Zaycon Fresh: The Best and CHEAPEST Way to Buy Fresh Meat

Zaycon

You’ve probably heard me sing the praises of Zaycon Fresh for years, but I realized that I’ve not updated the original post in a very long time.

Zaycon is a company that works directly with meat producers to bring customers prime cuts of fresh meat in bulk and skip the middle man.  This results in the freshest meat possible at a great price.

They offer events for many locations throughout the year.  All you have to do is sign up, look for an event in your area, and purchase the items you want.  Each event has a specific delivery date.  To pick up, all you have to do is visit the location.  It’s all set up as a drive thru, so you just need to roll down your window, show your receipt, and they load it for you.

When you purchase meat at the grocery store, it typically takes 21 days to get from the producer to the shelf.  With Zaycon, it seems to average 6-8 days.  The pack date is plainly stamped on the box.

We raise a lot of our own meat, but Zaycon is a close second.  Once you try it, you’ll definitely not want to go back to grocery store meats… especially the chicken!

I get asked a lot of questions about the Zaycon meats, so I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A to help answer them.  If I miss something, please comment or ask in our Facebook group.  I’ll do my best to answer!

Alicia, I’m really picky about meat.  How can I believe you that this is actually good?

Do you buy your meat in a grocery store?  If so, you probably aren’t that picky.  I worked in a butcher shop for several years and we farm.  I process almost all of our meat myself because most aren’t up to my standards.

Is this hormone free?  The chicken breasts look very large.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually illegal for any chicken producer to administer growth hormones.  There are several types of chickens that are bred to grow to a large size very quickly.

How hard is this to process?

It’s only going to be as hard as you make it.  Because most items arrive fresh, you can package and freeze them with no worries.

When I process chicken, I typically halve the breasts (they are a butterfly cut), then I filet each one to thin it.  This speeds up thawing.  There’s occasionally a piece that needs a bit of trimming.  If I have extra time, I will slice strips for fajitas and dice some for quick stir fry, jambalaya, soups, etc.  It takes me about 30 minutes per case to process and package it into freezer bags.

The bacon is very easy to pull out pieces and bag separately.

The sausage links are frozen, and they fit perfectly into a quart bag.  Because they are flash frozen, you can also freeze the entire box if you have room and just pull out what you need.

To process the ground beef, I simply slice burgers off of the roll, place on a cookie sheet between layers of parchment paper, and freeze.  I usually make up a batch of meatloaves or meatballs, because that is hard to do with meat that’s been frozen.  To freeze batches of ground beef for tacos, soups, casseroles, etc., I cut a roll into 10 equal pieces (that’s 1 lb hunks), place into a quart freezer bag, and flatten.  They store easily in the freezer and take up little space.

Some people prefer to make up freezer meals, marinate the meats, etc.  This will drastically increase the time you spend processing, but will speed up dinner time in the future!

What happens if I don’t have time to process it the day I receive it?

I mentioned above how much faster it gets to you than the grocery store.  The driver picks it up at the producer just before he starts delivering.  I actually kept a chicken breast in the refrigerator the last time I bought to see how long it took to ‘go bad’.  It was 13 days before it started even smelling like grocery store meat.  You know, that icky ‘it smells like meat’ smell.  It took 16 days before it was at the point that I wouldn’t consider cooking it.

Most of the meats have a ‘use by’ date stamped on the box.  The ground beef I picked up on August 13th says to use or freeze by the 25th.  That gives me plenty of time to decide how I want to freeze it.  It also gives me almost two weeks to enjoy the fresh, never frozen meat!

I just can’t bring myself to buy meat from a truck.

You do realize that this is the same type of truck that delivers your meat to a grocery store to sit in their cooler for weeks, right?

How’s the ground beef?

I was finally able to coordinate a beef delivery last week, and to say that I’m thrilled with it is an understatement.  This is 93/7 ground beef, which means that there should be a fat content of 7%.  The most inexpensive cut you see in the grocery store is 73/27, which means that there should be a 27% content.

I actually bought a package of inexpensive ground beef at $3.99 to compare with.  The Zaycon beef was $3.99/lb, but I bought it with a coupon code that dropped the price to $3.59.  I drained over 40% of the weight off of the store bough beef.  That meant a pound of meat ended up weighing 9.6 oz once it was done cooking.  Then I cooked the Zaycon beef.  I drained ZERO!  Maybe a couple of drops, but it wasn’t enough to make much of a difference.  I ended up with just under a pound of cooked meat.

What does this mean?  That the store bought meat with a lesser taste actually cost me $5.60 per pound of cooked meat, while the Zaycon cost me $3.59 and tasted so much better.

I also decided to make up some identical burger patties.  I cooked one and left one raw to compare the size when the first one was cooked to well done.  Both still weighed almost exactly the same, but the shape was off a bit where the cooked burger plumped up. Here’s the difference:

DSC_0686

How can I store this to make it last the longest?

Some people love to use their Food Saver to process theirs, but honestly, I’d rather not use mine.  It’s expensive, time consuming, and a hassle.  Because there are events for each cut at least twice a year, I can plan my orders to keep from having a large excess that’s frozen for a long period of time.

I usually just package mine in Glad brand freezer bags.  They don’t break down as badly as the others over time.  I prefer the quart, which will hold two large chicken breasts, 4 breast fillets, sausage links, and 2 lbs of ground beef.  They are the perfect serving sizes for my big eaters.

Can I share with a friend?  A 40 lb box of chicken seems like so much!

Of course, but I’ll warn against it. Each box is divided inside so that you can easily distribute.  One of the biggest complaints I get is that someone ordered one box to split and loved it so much that they couldn’t stomach buying meat at the store to get through until the next event.  20 lbs of chicken might last a couple a few weeks, but it doesn’t go very far for families.

Can I order at the last minute?

Even though they give a ‘last day to order’, almost all of the items sell out long before that date.  They can only fit so much on a truck!  Get your orders in early to avoid missing out completely.  Trust me- I speak from experience.


We sometimes buy meat at the store to supplement if we run out of Zaycon, because obviously we can’t grow it all- and not near at these prices.  In recent weeks, almost every package I’ve bought has went bad within 2 days of purchase, and long before the ‘use by’ date.  I’ve doubled up on my Zaycon orders this fall to prevent me from throwing out any food.

CLICK HERE TO SEE EVENTS IN YOUR AREA

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