The Guide to Buying the Best Vacuum Sealer for Fish & Game
What's different about a fish and game vacuum sealer?
The best fish and game vacuum sealers are geared towards hunters and fishers who are out in the elements instead of the kitchen. Whether you're a hunting guide or run a fishing charter, a resilient and portable vacuum packaging machine with quality vacuum seal bags that will hold up when sealing big fish and game are essential for harvesting and keeping your catch. The equipment used for fish and game processing can determine the quality of your meals. The best vacuum sealers for fish and game will perform with consistent reliability, helping you keep your harvest for longer.
The Guide to the Best Fish and Game Sealer
- What is a Vacuum Sealer?
- Moisture Kills Most Vacuum Packers Used by Outdoorsmen
- Power Flexibility is Important for Fish and Game Sealers
- Compact and Portable Vacuum Packaging for Backpacking
- Removable Scale for Packaging Even Portions
- Marinating Your Catch in Marinade by Vacuum Packing
- Conclusion and Recommendation of Fish and Game Sealer
- Extra: Added Features of Vacuum Sealers
What is a Vacuum Sealer?
Definition of vacuum sealer
A vacuum sealer is a tool that removes air and joins the ends of plastic pouches designed for preserving food. The ability to remove air, package and seal food increases shelf life of food. The reason behind this is due to the removal of and protection from bacteria which can accelerate the food spoil rate. Other benefits of vacuum sealers include the ability to decrease storage space, prevent freezer burn and dehydration, and maintain fresh flavors for longer.
A vacuum sealer used for fish and game encounters excess moisture levels, among many other obstacles that make it difficult to properly remove air from a vacuum bag and apply a thermally bonded seal. Standard kitchen grade vacuum sealers do not work well for hunting and fishing. It is best to use a vacuum sealer designed for fish and game when you plan to preserve your catch.
Moisture Kills Most Vacuum Packers Used by Outdoorsmen
Kitchen grade vacuum sealers are meant for sealing conventional foods that do not have high moisture content. (cereal, nuts, granola bars, pizza, etc.) When used for vacuum packaging items such as fish or meat, they often require or recommend you to freeze the items prior to sealing to prevent moisture from entering the vacuum seal chamber.
The problem with this is that whether you are vacuum sealing fish or wild game these meats tend to have higher moisture content, and a fish vacuum sealer or a vacuum sealer for wild game may be necessary for handling high moisture. The first thing most fisherman do is throw their fish on ice, which only adds to the already high water content levels. Regardless if the fish is on ice or not, fish naturally have very high water content levels in the 70-80% range. It's important to utilize the best vacuum sealer for fish, otherwise you will risk premature failure for your vacuum sealer.
The same thing goes with wild game, albeit they do have a little lower water content percentage than fish do. Wild animals such as deer and hogs have a body water content level close to the 50%-60% range. The first thing most hunters do after they clean the animal they harvest is let the meat sit on ice to help get the gamey taste out.
The next step in preparing your fish or game is to fillet out the fish or debone the meat from your wild game. Once this is done, the fillets / deboned meat are rinsed with freshwater to clean the meat before it is vacuum packed. It is good practice to drain as much water from vacuum bags as possible prior to sealing, but most of the time the moisture is inevitable even after you let the bag drain. The best vacuum sealer for wild game will be capable of handling this excess moisture, making it easier for hunters to preserve their catch for the long haul.
The most common method of vacuum packing is to pack only raw meat. The up and coming method of vacuum packing, however, is to season or marinate the meat prior to sealing. This infuses the meat and gives it added flavor when ready to pull it out of the freezer and make a meal. Liquid marinade is known to damage standard kitchen grade vacuum sealers while a vacuum sealer designed for marinating your catch would hold up far better. Whether the meat is marinated or not, the importance of a fish and wild game vacuum sealer capable of handling high moisture content levels is pretty clear.
The best vacuum sealers for fish and game will often have a normal setting for sealing conventional foods and then it will also have a "moist" setting which is for sealing food with high water content. Once the vacuum sealer starts sealing, it will pull a bunch of the excess moisture out of the bag and place it in the drip tray. Once the excess moisture is removed, the sealing bar will heat up and implement a prolonged heating period that ensure a leak-proof seal across the vacuum packaged bag. This leaves the user with vacuum packed fish fillets or wild game which can go in the freezer for longer term storage.
Please note - vacuum sealers that are not meant for sealing fish, game and other high moisture content foods may be damaged when this is attempted. It is better to freeze your fish and wild game prior to sealing on vacuum sealer not intended for this use.
Power Flexibility is Important for Fish and Game Sealers
As a hunter or fisher, the availability of a power source is sometimes dismal. It is equally important for your fish and game vacuum sealer to be compatible with both AC and DC power sources.
Conventional power sources such as your home wall outlet plug, generator plug, or fish cleaning station plug may run on 110V/120V AC.
Portable power sources such as your ATV battery or boat battery are most likely going to run on 12V DC. The availability of power for an outdoorsman is always limited, so a fish and wild game vacuum sealer that has power flexibility is extremely important.
There aren't very many power flexible vacuum sealers out there, but if you're able to find one - act quickly because odds are they won't last long.
Compact and Portable Vacuum Packaging for Backpacking
Whether you're hiking through the mountains on a hunting trip or isolated offshore on a fishing trip, portability is extremely important for outdoorsmen. The accessories you take along have to minimize the amount of space they take up while maximizing the amount of value they provide.
You may think - if you're out in the middle of nowhere, why do you even need to bring a vacuum sealer along?
Well if you're hunting, just simply sealing the meat (even though you may not be able to ice it down or throw it in the freezer), will extend the shelf life even when stored at room temperature compared to not sealing the meat. It is believed to add several days of shelf life on to the meat you seal because the sealing process removes air and bacteria which helps delay the food spoiling process. This could be the difference in getting back to camp with freshly harvested meat vs. spoiled meat you worked so hard to get.
So - next time you go on that overnight hunting trip, it is imperative that you bring along a vacuum sealer to be sure that whatever animal you harvest is preserved long enough to make it back to camp.
A quality commercial grade vacuum sealer that is as compact as possible is essential for any outdoorsman.
Removable Scale for Packaging Even Portions
A removable scale for your vacuum packaging machine is one of the most important features you need. Whether you catch a bunch of fish or harvest big game, evenly portioning the meat is key to preventing waste.
Health experts say you should eat an average of 8 to 12 ounces of meat per serving per person. Our newest fish and game vacuum sealer comes with a removable scale for evenly packing your catch into individual or family sized meals. The scale is capable of providing accurate weight measurement up to 70 ounces (4.4 lbs). This is good enough for measuring out a 6 person meal!
Other benefits of a removable scale are for infusing your catch with seasoning prior to vacuum packing. Whether you're looking for the best vacuum sealer for fish, or the best vacuum sealer for wild game, having an accurate scale for evenly packing your harvest and perfecting your recipes is a must-have.
Marinating Your Catch in Marinade by Vacuum Packing
The final and fifth key feature to look for, which in my opinion is equally as important as the other 4 features, is the ability to marinate your fish fillets and wild game in marinade. When you utilize a vacuum sealer to marinate your catch, it literally infuses the marinade into the meat which often boast better results than simply soaking the meat the old fashioned way. Because of the vacuum sealer removing all of the excess air, it also saves on the amount of marinade that has to be used to marinate your meats.
Wild game is notorious for having a gamey taste to it, while hardy fish such as king mackerel can have a strong fishy taste to it if not cooked right away. I've found that vacuum sealing either of these with herbs and a fitting marinade will often help improve the taste when it comes time for meal preparation. Not to mention - if you vacuum seal your food with the herbs, it makes meal preparation later on that much easier.
Conclusion and Recommendation of Fish and Game Sealer
The best fish and game vacuum sealer is designed to withstand the elements of an outdoorsman as well as the catch of an outdoorsman. We've done an in-depth analysis of what any outdoorsman, whether you enjoy hunting, fishing or camping, should look for when looking to purchase your next vacuum sealer. Now - lets revisit the 5 features and we will discuss how we ultimately utilized this research to create a well-rounded vacuum sealer that performs all 5 of these features flawlessly at an extremely affordable price.
The all-around best vacuum packaging machine for the ultimate outdoorsman is the Outrigger Outdoors Fish & Game Vacuum Sealer.
- MOISTURE RESILIENT: It comes standard with a moist mode feature which allows the vacuum sealer to adjust for wild game and fish fillets high moisture content levels. This activates the sealer to extract the surplus moisture from the bag and drop down into the drip tray. This feature also enables the fish and wild game vacuum sealer to utilize a prolonged sealing period to be sure a strong leak-proof sealing bond is formed for long term storage.
- FLEXIBLE POWER OPTIONS: The vacuum packaging machine is capable of running on 12V DC or 110V/120V AC.
- COMPACT & PORTABLE, FITS IN BACKPACK: Our fish vacuum sealers and vacuum sealers for wild game were designed with space efficiency at top of mind. This low profile, compact machine will easily fit in a backpack with plenty of room to spare for other items. The dimensions of the unit are 15" Length X 5.9" Width X 3.5" Height.
- REMOVABLE SCALE FOR EVEN PORTIONS: Yes - we even included this feature. It wasn't easy but we deemed it necessary. Our removable scale is rated for up to 70 ounces or 4.4 lbs, which is far beyond the standard serving size of 8-12 ounces. Whether you are vacuum sealing for an individual or a family of 4, our removable scale will do a great job at helping you portion your meals.
- MARINATING YOUR CATCH IN MARINADE: Utilize our moist mode for vacuum packing marinade to marinate your meats. We also include an accessory hose for marinating mason jars, sealing conventional jars, sealing wine bottles, along with many other added uses.
Fish and Game Vacuum Sealer in Action
Vacuum Sealed Dove
Vacuum Sealed Wild Hog
Vacuum Sealed Fish Fillet
Extra: Added Features of Vacuum Sealers
ADDITIONAL USES OF VACUUM SEALERS
We've spent a lot of detail on how vacuum sealers add value to hunters and fishermen because of their ability to preserve fish and wild game, but one thing we did not mention was the ability to preserve non-food items.
SOUS VIDE COOKING WITH FISH AND GAME VACUUM SEALER
Sous Vide cooking is done by vacuum sealing your fish or wild game and placing in water to cook for a long duration at a relatively lower temperature than traditional cooking. The results from sous vide cooking are closely associated with the fall-off-the-bone, juicy taste we all strive for.
5 Reasons for Sous Vide:
Consistent: Sous Vide cooking occurs uniformly, so when the temperature and timer are set, you can expect consistent results.
Taste: The juices are concealed within the vacuum packaged fish and game, and the food literally cooks in its own juices. Constant basting is not needed for a juicy and flavorful meal.
Reduce Waste: When steaks are cooked on a grill, they can lose up to 40% of their volume due to drying out as it cooks. A steak cooked via Sous Vide will lose virtually 0% of volume due to maintaining its juices.
Easy: set the temperature, set a timer, and sit back and relax. Unlike cooking on a grill, over-cooking with sous vide is far less likely to leave burned marks on your fish and game.
Finish: Once your fish and game is finished cooking via sous vide, sear it on the grill for 20-30 seconds and you will have a far more flavorful and juicy meal compared to just grilling alone.
VACUUM SEALERS CAN HELP PROTECT IMPORTANT DOCUMENTSDocuments such as birth certificates, car titles, boat titles, outboard motor titles, your will, and even electronics, guns and valuable ammo are prone to potential water damage in the event of a natural disaster or simple plumbing failure. The only reason I bring this up is because we've seen several flooding events in our lives. During Hurricane Harvey, the vast majority of Houston, Texas homes were flooded. There were many car titles, wills, birth certificates, ammunition, and more that was lost in the floods or ruined to the point they couldn't even be read. This is true even if they are stored in a lockable safe. (we had a bunch of important documents damaged during the Hurricane Harvey floods, which were in a safe) Now - we are vacuum sealing our important documents to prevent them from being damaged in the event even a pipe bursts and causes our house to flood. You would not believe how difficult it is to replace some of those important documents (rightfully so, we don't want people to be able to replicate that information easily).
Mother Nature can do crazy things that go beyond your imagination, so it's best to always be well-prepared and protect those important documents.
VACUUM SEALERS CAN SEAL WINE BOTTLES
Yes - really! When you utilize the accessory hose, which comes standard on the Outrigger Outdoors Fish & Game Vacuum Sealer, you can easily seal wine bottles. This may be the perfect selling point for the outdoorsman who needs to convince his wife of making the purchase.
VACUUM SEALERS CAN WATERPROOF YOUR EMERGENCY ITEMS
This goes for anyone, really. Whether you keep an emergency kit in your car, boat, or backpack while you're out hiking, it is important for it to be waterproof. Items such as bandages and medications can both degrade over time, so vacuum sealing them can help prolong their use. Items that may be in your hiking and camping backpack include matches - you don't want those getting wet.
Fish and Game Vacuum Sealers: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best vacuum sealer for fish?
The best vacuum sealer for fish is the fish and game vacuum sealer by Outrigger Outdoors. Unlike conventional kitchen vacuum sealers, the fish and game sealer has a moist mode setting for vacuum sealing high moisture content meats such as fresh fish out of the ice box.
2. Can you vacuum seal fish fillets?
Yes. You can vacuum seal fish fillets, but it is important to have a fish vacuum sealer made for these high moisture content foods. If you do not have one made for sealing fish, it is best to freeze the fish prior to sealing or attempt to remove as much moisture from the vacuum bag as possible before you attempt to vacuum seal the fish fillet.
3. What is the best vacuum sealer for deer meat?
The best vacuum sealer for deer meat is the fish and game vacuum sealer by Outrigger Outdoors. This vacuum sealer has a moist mode setting which adjusts the vacuum packaging machine for sealing high moisture content level foods. It also allows for a prolonged sealing process to ensure the vacuum bags are completely sealed shut.
4. Can vacuum sealed fish go bad?
The vacuum packaging process removes air and bacteria which cause fish to spoil. However, vacuum sealed fish can still go bad over time. It is best to freeze your vacuum sealed fish to maximize the life of the food prior to spoiling.
5. How long does fish last vacuum sealed?
Once fish is vacuum sealed in a specialized fish vacuum sealer or vacuum sealer for wild game, it should be placed in the freezer. At this point, it can last 1-2 years before it should be thrown away. If the fish is refrigerated, it can still add several days to its edible life span.
The best ideas come from those who have experienced it themselves. The fish and game processing equipment at Outrigger Outdoors was designed from the experiences of hunting and fishing charters and tournament competitors. These experiences laid the foundation for a series of fillet knives that hold an edge 5x as long as the competition, and a vacuum sealer made to actually seal fish and game. For more information on our products, shop our selection today.