Proper Ways to thaw Meat

You’re eagerly anticipating your next meal of delicious 100% Grass Fed beef, raised using the principles of regenerative agriculture from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed. Before you can cook it, you should let the frozen meat thaw out. For safety’s sake, make sure to use one of the proper ways to thaw meat, including:

  • Thaw the meat in the refrigerator
  • Enclose the meat in a plastic bag and submerge it in cold water
  • Use the thaw setting on your microwave

It’s important to use one of the above thawing methods; otherwise, you risk the possibility of transmitting a foodborne illness.

Refrigerator Thawing

The easiest way to thaw beef is by placing it in the refrigerator and giving it plenty of time to defrost. The refrigerator should remain at a constant temperature of 40° Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that larger cuts, such as roasts or briskets, will require a full 24 hours to thaw.

Hint: Placing the meat on an aluminum pan while defrosting in the refrigerator speeds up the thawing process.

Once thawed, you can wait up to two days for ground beef or stewed beef before cooking. With roasts, steaks, and the like, you can wait between three and five days.

Only meat thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking. When using any other thawing method, cook the meat before refreezing. If the meat is left outside the refrigerator for more than two hours after cooking – one hour in the heat of the summer – do not refreeze it.

Cold Water

If you need to thaw meat faster than the refrigerator method allows, use the cold water for defrosting. You must keep the beef in a plastic bag or similar leak-proof container.

Keep the bag submerged in water. As thawing progresses, change the water every half hour. Expect a 1 pound package of meat to thaw within one hour. Packages between 3 and 4 pounds should take up to three hours.  

Microwave Thawing

Microwave thawing is fast, but there are caveats. After a microwave thaw, you should cook the meat immediately. There is always the potential for the meat to have begun cooking while defrosting.

Remove any foam trays and wrapping from the store before microwave defrosting. Just use the thaw setting on your microwave and set it for the recommended amount of time for the size of the meat being defrosted. That recommendation will include when you should turn the meat for even thawing.

The drawback to microwave thawing is that it can lessen meat quality. That’s especially true if the meat is thawed at too high a temperature.

What Not to Do

Do not thaw meat by placing it on the counter or otherwise leaving it out for long periods. Never leave thawing meat at room temperature for more than two hours. Bacteria are kept at bay when using proper thawing methods. That’s not the case when the room temperature rises above 40°. The Danger Zone for meat ranges between 40° and 140°. The temperature of your own home almost certainly falls into the Danger Zone range.

That’s a reason hot water is out as a way to thaw beef. It might seem that running frozen meat under hot water will cause it to thaw more quickly, and in a sense, that’s true. However, that greatly increases the risk of unleashing bacteria and causing those who eat the meat to get sick.

Cooking Without Thawing

You do not have to thaw meat before cooking it. It’s just going to take a lot longer to cook than the thawed product. Depending on the size of the meat, it may make more sense to add 50 percent more cooking time than defrosting it beforehand. That’s a good alternative with frozen steaks, but can take several hours more with a roast or brisket.

Use a thermometer to keep careful track of the temperature. Otherwise, there’s a risk of overcooking or undercooking.

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The 100% grass fed, grass finished beef from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed retains its nutrients and flavor after freezing. Our beef is frozen as per USDA safety guidelines. Enjoy a delicious meal knowing that the animal was not given hormones, antibiotics, or grains but consumed grass and forage as nature intended.

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