Cabela's Commercial Grade Vacuum Sealer

PoorSand

5 year old buck +
I've never owned a vacuum sealer. I have always wrapped my big game meat. I would like to buy a vacuum sealer that I can take along on an elk hunt. I have rented a house in the unit that has plenty of counter space for butchering and will be hauling out a seven cubic foot freezer in the bed of my pickup, like usual. The VacMaster 112s looks great, but I need something lighter weight. I'm thinking of buying the Cabela's commercial grade vacuum sealer. Does anyone have experience with that unit? I'm thinking of the 12", and not the 15", wide unit. Does anyone know if generic bag material will work satisfactorily in it, or would I need to buy Cabela's brand bags? I considered the FoodSaver 4840, but heard that after a about five seals, the user has to wait for the sealing part to cool down.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
My experience over the years with vacuum sealers is here: https://habitat-talk.com/threads/vacuum-sealing-machines.13872/

I have several Cabelas brand processing appliances like a Grinder, Stuffer, and such. I've been happy with the quality and durability. I would assume their vacuum sealer is no different but I don't have hands-on experience with their recent models.

There are two types of vacuum sealers, ones with a chamber and ones with external bags. The chamber unit can use the inexpensive bags as the entire chamber is evacuated. The units, like cabelas, that use external bags require special bags with air channels in them. They don't need to be Cabela barnd, but they do need to be made for external bag vacuum sealers.

I think you are barking up the right tree if you are looking for something light. However, they all have limitations in terms of how fast you can package stuff. It is not until you get up into the high end stuff like I finally ended up with the most of the limitations are gone. If you do go with an external bag unit, the trick is to put your meat in the freezer first after butchering. You are not trying to freeze it, you are trying to dry it a bit. You can do this in a fridge but it is faster in a freezer. The biggest issue with the external bag units is that if the meat is not dry, liquid can get sucked through those channels. It won't hurt the unit, but often the bag won't seal. You can mitigate this to some extent by putting a piece of paper towel near the mouth of the bag before sealing to catch liquid. You can also wipe out the mouth of the bag to remove any liquid that gets on it from inserting the meat. These help to some degree but not as much as making sure the meat is dry before you start.

Best of luck,

Jack
 

PoorSand

5 year old buck +
Thanks Jack.
 

Wild Thing

5 year old buck +
I have a lot of Cabelas products for meat processing (Grinder, mixer, stuffer, slicer, etc) but I have never purchased their vacuum sealers. I am on my 3rd vacuum sealer having purchased 2 Food Savers prior to my most recent purchase - an LEM (500 I believe). The LEM cost a little more but seems to be a bit higher quality as well. My wife still uses the second Food Saver sealer for sealing her quart jars of dehydrated apples. We do use the vacuum sealers a lot for fish, wild game and garden veggies.

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This is the freezer in the basement...we also have a chest freezer in the man cave in the barn.
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PoorSand

5 year old buck +
Wow!
 

Bill

Administrator
I just bought the Cabelas’s 12” commercial grade a few weeks ago. We also bought their bags. I can’t speak to longevity as it was an impulse purchase. There’s a bass pro an hour from home.

It did however let us vacuum seal steaks when we were in a pinch. I hope it lasts a long time but at this point it owes me nothing..


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PoorSand

5 year old buck +
Oh boy. That's one heck of a fish!
 

Bill

Administrator
Oh boy. That's one heck of a fish!

Not an Elk but we sealed 150lbs of steaks. Again, my limited use is no long term study but if you got one to work like it,it would do an Elk and owe you nothing.
 

Maddog66

5 year old buck +
I’ve worked in the industrial meat packing business for over 30 years as a R&D engineer (Chem E) at a major plastics packaging manufacturer. I have about 20 patents directly related to the plastics and processes necessary to safely package and distribute fresh red meat, poultry, and seafood worldwide. I’ve worked with every major Beef and Pork purveyor in the US, and several in Europe, Asia, and South America.

I’ve used everything from $1MM rotary vacuum chamber machines to the ‘seal-a-meal’ by Ronco my mom used when I was a kid.

Do yourselves a favor and forget about the cabelas and similar units that pull a vacuum on the bag. Get a small vacuum chamber machine from someone like Vacmaster and never look back. There are several brands out there but start your search at Webstaurantstore.com.

You’ll spend more money on the chamber-style unit, but bags will be cheaper and have a lower OTR (oxygen transmission rate) and you get a far deeper vacuum (2 torr) which vastly reduces freezer burn and increases frozen (and fresh) shelf life dramatically.

My personal sealer is below. It’s bigger and way more costly than most would want…..but I’m in the biz and a packaging geek. A Vacmaster VP120 was my first one…..and it’s a great size for homeowners to leave out on the counter top.

I am a learner on habitat work, but if anyone wants to know anything about packing meat, I’m your guy😂😂😂
 

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yoderjac

5 year old buck +
I’ve worked in the industrial meat packing business for over 30 years as a R&D engineer (Chem E) at a major plastics packaging manufacturer. I have about 20 patents directly related to the plastics and processes necessary to safely package and distribute fresh red meat, poultry, and seafood worldwide. I’ve worked with every major Beef and Pork purveyor in the US, and several in Europe, Asia, and South America.

I’ve used everything from $1MM rotary vacuum chamber machines to the ‘seal-a-meal’ by Ronco my mom used when I was a kid.

Do yourselves a favor and forget about the cabelas and similar units that pull a vacuum on the bag. Get a small vacuum chamber machine from someone like Vacmaster and never look back. There are several brands out there but start your search at Webstaurantstore.com.

You’ll spend more money on the chamber-style unit, but bags will be cheaper and have a lower OTR (oxygen transmission rate) and you get a far deeper vacuum (2 torr) which vastly reduces freezer burn and increases frozen (and fresh) shelf life dramatically.

My personal sealer is below. It’s bigger and way more costly than most would want…..but I’m in the biz and a packaging geek. A Vacmaster VP120 was my first one…..and it’s a great size for homeowners to leave out on the counter top.

I am a learner on habitat work, but if anyone wants to know anything about packing meat, I’m your guy😂😂😂
That is exactly what I did. I had issues with all of them, even the prosumer level from VacMaster. I ended up getting a more expensive double bar oil pump unit. I'm glad I did, but the unit is heavy. It is great for the spot where I process my deer, but the OP is looking for something light weight for transport. I would not want to transport mine across country for an elk hunt. While the bags cost significantly more, the eternal bag units are workable. I probably got 3-5 seasons out of the heavier duty ones processing 3-5 deer per year on average.

Like you say, I'm glad I invested in one. I bought a lot of my carts from Webresturants and had no complaints. When I bought mine, they sent a lower end unit that I had to ship back. I used it to process 2 deer before sending it back. It worked much better than my original VP112. That was the first prosuemr version I bought. It cracked the lid and eventually I could not get enough vacuum from it. There is more on this in the link I posted earlier in the thread. Glad to know someone in the business!

Thanks,

Jack
 

PoorSand

5 year old buck +
After combining all the advice from you guys, I ended up buying a Cabela's Commercial-Grade Vacuum Chamber Sealer. The unit weighs about 30 pounds. It accepts 11" X 13" bags and the chamber is 4" deep. I think it is a modified Avid Armor USV32. The control panel looks the same and we watched the USV32 videos to figure out how to operate it.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
I used a basic food saver for a while in college for fish, venison, and waterfowl. To put it plainly it sucked and I haven’t used one since because of it. I’ve done better with ziplocks/water for fish and much better with plastic wrap and butcher paper on red meat.

One of these commercial units sounds handy though!
 
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