Making ready-to-go meal kits (and a recipe)

Pulled pork recipe with vacuum sealer

everidge-team-memberOur line of PrepRite vacuum sealers have many applications in the kitchen. One is making pre-portioned, prepped food into meal kits ready to be cooked or rethermed as orders come in. Our commercial food vacuum sealers are ideal for meal preparation because they remove oxygen from food, thereby extending its shelf life and allowing you to prep in advance to serve as needed.

There are several benefits to making ready-to-go meal kits. For example, if you employ sous vide cooking in your kitchen, vacuum-sealed meal kits only need to be rethermed, allowing you to maintain product quality. In addition to quality assurance, sous vide cooking allows you to create consistency across all your locations with a repeating and reliable product no matter where its ordered or who prepares it. Additionally, the process of vacuum seal meal prep helps decrease long wait times and saves on labor hours by reducing the number of cooks needed in a kitchen.

Prepared meal kits can be particularly useful for cooks that want to prepare fresh food but are unsure what orders will be coming in. Some of these foodservice operations include:

  • Commissary kitchens
  • School/university kitchens
  • Hospital kitchens
  • Corporate campus kitchens

While preparing meal kits can be easily integrated into most kitchens, there are a few items to keep in mind. First, having an idea of your target portions is important. Look over your production schedule and adjust, as necessary. For example, do not make 50 meal portions if you will only be able to sell 10. Additionally, consider which elements can be prepared ahead of time. The more that can be prepared in advance, the quicker the turnaround will be when it’s time to serve the meal.

You can find more information on using a vacuum sealer for food prep here.

Below is a recipe, created by Everidge Corporate Chef Michael Kelly, that is perfect for vacuum sealed meal prep and can be easily rethermed using Sous Vide.

Pulled Pork Sandwich. Serves 8.

For the Sous Vide Pork:

  • 4-5 lbs. pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder or chili powder of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Vinegar Sauce:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

For the Sandwiches:

  • 8 English muffins, cut in half
  • 1 bag prepackaged coleslaw mix
  • Cheddar cheese slices

To Prepare Pork (begin at least 24 to 48 hours before planning to serve):

  1. Preheat sous vide water bath to 135°F (57.2°C).
  2. Mix all spices together in a bowl. Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper, then coat with spices. Place seasoned pork shoulder in a vacuum cooking bag with Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Seal the cooking bag using a vacuum sealer and place in preheated water bath.
  3. Let cook for 1-2 days.

everidge-team-memberTo Finish Sandwiches:

  1. Whisk all vinegar ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat a grill to high heat.
  3. Remove the sous vide pork from the cooking bags and pat dry. Quickly sear the pork on all sides on the grill, approximately 1 or 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and chop until in small pieces.
  4. Place a slice of cheese on one each English muffin and toast until the cheese is melted. Place sous vide pulled pork on top of the muffins and top with coleslaw and vinegar sauce, then serve.

If you are interested in learning more about how meal preparation with vacuum sealing and sous vide can work for your kitchen, contact Michael Kelly (Michael.kelly@everidge.com). To explore the other products from the PrepRite line, including the innovative PBF 4.0 with R290 blast chiller and our entire commercial blast chiller family, click here.