3 + 1 Methods To Defrost Meat Safe And Fast

You have had a hard day at work. You wanted to cook a nice dinner for yourself. But, looking at that bag of frozen meat, you wonder what the most suitable way is. Thawing is mainly used for frozen meat, poultry, and seafood. Most vegetables can be cooked without thawing.

Here are 4 methods you can consider.

#1. Using The Refrigerator

The safest method in the book. However, this method is excruciatingly slow, and I cannot emphasize this enough. From my attempts, it can take up to 16 hours to thaw. For a turkey, it can take up to 24 hours per 5 pounds of meat. It takes a lot to plan an outing this evening, much less tomorrow’s dinner.

How To Do This?

Simply remove the food from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator and let it sit overnight.

Advantages Of This Method

  1. It is recommended by the United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA).
  2. It is safe
  3. It ensures a complete even thaw, which means there won’t be cold, raw meat in the middle of the meat when you cook it.
  4. Little To No Effort

Disadvantages Of This Method

  1. You have to plan ahead – a real headache.
  2. It is a painfully slow process. I wish I could write this a thousand times.

Consider this method if you have a lot of time on hand. Or needs training for patience.


#2. Using Running Water

I would consider this to be the most popular method. It is a quick(er) fix for those who don’t have a lot of time yet still want to have a decent meal. The steps to do this is rather simple:

How To Do This?

First, take out the frozen meat that you wish to cook. Remove the packaging.

Then, place it in a resealable bag or any kind of waterproof bag that can be tied.

Lastly, submerged the bag in a bowl of water.

Some suggested cold water and some mentioned hot water. My take on this? Running water from the tap at around room temperature works best. It is the same idea as frostbite treatment.

Using this method, small pieces of meat like sausages will take about half an hour to an hour to defrost. Bigger cuts will take a couple of hours. You may need to switch the water a couple of times. Do take extra care not to thaw and forget about it. Bacteria starts to grow at room temperature. Do not let it sit at that temperature for too long.

Advantages Of This Method

  1. Faster than the refrigeration method.
  2. Evenness in thaw similar to that the refrigeration method.

Disadvantages Of This Method

  1. Runs the risk of letting it rest at room temperature for too long.
  2. Requires the most effort out of all the techniques.


#3. The Ever-Handy Microwave

You have no patience to wait almost a day to eat that steak. Neither do you want to spend so much effort as well. The microwave is the fastest method and it doesn’t require a lot of work.

How To Do It?

Simple remove the packaging, place it on a clean ceramic plate. Then, pop it in the microwave and press the defrost option. While most microwave assures you that it thaws meat as if you have chosen the refrigeration method, you will most likely still get a plate of partially cooked meat with gooey water surrounding it. It is definitely not the prettiest sight and could probably tear your appetite and mood to shreds.

Advantages Of This Method

  1. Fastest out of every option.
  2. Little to no effort needed.

Disadvantage Of This Method

  1. Food probably won’t taste as nice as it should be.


Bonus #4. The Just Don’t Thaw Method

Depending on what you are cooking. If you are making braised meat or a dish that requires a longer time to cook. You could consider skipping the thawing altogether. Do note that if you go down this route, the meat would take up to approximately 50% more time to cook. So, plan your recipe to accommodate this.

It is safe to cook food from the frozen state, just for the record.


I Have Thawed My Food, Can I Refreeze It?

Thaw-er’s regret, they say. You have thawed a higher quantity than you would have needed. Can you refreeze it for future use? The short answer is Yes in most cases.

The USDA advises that it is safe to refreeze food. However, this only applies to cases where:

  1. The raw food is thawed in the refrigerator and is still in the fridge when you are thinking of refreezing.
  2. The food is cooked and has not been left outside the refrigerator for more than two hours. One hour in temperatures above 90°F (32°C).

Other than these two conditions, refreezing is not recommended. The idea is simple, you would not want to refreeze bacteria along with the food.


To Thaw Or Not To Thaw

Again, thawing must never be done at room temperature. By extension, this means strictly no defrosting on the kitchen counter and definitely not outdoors.

All the above methods are safe, provided you thaw it under the danger zone. The danger zone refers to temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F. Be safe than sorry. Enjoy your dinner!

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