Large Batch Meal Prep Tools and Tricks | What Works For You?

Putting this in Diet and Nutrition but unsure if it’s better suited for Off Topic. Feel free to change subs, mods.

I’m making this thread because I got a rude awakening when I skipped a few steps in my normal meal prep process for chicken breast, and re-realized how much normie chicken breast sucks.
That and frankly I could use some tips and tricks for making meal prep easier and better. Figured I’d share a few of my own tips and tricks as well, because I’m a cheap bastard who eats a lot of protein.

I’m at a point where I’m going through 15-20lbs of meat per week, and that’s just for myself. When including the protein needs for my girls, that’s 20-25lbs of animal per week.
In other words, we go through a lot of fuckin’ meat and it’s a lot of volume to manage.

For me, that’s usually 7-10lbs chicken breast and 7-10lbs lean beef or fish.
(I choose this because I need really lean protein and this is easier/cheaper than alternatives; food enjoyment is secondary)

For the girls, that’s usually 5-10lbs of chicken breast and/or boneless, skinless thighs.
(The girls choose this regularly out of taste preference only, it is not diet specific)

I only meal prep the protein, and that’s usually just the chicken breast/thighs, as fish/beef is cooked daily alongside rice/veggies (for me).
Sides (carbs/veggies) are up to the individual, and it makes diet compliance easier when it feels you have a few different options to make food less monotonous.

My process for chicken breast:

  1. Trim fat and gristle off breasts. Get rid of anything that looks like you don’t want to eat it. Pro Tip: an oversized cutting board pays for itself quickly with large batches.
  2. Stab it a ton of times with a Jaccard Meat Tenderizer. Pro Tip: angle the tenderizer blades perpendicular to that of the breast muscle fibers.
  3. Butterfly the breasts for thinner, more even cuts (faster cook times). I do not butterfly them for the smoker.
  4. Brine in cold, salty (iodized salt!) water (1tbsp salt/8oz water). Minimum 4 hours.
    *can also bag and freeze with brine for double-damage on meal prep-prep. Use Ziploc brand freezer gallons to hold up to 5lbs chicken breast and 2 cups brine.
  5. Pat dry, salt liberally (iodized!), then season at will. I like Kinder’s Woodfire Garlic seasoning on everything but fish… probably great on fish too, but I’m a minimalist with fish.

Prep methods tested:
Pan Fried (hot and fast in EVOO)
Oven Roasted (425 for 12-17mins)
Air Fried (depends on model)
and Smoked (225-250 for 45min-1hr)
*I currently use the smoker for all meal prep because it’s less clean up and I’m lazy. Applewood chips for the win.

My process for chicken thighs:

this is extremely similar to chicken breasts, but with less steps as thighs are far more forgiving with prep

  1. Trim fat and gristle. Get rid of anything that looks like you don’t want to eat it.
  2. (optional) Brine in cold, salty (iodized salt!) water (1tbsp salt/8oz water). I have done this anywhere between 4 hours and a few couple days before with little variance in end quality.
    *can also bag and freeze with brine for double-damage on meal prep-prep. Use Ziploc brand freezer gallons to hold up to 5lbs chicken and 2 cups brine.
  3. Pat dry, salt liberally (iodized!), then season at will. Kinder’s seasoning (linked above) is amazing on these too.

Prep methods tested:
Oven Roasted
Air Fried
*I still use smoker for this. Applewood Chips FTW x2.

These steps have not failed me in at least 100lbs of chicken breast or thighs yet.

Anyone have some tools, tricks, tips, gadgets, etc worth sharing?

P.S Get yourself a good food scale #ForTheGram (people still say this, right?)


Specifically, I’d like to hear if anyone has tips on how to make it easier to prep large quantities of meats.

Even with a 9" chef’s knife and oversized cutting board, I still feel a bit overwhelmed when trimming 20+lbs of chicken breast at a time (I usually get 2 weeks worth of chicken breast to the brining stage at a time. One gets frozen, other one stays in fridge until time to cook)

Going to tag @Brant_Drake for critiques and tips because he’s King Alpha Chef.

Thanks for your patience - I know you have done a ton of research, so my notes are not critiques on any of your techniques, but adding options for readers to be helpful for them, and you.

I didn’t realize I got a promotion. I am flattered.

Chicken Breasts

Good knife work matters, but for batch cooking there are shortcuts.

Use a damp paper towel or rag underneath your oversized board to prevent it slipping around.

A filet knife is faster than a chefs knife for trimming.

Cover your counter with plastic wrap, lay down the chicken tits, cover it with another layer of wrap and use a meat hammer to get it all to a standard thickness, the pointy side of the hammer. Literally wrap the whole surface, put them down like puzzle pieces. If its only about volume this can substitute the butterflying/jaccard technique.

I prefer kosher salt to iodized, but thats because it’s easier to measure with my fingers, not a nutritional thing. Don’t salt your meat and do the 30 minute thing (let it come to room temp, dry “brine,” its all worthless). Either do it 4 hours before or as it hits the cooking surface. The whole point of a brine is to pull water out, mix with the salt, then get reabsorbed. Interrupting the process halfway makes no sense.

For refrigerated breasts, use a 200 hotel pan with parchment paper and layer them to store when they are raw. Not wax paper. This isn’t amateur hour.

If you want to shred breasts, poach them in stock, then break them up using a kitchenaide or hobart.

Chicken Thighs

My favorite. Get multiple pans hot, not nonstick, put in the oil AFTER the pans are hot otherwise you will start a fire. Use more oil than you need, like half a pinkie? (Body parts as measurements is valid.)

Season with non-burnable spices, salt and pepper is great, add other flavors to a sauce. Sear skin-side down when the oil is shimmering, not smoking. Season the back end once they’re in the pan. Set your oven to 425 F (350 F is for amatures and metric sucks for anything.) When the skin is golden brown and delicious, flip the thighs in all the pans over to “kiss” them with the oil.

Put all the pans in the oven for 20-ish minutes. Cook to 180+. Go up to 220. The 165 thing is to kill salmonella, not a religious commandment for flavor.

If you can, a cooling rack on a sheet tray is ideal to let things cool down. Remove the thighs from the pans so the residual heat from the metal doesn’t keep drying them out Give them 30 minutes or so on the cooling rack to let carry-over cooking do its job. Line them with foil to make any juice or fat that drips off easier to make cleaning easier. Or make schmaltz with the fat and stock with the liquid.

Whole roast chickens

Use a bed of veggies to do double duty as a rack for the chicken (which will baste them during cooking,) providing aromatics, and giving you a carb/veg source to pack up. Don’t truss the chicken, having the chicken look slutty actually lets the thighs cook quicker. You can stick things like herbs or lemons up the cavity, but I don’t think it makes a difference for flavor. Again, 425 F oven, cook to 185 F, let it cool and then carve off what you want or store it.


Get a food scale, a vacuum sealer, painters tape and a sharpie. Weigh out a portion size, or count, seal it once it’s cold (if it’s warm you’ll fuck up your bag). Write what it is, the weight/count, and the date you packed it. Painters tape is best since it comes off clean even after being frozen. Just don’t run it through a dishwasher.

What else? Practice FIFO (first in, first out), always do the damn dishes immediately afterwards because there will be a lot.
The fastest way to thaw frozen meat is to put it in contact with metal, like a cast iron pan or sheet tray, you can use warm water to thaw stuff, just make sure it takes about 20 minutes.

I’m sure I’ll have to add more, but hope this helps and questions welcomed.


I’ve got a lot of notes to take from here, thank you.

Tenders, kids or diced
Wax paper stir fried crayons
Baking soda for skins
Eggs mixer
Deli unicorns for portions
Flatten bags to freeze faster, use a chill plate


Dammit, that was my rough notes for a follow up. Didn’t mean to post, but everyone have fun interpreting that.


I posted on the Cooking with Chris thread about how to do batches of fish cakes, because his recipe is good and I am a sucker for anything tuna, crab cakes, and salmon burgers.

I’ll try to finish up that accidental post, because I feel this weird sense of loyalty. Biotest should just hire me as resident chef.


I don’t know what they are yet but I already want to try some of those deli unicorns.

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1.) When you process the chicken breasts, removing the tenders will help create a more even shape for your next step and it can be saved to make kids meals, or diced for some other purpose.

2.) Wax paper is only good at room temperature. You try to bake with and you’re eating a crayon. If you refrigerate it, it will stick to your food. Like those gummies I got from my cousin. Yeah, cousin.

3.) Adding an alkaline to a salt or spice rub will change the structure of the surface proteins and lead to crispier skin for chicken. Still allow it to dry out though.

4.) Kind of chicken related - if you want to break a bunch of eggs, just throw them whole into a mixer, break them up, and put them through a strainer to remove the shells.

5.) Deli is shorthand for deli containers. You know those plastic things that come in different sizes for your coleslaw or potato salad or soup?
The smallest size size is 8 oz, and they always get lost in a restaurant, so we call them unicorns because they are impossible to find.

6.) Get any empty air out of your bags and flatten them horizontally to store them. Vertically just makes them gum up and take more space. Freeze them flat on a metal sheet tray. Unless you have a blast chiller, in which case I’m jealous.

I hope this solves the mystery.


Brant I am making chicken wings for the family tonight and I plan on using your alkaline trick for crispy skin. Got any other tips / recommendations on this? How about an interesting sauce to go with them?


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This is my first time seeing this thread!
I need to try the large-batch chicken breast method.

My staples are rice, which i cook 6 cups (dry) at a time in the instant pot (and thats all i use the instant pot for)
And beefurkey: 1.25lb ground beef and 1.25lb ground turkey, cook in the cast iron skillet until done, with liberal salt paprika black pepper and light garlic.
The beefurkey is used differently by each family member depending on preference.


This is a good article with video demonstrations, but you could branch out and use chimichurri, paravel, green goddess, or just a dry spice mix if you want to keep calories low and let the kids make their own choices.


Pro tip, to ignore that annoying “create account” thing, use incognito mode. It’s not just for porn.