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I have a beautiful, top quality beef tenderloin in the fridge. It's from my local butcher and I know it's been handeled with great care up to now.
As my guests had to cancel, I'll have to freeze it - even planning for leftovers we won't be able to eat all of it. We are talking about a scant 2 kg /4 pounds of meat.

I'm wondering if I should freeze it whole or in small/individual portions:
Does it influence the quality of the meat whether it was frozen & thawed as a large "chunk" or in smaller pieces?

Im not asking about practical considerations like what kind of dish I'm planning to cook afterwards, but rather about physics: Once the meat is frozen, the ice crystals will invariably do some damage to the cells that can lead to some loss of water when thawing. But are there other influences to be considered?

To cut a long story short:
How can I preserve the quality as much as possible?


EDIT:
As nobody had an idea so far, I've decided to start a little experiment.

I took the tenderloin and

  • cut off a few tournedos (and one tiny slice for the begging, no starving cat ^_^)
  • left the rest "en bloc".

So let's see what happens in a couple of weeks, when I take them out again...

  • Any access to a vacuum sealer? (Possibly begging your butcher to allow you to use his/hers?) – Doug Dec 21 '14 at 17:01
  • Nope. At least not to one hat can handle the heavy plastic ones. As for the butcher: No chance; food safety regulations won't allow bringing "outside" meat in. And we are not "close" enough to do this "inofficially". – Stephie Dec 21 '14 at 17:04
  • I am tempted to offer a bounty... – Stephie Dec 23 '14 at 7:37
  • You'll get a hat for offering a bounty :)! If I knew, I'd answer for you. Barring that, experimentation is its own reward (although it can be expensive). Good luck! – Jolenealaska Dec 23 '14 at 8:28
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Busy time of year for us chefs so not really got time to do any research. Personally I don't think quality will be noticeable between big or small. Best way for freezing is always to vacuum to avoid freezer burn.

If you wrap it up tight with a good few layers of cling film you should get a near vacuum result (as close as you will get without it)

The best way of clingfilm-ing something like fillet steak is the sausage method (sorry I don't know the technical term if there even is one)

  1. Lay 5 layers of cling film flat on work surface.
  2. Lay fillet towards the front.
  3. Pull cling film tight over the top and then roll fillet till all the way over so all the cling film is now rolled round it.
  4. Grab both ends and start rolling on surface so that you are tightening up those two 'handles' until you can't do it any tighter. Then tie the 'handles' in knots.
  5. Pierce one whole through the cling film allowing all the trapped air to get out then wrap in a few more layers of cling film.

Hope that all made sense hard without pictures. Its far from ideal but I can't see any better way for you.

  • Thanks, @Doug. Does only partially answer my question, though. Rest assured that I did everything I could to prevent freezer burn and that I won't be storing the meat too long: New Year's Eve (& the traditional fondue) is just around the corner. – Stephie Dec 23 '14 at 17:49

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