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I've done this many time traveling between a house in the Chicago area, and a second one in Sarasota, FL. Previously smoked briskets and pulled pork butt, fresh specialty sausages, fresh fish (whole-steaks-filets), even items such as goose liver pate, goose fat, and God knows what else. All double wrapped in HD foil, hard frozen, then put into one or more of those bags designed to keep foods cold or warm for an extended period of time along with a couple of frozen ice packs saved over from shipments of fresh fish, or something similar. From there, the bags go into my roll-aboard bag which goes into the overhead bin above my seat.

Like Icubed and SmokinMAINEiac, said your flight time plays a big role. Is it a direct flight, or is there a connection? You also have to consider driving times between your originating and destination airports. Finally consider time spent at the airports, especially if you have checked luggage you need to wait for at your destination. One factor that you have to consider, but can't predict, is possible flight delays.

As an example, I make this trip once a month using one of two routes depending upon flight times, airfare, and my need to accumulate frequent flyer miles or segments to maintain elite flight status with my primary airline, American. The approximate travel times are as follows:

Short route - Drive time to Ohare-30 minutes. Time spent at Ohare-1 to 1.5 hours. Flight time to Tampa-2.5 hours. Drive time to Sarasota-1 hour. Total travel time-5 to 5.5 hours.

Longer route - Drive time to Ohare-30 minutes. Time spent at Ohare-1 to 1.5 hours. Flight time to Miami 3 hours. Layover time in Miami-1 to 1.5 hours. Flight time to Tampa-1 hour. Drive time to Sarasota-1 hour. Total travel time-7.5 to 8.5 hours.

On the longer route, I spend my layover time in Miami at American's Admirals Club. If the time there becomes extended for some reason, I'll have the bartender put the meat bag in the beer cooler.

I've carried frozen meats like this in both directions more times than I can remember, and have never had a problem.
I've taken a couple slabs of ribs from Chicago to Ft. Myers, then drove to Maimi and tailgated. They were still semi frozen when I threw them on the grill to warm up. Double wrapped in foil and threw them in my carryon.

Four hours door to door, you could even take hot out of the smoker, double, maybe triple foil, into a couple plastic bags to make sure it doesn't leak then into the luggage. Should be nice and rested when you get to your destination.
quote:
Originally posted by AndyJ:


Four hours door to door, you could even take hot out of the smoker, double, maybe triple foil, into a couple plastic bags to make sure it doesn't leak then into the luggage. Should be nice and rested when you get to your destination.


That's what I was thinking - keep 'em hot. I wonder what the foil will do to the TSA folks and their screening - don't want - and I need to be careful here - this smoked meat - to get a pat-down.
quote:
Originally posted by Vjgtrybno1:
quote:
Originally posted by AndyJ:


Four hours door to door, you could even take hot out of the smoker, double, maybe triple foil, into a couple plastic bags to make sure it doesn't leak then into the luggage. Should be nice and rested when you get to your destination.


That's what I was thinking - keep 'em hot. I wonder what the foil will do to the TSA folks and their screening - don't want - and I need to be careful here - this smoked meat - to get a pat-down.


On the surface this sounds like a good idea, but there are several things to consider.

First the TSA. Certain food items are definitely banned beyond the screening area such as bottled or canned liquids. Gel like foods are banned also. Whole fruits are OK, but if you've taken a bite of your banana while waiting in the screening line, that's a no-no. Who knows, you may have inserted a tiny vial of C-4 into the remainder of the banana.

I can't confirm it, but I've heard that additional restrictions pertaining to prepared, but non-frozen food items went into effect earlier this year. You don't want your TSA screener thinking that your beautifully prepared brisket is actually a cleverly disguised bomb so you need to check this out. If he or she is in doubt, it will end up in the trash bin, or possibly as a snack in the TSA break room.

Then there is subject of local TSA screening. I average 8 flights a month through a number of different airports. What never ceases to amaze is is the variance in the interpretation of a so-called "Standard" set of rules from airport to airport. What's allowed through screening at one airport is banned at another. It shouldn't be this way, but believe me, it is. Smaller, less traveled airports are the worst, and a inexperienced less knowledgeable traveler might be wary of challenging a screener.

In addition to TSA guidelines certain airlines will impose their own restrictions that may exceed those put forth by the TSA. Ditto with certain airports. You need to check with each to see if what you're thinking is OK. The TSA guidelines are only a minimum and there is nothing to stop an airline or airport from going beyond those minimums if they see fit.

So, let's say you've passed muster with the TSA, the airline, and the airport, you still have one more consideration - odor. In flight an aircraft cabin is a tightly confined and highly pressurized aluminum tube which recirculates it's own air supply. I don't care how well you wrap the brisket, sooner or later the smell will permeate the entire airplane. May not be illegal but it will certainly be a discomfort to your fellow passengers, and probably embarrassing to you. I run into this all the time when people bring hot breakfast sandwiches, burgers, Chinese food, etc that they purchased at a food court on board.

Personally, I would either freeze it and bring on board as previously described, or FTC it hot in a small disposable cooler and secure the top of the cooler with expandable straps. Don't use duct tape - The TSA will open the cooler with a knife at the seam of the top and cooler and not retape it.
Last edited by dls
Success! The security check was uneventful, although the TSA guy threatened to run an E.A.T. test on it! It was one layer of plastic wrap and then the vacuum sealer bag - towels and in a temporary soft cooler. It was still warm when I landed and I put in in a pot of simmering water to hold temp until it was time to serve. Came out a little dry, but otherwise no worse for wear. Thanks for the advice, everyone.
Congrats on your success.

What's an E.A.T test? Or did you mean ETD (Explosives Trace Detection) test? The TSA deployed a bunch of those ETD machines in early 2010 and had a party with them. Basically, they run a cotton swab over whatever they want to - carry on bag, its contents, hands, face, shoes, etc, and then run the swab through an analyzer to test for traces of explosive residue. I was once carrying 3 frozen logs of goose liver pate, each about 2 lbs., that were foil wrapped in a cooler bag within my carry on when it got nailed for an ETD. The TSA screener said they looked like bombs on the X-Ray as the bag went through the scanning belt. I unwrapped the foil, he swabbed the casings, ran the swabs, and we cleared.

Don't often see the ETD procedure in use anymore. Probably because the screeners are having too much fun with the TSAs most recent toy - the "Full Monte" body scanner.

Glad to see that everything worked out for you.

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