works if your vacuum sealer lets you seal a bag without vacuuming.

Freeze it first

The above methods work great for foods with a little moisture like meats, etc. However it doesn’t work very well for foods with a lot of liquids (like soups, sauces, stews, etc.). For those, you will have to do a little bit of pre-freezing.

You can freeze liquids in a plastic container, or you can freeze it in a unsealed bag. You need a plastic container because once frozen, it’s easier to remove it since it can flex. If you’re freezing it in an h sealed bag then place the bag in a container, bowl, or something that will hold it in place and don’t tip over and spell everything.

For example, if you’re vacuum sealing soup, just freeze it for an hour or two until it’s partially frozen. Then just use the elevated vacuum sealer method above. Otherwise you can freeze it until it’s completely frozen and vacuum seal it as you would dry foods.

Vacuum sealing liquids can be a nightmare. Those horror stories you hear about it is mostly because the person didn’t do it right. The problem is a lot of people assume you can seal them the same way you seal dry foods. The truth is you have to put in a little more work to vacuum seal it right. Of course, having a good vacuum sealer with a quality sealing bar helps a lot. Just follow the tips here and you’ll have a much more rules ant experience with vacuum sealing foods with liquids.

If you’re sealing something with sharp or rough edges, check out these tips first, or you risk wasting bags.