Best Practices to Thaw Frozen Meat
Let's keep this straight forward for all you fellow busy, multitasking, meal preparers!
There are 3 safe ways to defrost frozen meat:
- The refrigerator
- Cold water
- The microwave
The goal is to keep the meat below 40°F during the defrosting period so that bacteria will not multiply rapidly. Even though cooking your meat well will kill the bacteria, it will not remove any toxins that the bacteria may have produced. It is not safe to leave meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Place your package of frozen meat on a plate or in a Tupperware in the refrigerator. This helps in case there is any leakage from the packaging and doesn't make a mess in your refrigerator.
Items that are a pound or less like a steak or ground beef will thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Larger items as a whole chicken will take a bit longer, about 24hours for every 5 lbs. Also smoked or seasoned items like bacon and brats will take less time than plain meat.
- Thawed meat will remain in good quality for several days after thawing in the refrigerator
- Thawed meat can be refrozen without cooking, however some of the quality may be lost
- Takes planning in advance and pulling it out the night before
Ensure your meat is in a leak proof package or put it in a plastic baggie. Submerge the packaged meat in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until meat is thawed.
Small packages of meat (1lb, or less) may thaw in an hour or less. Larger items (3-4 lb.) may take 2-3 hours.
- Faster than the refrigerator
- Requires more of your attention and water
- Thawed meats must be cooked immediately and before refreezing
We personally have found this to be our favorite, when we didn't have a chance to plan the meal days in advance.
Place your frozen meat in the microwave and follow your microwave defrost settings.
Per your microwave
- Fastest method
- Some areas of the meat may become warm and begin to cook
- Plan to cook meat immediately after removing it from the microwave
- Personally, don’t recommend this method. I have found the quality of the meat to be diminished.