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Old 05-19-2022, 02:22 PM   #1
Michael
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Default I Bought a Freeze Dryer - Harvest Right

After several months of contemplation, I finally pulled the trigger on a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer (affiliate link)




Although I initially got sticker shock when I first saw the price, I started working through some calculations and felt like the ROI could potentially be realized fairly quickly, based on my intended usage. (I actually found a really good deal on a used one (normally hard to come by) which will help even more!)

Iíll post more specifics (and some YouTube vids) as I go, but here are some of the reasons I decided to buy a FD (in no particular order):
  • Homemade Hunting/Hiking/Camping/Kayaking Meals
  • Food Preservation - add another option to freezing, canning, dehydrating, etc. meats, yard eggs, garden fruits and vegetables. FD retains significantly more nutrients than canning and dehydrating.
  • Inflation Protection/ Food Shortages
  • Reduce Food Waste - weíve always been good about eating leftovers, but we still throw away too much unused food.
  • Emergency Preparedness - for short term disasters (natural or man made), power outages, job disruption, food donations, etc.
  • TEOTWAWKI or SHTF - Iíve never considered myself a ďdoomsday prepperĒ, but there sure are a lot of red flags!
  • Potential Revenue (or Barter) Stream

Iíve run 4 full batches so far (we left for Cabo a few days after I got it and itís taking 24-30 hours to complete a batch). I did a couple of sample batches of fruits/veggies and ice cream/candies for our trip, and have done a couple of batches of various meats the last couple of days!



Venison Backstrap (and Eye of Round) Sous Vide @ 131 deg for 6 hours, then FD


I havenít reconstituted any of the meats yet, but Iíll report back with results - good and bad!

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer (affiliate link)


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Old 05-19-2022, 02:28 PM   #2
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Tuned in for results.
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Old 05-19-2022, 02:53 PM   #3
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I have been looking at them also. Keep us updated.

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Old 05-19-2022, 02:55 PM   #4
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Iím waiting for the rehydrated results!

Iíve thought about possibly building or buying one as I dehydrate my own meals a lot. From my experience freeze dried holds flavor better than dehydrated. Not sure how those steaks will go though
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Old 05-19-2022, 03:00 PM   #5
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The meat "looks" delicious! If it tastes like it looks, you got yourself a real winner there...
The bagged fruits look nice too.
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Old 05-19-2022, 03:00 PM   #6
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The strawberries look awesomeÖ in for the report on the rehydrationÖ how much fruit/veggies can you do in each batch??
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Old 05-19-2022, 03:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe H View Post
I have been looking at them also. Keep us updated.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond10x View Post
Iím waiting for the rehydrated results!

Iíve thought about possibly building or buying one as I dehydrate my own meals a lot. From my experience freeze dried holds flavor better than dehydrated. Not sure how those steaks will go though
I've done a couple of videos for my YouTube channel putting together dehydrated backpacking meals. Freeze drying offers several advantages over dehydrating. One of the biggest is that DH foods lose about 35-40% of their nutrients, while FD retain 97%. FD also retains same form factor and look, due to the sublimation process. The meals I made with dehydrated worked best when I DH individual ingredients and combined in the package, where with FD you can FD the entire meal at once to better "marry" the flavors. There are still some things that can't be FD (namely fats), of course, but they are less limited than with DH.

I've watched a few vids of reconstituting steaks (raw and cooked). I haven't really seen any that Sous Vide the steaks first, though. I've also seen people that cooked steaks to 130-135, but then had FD final dry temp set to 145. I adjusted mine down to 125 for the meats.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltwaterSlick View Post
The meat "looks" delicious! If it tastes like it looks, you got yourself a real winner there...
The bagged fruits look nice too.
I've also made a couple of batches of 48 hour bone stock that I'm going to use to rehydrate the meat, instead of water. That should REALLY soak the flavor into the meat, much more so than you can get with traditional marinade or brine!

Bananas, strawberries, sweet potato chips, avocado chips were all fantastic. Pineapple apparently takes a REALLY long time to FD. It was good, but not fully dry. Apple chips were good. The ice cream (mini IC , BB Cookies and Cream and HCF Neapolitan worked remarkably well, based on some of the horror stories I've seen on the net.
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Old 05-19-2022, 03:18 PM   #8
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The strawberries look awesomeÖ in for the report on the rehydrationÖ how much fruit/veggies can you do in each batch??
I separated all my fruit on the trays, so I didn't get a very high yield. I've learned that you can stack most fruits on the trays and can do 7-10 lbs in the medium FD (there are three sizes).
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Old 05-19-2022, 03:39 PM   #9
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Thatís awesome, congrats

My friendís sister has one, and youíll be impressed with the rehydrated results


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Old 05-19-2022, 03:48 PM   #10
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Very cool! I love freeze dried bananas!

Um... can I rent it from you sometime?
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Old 05-19-2022, 03:49 PM   #11
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Very cool! I love freeze dried bananas!

Um... can I rent it from you sometime?
See last bullet point!
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Old 05-19-2022, 04:16 PM   #12
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I never considered myself a "prepper", until a few months ago...
I don't have a freeze dryer, but I do dehydrate some.
The pressure canning is another story. I'm up to three canners now and have them all going on the weekends when I'm home.
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Old 05-19-2022, 04:22 PM   #13
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I have been trying to talk my wife into getting one. If I just dried out eggs we could have enough saved up to survive a year when the big one hits
I really like the idea of tossing leftovers in there and packing for hunts and such.
Really a great investment as far as Iím concerned
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Old 05-19-2022, 04:49 PM   #14
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I have been trying to talk my wife into getting one. If I just dried out eggs we could have enough saved up to survive a year when the big one hits
I really like the idea of tossing leftovers in there and packing for hunts and such.
Really a great investment as far as Iím concerned

My final justification was the increased demand for these machines (which also created a 2-3 month backlog on new shipments) post Covid. I think the current environment of inflation, supply chain issues and worldwide food shortages will continue to increase demand for machines. I feel like, worst case, I could use the machine for as long as needed and then turn around and sell it for near what they cost new. (Over the last couple of months of watching, Iíve actually seen multiple used machines listed (and sold) above MSRP. )


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Old 05-19-2022, 04:50 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by flywise View Post
I have been trying to talk my wife into getting one. If I just dried out eggs we could have enough saved up to survive a year when the big one hits
I really like the idea of tossing leftovers in there and packing for hunts and such.
Really a great investment as far as Iím concerned
You can dehydrate eggs in a regular dehydrator. You just need to get the silicon trays with a lip that fits. Let them dry, run them through a food processor until they are powder and dry them again for another hour. I store mine in Mason jars with an oxygen absorber. Keeps for a long time.
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Old 05-19-2022, 04:55 PM   #16
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I never considered myself a "prepper", until a few months ago...
I don't have a freeze dryer, but I do dehydrate some.
The pressure canning is another story. I'm up to three canners now and have them all going on the weekends when I'm home.

I have a couple of pressure canners, as well, and I think they (along with jars and PLENTY of lids) are an important tool to have for emergency preps. If power goes out for an extended time, having a pressure canner will be the best way to preserve perishable foods that might otherwise spoil.

However, I recently saw that pressure canned foods lose about 60% of their nutritional value.


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Old 05-19-2022, 05:03 PM   #17
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Wish you were closer. I want one of these really awful. Iíd be bartering like no ones business.
Had a demo going in my local ace hardware two weeks ago.
I got sticker shock when I saw the price.
I agree with your justification.
In for the videosÖ..
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Old 05-19-2022, 05:11 PM   #18
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You can dehydrate eggs in a regular dehydrator. You just need to get the silicon trays with a lip that fits. Let them dry, run them through a food processor until they are powder and dry them again for another hour. I store mine in Mason jars with an oxygen absorber. Keeps for a long time.
I sure didnít know that. Iíll give it a try
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Old 05-19-2022, 05:18 PM   #19
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I sure didnít know that. Iíll give it a try
I should have added, whip them up like you are going to scramble them and pour onto the sheets.
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Old 05-19-2022, 05:49 PM   #20
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Heads up, the affiliate program links you posted aren't working when I click on them. If I'm being honest, this thread came off like a TV infomercial.

But wait, there's more...
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Old 05-19-2022, 06:13 PM   #21
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I should have added, whip them up like you are going to scramble them and pour onto the sheets.
I had a feeling that was the case but thank you
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Old 05-19-2022, 06:28 PM   #22
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interesting. Never got into the canned meats. But will wait to see you eat some.
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Old 05-19-2022, 06:38 PM   #23
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Heads up, the affiliate program links you posted aren't working when I click on them. If I'm being honest, this thread came off like a TV infomercial.

But wait, there's more...

Really? I posted because I think Iím still trying to justify (in my own mind) spending that kind of money on a product designed to make $10 backpacking meals! LOL!

The affiliate link (approved for my YT channel) should simply send you to the base HR website. Where is it directing you?


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Old 05-19-2022, 06:43 PM   #24
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interesting. Never got into the canned meats. But will wait to see you eat some.

Iíve eaten quite a bit of canned meat. Itís not bad. Good for a quick meal.


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Old 05-19-2022, 07:01 PM   #25
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You can dehydrate eggs in a regular dehydrator. You just need to get the silicon trays with a lip that fits. Let them dry, run them through a food processor until they are powder and dry them again for another hour. I store mine in Mason jars with an oxygen absorber. Keeps for a long time.
Water glassed eggs are way better than dehydrated eggs imo. More of a texture thing but to me dehydrated are grainy like sand.
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:05 PM   #26
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Iíve eaten quite a bit of canned meat. Itís not bad. Good for a quick meal.


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I agree. Canned meat isnít bad at all when seasoned and canned with onion.
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:52 PM   #27
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Really? I posted because I think Iím still trying to justify (in my own mind) spending that kind of money on a product designed to make $10 backpacking meals! LOL!

The affiliate link (approved for my YT channel) should simply send you to the base HR website. Where is it directing you?


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This is the address that fails to open in my browser, exactly as it appears in the address bar...

http://ďhttps//affiliates.harvestright.com/1514.html%22
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Old 05-19-2022, 08:10 PM   #28
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Ok, thanks. I corrected it in the original. It appeared correctly on my laptop.

The correct link is: https://affiliates.harvestright.com/1514.html

I bought mine used on FB Marketplace, but if anybody wants to buy direct, you can use my affiliate link and maybe I can buy a few extra mylar bags!
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Old 05-19-2022, 08:15 PM   #29
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I love freeze dried fruits but as far as meat goes as long as I have a freezer working thats gonna be a hard pass lol. I am curious though to see how it turns out. My mind just cant right now


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Old 05-19-2022, 08:18 PM   #30
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I just got one too. Haven't even done the first bread run to clean it out yet. Looking forward to find out what I can do with it.
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Old 05-19-2022, 09:08 PM   #31
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I just got one too. Haven't even done the first bread run to clean it out yet. Looking forward to find out what I can do with it.

Awesome! Did you buy local or order from HR?


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Old 05-20-2022, 01:48 AM   #32
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Water glassed eggs are way better than dehydrated eggs imo. More of a texture thing but to me dehydrated are grainy like sand.

Iím doing that as well, but half gallon Mason jars are hard to come by these days.
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Old 05-20-2022, 06:39 AM   #33
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Holy cow. I had to do a double-take when I saw the price tags.

That is pretty cool though.
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Old 05-20-2022, 07:58 AM   #34
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Frozen and dry. Sounds delicious
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Old 05-20-2022, 08:24 AM   #35
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Sticker shock is right. lol

But the food does look good. Will be following.



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Old 05-20-2022, 08:30 AM   #36
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Iím doing that as well, but half gallon Mason jars are hard to come by these days.
We use plastic food grade 5 gallon buckets with good success. Can easily keep 30 dozen in one and only take up half the bucket
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Old 05-20-2022, 08:35 AM   #37
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In to follow.

I also expect a full sample platter of all these snacks be brought to the elk woods
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Old 05-20-2022, 08:49 AM   #38
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In to follow.

I also expect a full sample platter of all these snacks be brought to the elk woods

Iíll have a full sampling! I ALMOST wish we didnít have somebody cooking fresh, hot meals for us every day!


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Old 05-20-2022, 08:51 AM   #39
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In for results!!
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Old 05-20-2022, 11:38 AM   #40
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Can you freeze dry Dos Equis?
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Old 05-20-2022, 03:45 PM   #41
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Can you freeze dry Dos Equis?

Hmmm. Iím game to give it a try!


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Old 05-21-2022, 10:03 PM   #42
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Awesome! Did you buy local or order from HR?


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Ordered from HR
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Old 05-21-2022, 10:28 PM   #43
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That's plenty big for squirrels, rabbits, porcupines and small pets.
I'll be in contact soon!
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Old 05-23-2022, 10:52 AM   #44
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that's plenty big for squirrels, rabbits, porcupines and small pets.
I'll be in contact soon! :d
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Old 05-23-2022, 10:53 AM   #45
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https://youtu.be/hH6m2lMGukk
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Old 05-23-2022, 11:00 AM   #46
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WOW!!! Don't really know what to say about that Michael!!
Maybe you could try a snake in yours and video that!!
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Old 05-23-2022, 11:46 AM   #47
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WOW!!! Don't really know what to say about that Michael!!
Maybe you could try a snake in yours and video that!!

LOL! Yeah, Iím out on the freeze dried taxidermy!


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Old 05-24-2022, 03:59 PM   #48
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Default I Bought a Freeze Dryer - Harvest Right


Iíve been running mostly meat, trying to clean out the freezers, but the girls requested some candy, so I just put in a variety.

I also just reconstituted a piece of venison backstrap that I sous vide and FD last week. Iím creating a video of that, but Iíll share a sneak peak or the results this evening. I want to reshoot some of it when my wife is here and can taste it for another, unbiased opinion.


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Old 05-25-2022, 12:22 PM   #49
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The ďCovid CandyĒ (Nerd Gummy Chews) turned out great, as did the SW Taffy (those are 1/2 pieces that blew up to that size) and Skittles. The others (Starburst minis, Sour Patch WM and S Berry, Jolly Rancher Bites) didnít really change at all.


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Old 05-25-2022, 12:49 PM   #50
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Back to the meat testÖ

Itís a bit of a mixed bag. I rehydrated a piece of backstrap that had been SV (131 deg for 6 hours), then sliced and pre frozen before going to the FD. (I didnít season before SV, nor did I season or sear after.)

After FD, the meat mostly retained its medium rare color and look. Since I didnít exceed 131 degrees during cooking, I didnít want to exceed that during the drying or rehydrating, either. I set my dry temp to 125.

To rehydrate, I heated some homemade venison stock to -130 deg and then put a sample piece in the pot and covered.

I did notice that the color of the meat changed almost instantly when it hit the liquid, losing the med rare appearance. Some of that may be due to the color of the stock, but Iím sure itís mostly attributable to loss of myoglobin during the FD process.



I maintained the temp between 120-130 degrees for about 15 mins.

There was a darker line through the center, which I assume is where it didnít quite take on as much liquid, although it felt pretty much the same throughout. Compared to the original, though, it honestly didnít look all that appetizing.



However, the feel, taste, texture and juiciness were EXACTLY as they should have been. I was very pleasantly surprised by that. I ate one half of the piece without any sear or seasoning (other than the flavor from the stock, which was evident), and then I put a little SPG on the other piece and quickly seared it in butter on a cast iron griddle. It was excellent!



But thenÖ


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