The Best Hunting Game Handling Products, With Tips For Handling Wild Game Meat
You hunted the game, now it's time to handle it. My list has everything from vacuum-sealing machines to food dehydrators to help you handle your meat.
FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.
1. NutriChef 12" Vacuum Sealer
Top-rated: 24,262 ratings
Highlight: Smart device. Control center placed on the top panel, with soft touch digital buttons and led indicator lights.
Helpful review: "I have no basis for comparison, but I received my vacuum sealer today and am more than impressed. I had a bunch of venison slim Jim's and jerky to seal and freeze and used up all the included bags and rolled plastic. The process is easy and fast, and it is very obvious if the seal hadn't formed. You need to give the sealer 40 seconds in between seals, which isn't an issue considering you have to load the bags. I wanted a sealer primarily for cooking sous vide, and I didn't want to spend a ton or waste a ton of space on a giant one. This little guy is great. It reminds me of the size of the shredder part of a paper shredder. Easy to carry up from the basement storage and easy to set up. I'm not sure why anyone would pay any more for a sealer than this? This does everything I need it to do." — Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon now: $57.53 & FREE Returns
2. LIZZQ Premium 12" Pellet Smoker Tube for Hot or Cold Smoking
Top-rated: 8,552 ratings
Highlight: Designed to WORK IN ANY GRILL (gas, electric or charcoal) and with any smoker.
Helpful review: "I am beyond happy with this product. I have a Treager grill and had been trying my hand at cold-smoking cheeses using their method, which is a pan of cheese in a pan of ice in the grill on the smoke settings. It was a major pain to try to keep the temperature anywhere close to right. I bought this smoker tube and and made a temporary modification to the grill to defeat the hot rod and the auger and just use the fan. Found out that the Treager will shut the fan of if the temperature is below a preset temperature for over 10 minutes. Again, a headache trying to keep is going for several hours. I finally backed off the over-thinking and simply put the smoking tub on the drip pan close to the opening where the grease drains.
There was plenty of air available to keep the pellets smoking. The ambient temperature of the smoke was relatively constant and in the 87 to 95 degree range. When the temperature got over 90, I simply put a 4 x 8-inch baking dish on the grate directly over the tube and threw a handful of ice cubes in it. The temperature was back to 90. I filled the tube with pellets and it is still going after three hours. Forget Treager's advice on how to cold smoke cheese; put this tube in the grill and the job is done." — Kenneth A. Gale
Get it from Amazon now: $11.91 & FREE Returns
3. O2frepak 6-Pack Food Saver Vacuum Sealer Bags - 8"x20' (3 Rolls) and 11"x20' (3 Rolls)
Top-rated: 6,640 ratings
Highlight: Heavy-duty material, prevents puncture.
Helpful review: "I’ve been using my Food Saver and using the brand name bags for years and always have an issue with it sealing if the strip where it seals gets wet in the slightest. These bags will seal through any water, fat, or juices that get in the track and work with even the oldest models. I’ve read some off brand only work with newer models and these work with my 10+ year old Food Saver great! Well worth the buy for a superior product." — Isaac
Get it from Amazon now: $21.75 & FREE Returns
4. COSORI Food Dehydrator (50 Recipes included)
Top-rated: 7,537 ratings
Highlight: Made with food-grade stainless steel and glass front door. Perfect for making healthy beef jerkies, snacks, fruit leathers, dog treats, and bread crumbs, as well as for preserving herbs and flowers.
Helpful review: "This is the perfect machine for me! I read a lot about dehydrators before buying and I'm so glad I purchased this one. It is lightweight stainless it has 6 shelves with a timer and is so quiet. It has a clear door on front so you can see what's happening. I've made jerky in it and the six shelves is a sufficient size for 3 and 1/2 to 4 lbs of meat. You can control the temperature and time and it has all the features I wanted. I'm so happy with this product. I read about Excalibur but my refrain from buying was the noise I read in reviews. That was important and this one is so quiet you don't always hear it. It also cleans up, great and doesn't give off strong smells or retain them after cleaning. I just love this machine and I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a good reliable dehydrator!" — James B. Purdie
Get it from Amazon now: $159.99 & FREE Returns
5. Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife
Top-rated: 7,470 ratings | 79 answered questions
Highlight: Compact, agile and ready to face any adventure head-on.
Helpful review: "Look, having a cutting tool on you at all times doesn't have to be something that might panic someone else. This small multitool has a few basic essentials. It has a pen knife, a small file with a slotted screwdriver head, scissors, a toothpick and tweezers all in one small package. You can carry it on a keyring or in the third pocket of your jeans and never know it's there. The knife is sharp and the scissors can take on just about every small task you assign it. The screwdriver can also act as a pry tool for popping open a key fob to replace a battery. You can use the toothpick as a probe if you like and the tweezers do what all tweezers do from removing splinters to making sure the small tedious tasks are done with precision.
I recommend this to anyone who needs to carry a knife without having to have that larger pocketknife on them or doesn't want something heavy and/or bulky in their pocket." — Travis McMillan
Get it from Amazon now: $16.97 & FREE Returns
6. FoodSaver Wide-Mouth Jar Sealer Kit
Top-rated: 8,087 ratings
Highlight: For use with mason-type jars.
Helpful review: "I bought these to use with a NutriChef vacuum sealer hoping they would be compatible and they were. The hose wouldn't work but the one that came with the vacuum sealer fit the attachments so that worked out well. I sealed a dozen wide mouth jars with things from flour to rice to pasta as well as a couple of regular mouth jars and everything worked like a charm. I checked a few days later to make sure the seals were still intact and they were." — James Thomas
Get it from Amazon now: $42.99
7. RoverTac Pocket Knife
Top-rated: 6,304 ratings
Highlight: Perfect for camping, fishing, hiking, outdoor activities, and home improvements.
Helpful review: "I purchased several "value for the money" knives and multi-tool over the past several months. I just received this little gem this week. This multi-tool by RoverTac comes well packaged and has a nice nylon carrying that in includes a belt loop. It also includes a 9 piece screwdriver set with a socket driver. The Multi-tool has a 3" knife blade, pliers which are very sturdy, can opener, bottle opener and a phillips screwdriver which also is the driver set for the 9 pieces attachment drives. What I will cation you on is the SAFETY LOCKING BLADE. I've noticed on several knives including this one that when they are new, the safety lock does not engage. Make sure the blade is fully extended to engage the locking mechanism. Nothing faulty, just be careful that it is totally engaged. If it is like the others this becomes easier with use." — Kmunshower
Get it from Amazon now: $16.99 & FREE Returns
8. FoodSaver 1-Quart BPA-Free Multilayer Vacuum Zipper Bags (18 Count)
Top-rated: 7,316 ratings
Highlight: Compatible with FoodSaver 4400/4840 series vacuum sealers, FoodSaver FreshSaver Handheld Sealer, FoodSaver Handheld Sealer Attachment, and FoodSaver Zipper Bag Adapter.
Helpful review: "I have been using this system and these bags for 2 months now. I love it! I read reviews before I bought it, because I have a tiny kitchen but wasn't sure about this type of setup compared to the larger heat-sealed system. THIS WORKS BETTER THAN I EXPECTED based on reviews.
I place an open sandwich bag inside the vacuum bag (unsealed), seal the vacuum bag and then vacuum. The result is that, so far, every one of my bags is still sealing perfectly (I got the idea from a review). I store cheese, meat, vegetables like cut onions, cucumbers: everything I can think of, I try. It really does keep things fresh much longer. Nice for a person that sometimes forgets things are in the frig until I run across them later. No more mystery yuck! Pretty fun! I put these bags on Subscribe & Save. So far, I have had to skip 2 months of orders since they are lasting so much longer than I expected" — Diane
Get it from Amazon now: $7.89 ($0.44 / Count) & FREE Returns
9. FoodSaver V4400 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine with Automatic Bag Detection and Starter Kit
Top-rated: 5,509 ratings
Highlight: Meat preserved with the FoodSaver system in the freezer can last up to 3 years and still taste fresh, flavorful, and freezer burn free.
Helpful review: "I am in love with this thing. I just got a new top freezer fridge and am looking at small Energy Star Rated freezers for my cellar. This prompted a reexamination of my eating habits, as I am single and have an 80 mile round trip commute.
If I freeze something frequently I return to it and it is an unappetizing wonderland of ice crystals. Opened forgotten jars of spaghetti sauce find there way to the garbage pail out of fear of a foodborne illness. I now open spaghetti sauce and spoon it into 2 standard ice cube trays. Four cubes= 1/2cup serving of sauce. I make soups, freeze them by the pint in plastic entree containers as "molds", pop out the frozen squares and bag them in 8" bags. I can make beef stew, make it into 6" x6" x1" pint sized frozen serving. I can make wide noodles al dente, freeze them flat on parchment and put them into 11" bags and put the 8" stew bag inside. Ditto for Kung Pao Chicken (Kikkoman Seasoning) in with frozen brown rice. ( Freeze rice and pasta on parchment on a cookie sheet.) I have worked hard to come up with a selection of dinner meals so I am only making one 5 serving entre every week.
I reuse the 8" bags by cutting close to the seal, washing the bags out with Dawn dish detergent and re using the bags for smaller Items like spaghetti sauce cubes. Yes the bags add to the price but going on Foodsaver.com you can cut up to 30% of the price with a quantity buy and get free shipping.
This unit did have one flaw: the spring for the retractable vacuum hose was defective and doesn't retract. However it works fine and can be worked gently back into the cabinet. It didn't stop me from using the wide and regular mouth Ball jar vacuum attachments (use a second lid over the first for easy release) and the marinator worked fine. I am giving it 5 stars because I consider this a minor nuisance and because the price seems lower, probably because of that. Use the extra money to buy the combo box of 3 11" and 2 8" bag rolls. I able to get bag price down to 32 cents a bag and sometimes reuse bags. Don't forget: throwing food out has a price and two or three items could equal the cost of a roll of bags. I have a feeling this thing is now a part of my life." — Steph
Get it from Amazon now: $179.99 & FREE Returns
10. NESCO Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator
Top-rated: 11,570 ratings
Highlight: Adjustable thermostat allows you to dry different foods at different temperatures (95º-160º F).
Helpful review: "I used it to dehydrate chicken feet, chicken necks, turkey necks, chicken hearts and gizzards for dog treats. I put it at 160F and less than 4 hours it’s ready to feed to the dogs. It’s so much cheaper to make homemade treats then buying it." — C. Smith
Get it from Amazon now: $79.99 & FREE Returns
By the way, if you're in the market for a shotgun, there are some things you just can't go wrong with. Check out this personal, hands-on review of the Browning Citori 725.
11. Sharpal 6-in-1 Pocket Knife Sharpener and Survival Tool (Fire Starter and Whistle Included)
Top-rated: 14,430 ratings
Highlight: A portable EDC field tactical knife sharpener with built-in lanyard hole; ideal for hunting, camping, outdoor survival use; works well for kitchen chef knives as well.
Helpful review: "Let me first say that I sell and work on knives for a living, so I know what I'm talking about, I'm not solely expressing my opinion as a "knife guy". I picked this up on a lark as I have tried multiple pull throughs, including most popular one's here on Amazon. That being said, this little guy is actually better than either Lansky's or Smith's current basic offerings, if you can believe that. I just used it to sharpen a Kershaw Filter, and now my inner left arm is clean shaven, with no irritation. This impressed me, as it only took about 5 minutes, and it looks to be set at a 20° angle correctly on both coarse and fine options. I haven't tried using the ferro rod combo, so I can't attest to it's functionality. The whistle, however works quite well; my beagle agrees. Overall, I'd have to recommend it if you're looking for a good pull through that won't chew up your blade. Good value for the money, too." — Aaron Johnson
Get it from Amazon now: $9.99 & FREE Returns
12. FoodSaver 1-Gallon Vacuum Zipper Bags (12 Count)
Top-rated: 8,046 ratings
Highlight: Reusable and resealable for frequently-used food items.
Helpful review: "I used to use another brand of vacuum seal storage bags for leftovers, but they have been discontinued. I was contemplating buying a vacuum heat-sealing machine from FoodSaver, but when I saw these bags, I decided to forego the expense of the machine, and bought a good supply of these bags. They are heavier and seal better than any other bags I have used. Fortunately, the hand-held vacuum pump from the other brand worked fine. If you don't have one of the other brand's pumps, I recommend buying FoodSaver's FSFRSH0051 FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum pump." — Texas Jack
Get it from Amazon now: $7.98 ($0.67 / Count) & FREE Returns
13. TAC Force Spring Assisted Folding Pocket Knife
Top-rated: 13,544 ratings | 155 answered questions
Highlight: For rapid one-handed deployment; locks securely into place with liner lock.
Helpful review: "I have never owned a pocket knife in my life, but after binging LNM on Reddit for awhile, I thought it time I took my safety seriously. So I got this knife with the Prime membership & boy am I obsessed with it. The blade is legitimately super sharp and means business. I love the rainbow, it looks incredible when it hits light just right. I got down the one-hand open / close in about 5 minutes, it does open and close fast like the description stated. The bottle opener / screwdriver or glass breaker is such a nice perk to it. I hope I never have to use it to defend myself but if I do, I know I am in good hands with this product. Will recommend to others!!!" — Molly
Get it from Amazon now: $10.21 & FREE Returns
14. Vacuum Sealer Machine by Entrige
Top-rated: 9,193 ratings
Highlight: You can take off the upper lid to clean the sealer machine easily and safely. Compact size and lightweight design are easy to store and move around.
Helpful review: "I've had this vacuum sealer for over a month now and I can say with confidence that its worth every penny. I refrained myself from reviewing products personally, but this product just had to be shared. I've been using this for multiple purposes from sealing processed food to packaging items. It has been a month+ since I've begun to use it and it seems to be holding up and working flawlessly. For the price of $53.49 to include a Lifetime Warranty is just a steal, of course within reason of it breaking. I'm a first time user myself so I was personally a bit uneasy to be working with such a new product. It comes with easy step by step instructions easy enough to read and understand for anyone. I hope this review was helpful for those who were seeking questions." — Amazon Customer
Get it from Amazon now: $49.97 & FREE Returns
15. Simple Houseware 8'' x 50' Vacuum Sealer Bags (2-Pack)
Top-rated: 22,829 ratings
Highlight: Extends the shelf life of your foods up to 5 times longer than traditional storage methods, which in turn reduces waste and cuts down on costs.
Helpful review: "I do not often write reviews however I felt like I had to for this product. My hope is that if I write this review and people like it they will buy more of the rolls/bags and help keep the price the same or lower for the next time I buy these rolls again. The rolls are definitely bigger than the starter roll that came with my Foodsaver FM5380 from Sam's Club. I went through that roll pretty quickly, I do not know if it was because the bags were not so good on that starter roll or because I had a learning curve to conquer, but they did not hold up too well. Needless to say I felt like I wasted a good roll from Foodsaver, however I still had 8 more rib eyes I needed to wrap. Not realizing how expensive rolls were I decided to take a shot at these bags.
The first thing I did was roll half of the roll onto the empty roller from the starter roll. The roll then fit perfectly under the sealer. The bags worked great and either they worked better than the Foodsaver brand roll or I mastered my learning or I think both. I do miss the little white section on the bags from the FoodSaver brand that allows a spot to write the date and contents, however for a fraction of the price, I do not miss it too much. Only one bag punctured but that was due to a very shop bone. After smoothing it out there were no more issues. I'll keep my eyes on them and if they do not hold up I'll update my review. For the time being I recommend these bags over the Foodsaver brand." — Arturo Centeno
Get it from Amazon now: $17.87 & FREE Returns
16. Hamilton Beach Digital Food Dehydrator (5 Trays)
Top-rated: 4,149 ratings
Highlight: 48-hour timer with auto shutoff and clear lid so you can easily check food.
Helpful review: "I bought this to make dog treats. I was disgusted with the warnings about buying them, so I really paid attention to the ingredients. I then spent some guilt ridden hours over what we had been feeding our babies.
A downside of making treats without preservatives is that they can get moldy. Add in humid Florida weather, then make room in your freezer. Hence, the dehydrator. I spent weeks comparing makes & models, going back & forth. From other reviewers I knew that I wanted a timer, the right fan placement, and not too noisy. Price of course, for what I was going to use it for. This fit the bill. I started just drying the dog treats after baking them but then I got cocky and decided to make jerky. OK so the 1st batch was disgraceful and inedible. Hint: you are warned to not make the meat too thick. Well the opposite is true- don't make it too thin, either! I had the butcher slice some meat for me, but I also found thin slices of sirloin that I simply had to cut in half with scissors. Perfect. I partially froze a chicken breast to slice it, and that was easy. Flank steak is wonderful. I even sliced a beef heart and wrapped it with sweet potato strips that I steamed for a few minutes to soften.
While I've made some mistakes, they were all mine, the unit performed great. I never have to move items around because one section is drying faster. Keep everything the same size, or at least the same size on each tray where you can pause the unit to remove a tray and keep the rest going. I have 6 months at this and I couldn't be happier. That includes 3 dogs (one diabetic ) one daughter and one very happy jerky loving son-in-law. Not to mention the money I've saved and why I bought it in the first place. If offered a store bought treat or a homemade one, they immediately go for homemade. Smart dogs!" — Suzie
Get it from Amazon now: $129.99