How to Defrost Meat: A Step-By-Step Guide


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The pressure of work, commutes and families can leave us without have the time or money to always being using fresh meat. Sometimes the best option for you and our family is to use frozen meat. So find out how to defrost meat the safest way.

 

Top Ways to Defrost Meat

Here are some safe methods for defrosting meat or food;

Refrigerator Thawing

This is one of the simplest methods. Leave the meat in your refrigerator it in original packaging and in a dish large enough to catch the dripping. You will need to allow one day for every pound. 

Hot Water Bath

Use this method for thinner cuts of meat. Research from a 2011 study by the USDA found that you are able to thaw a piece of steak that is 1” thick in water 102°F water in 11 minutes. The meat quickly moves past the danger zone that microbes have been to thrive in. This test also shows that less purge or liquid is lost than the traditional thawing methods.

If you want to try this method yourself:

  1. Place your meat underneath a plate inside of a large bowl. Fill this bowl with hot water and stir it continually as the meat will create a bubble of cold water around itself.
  2. Make check this resource to find out how long you should leave it. Ensure you set a timer so you don’t leave the meat in the water for too long.

Note: The timing will depend on how thick the meat is and the heat of your water. This method has been found to be most effective for chicken parts, steak and chops. This method will not work on thicker cuts like roasts, brisket, turkey or pork butt this is due to the fact the exterior will stay in the danger for a prolonged period. Once thawed my favourite way to cook a brisket is the sous vide brisket method.

Cold Water Bath

This technique ensures the least amount of fluid lost or purge. You need to place your meat in an airtight ziplock bag then inside a plastic insulated cool bag. Cover with cold water, about an hour later add a few litres of water and ice to ensure the water temp is under 40°F or 4°C, you will need to continue to do this every hour.

The above is a guide for all types of defrosting for all types meat. You will find a more specific breakdown below of how to defrost each type of meat.

How to Defrost Chicken

You have three options when it comes to thawing your chicken. You can either thaw your chicken in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.

How to Defrost Chicken in the Refrigerator

You may find that the easiest method for defrosting chicken, however, it can take up to the longest amount of time.

To thaw your chicken in the refrigerator follow these steps.

Ensure you keep your frozen chicken in the unopened wrapper and place in a tray that will stop the juices from dripping on other food.

Place your chicken on the lowest shelf in the fridge.

You will have to allow about 24 hours to thaw each pound of frozen boneless chicken breasts. When you are thawing a whole frozen chicken, it will take around 4 to 6 hours per pound of chicken.

Thaw Chicken in Cold Water

One of the fastest ways to defrost frozen chicken is in cold water, however, compared to refrigerator thawing, this process can require a lot more attention.

  1. Ensure the frozen chicken is in a bag without any leaks
  2. Submerge the bag in cold tap water — never ever use warm or hot water
  3. Make sure you change the water every 30 minutes, to ensure that it stays cold enough

Note: Using this thawing method, it will take about 30 minutes for each pound of chicken you need to defrost.

 Thaw Chicken in the Microwave

Another fast way to defrost chicken in the microwave.

In your microwave manual, you should have the minutes per pound and the power level to use for thawing chicken.

Remove all outside plastic wrapping.

Place on a microwave-safe dish.

If you decide to defrost your chicken in the microwave, make sure you cook it immediately after it’s thawed. Here are my picks for the best electric smoker to cook on after your chicken has been. 

How to Defrost Steak

Find out the top three ways to defrost steak below.

Thaw Steak in The Refrigerator

The best way is to let your defrost steak in the refrigerator overnight. If you allow your steak to defrost slowly and at a controlled temperature it can lead to a juicier, more flavorful steak. To do this place the frozen steak on a plate at on the bottom of your refrigerator.

Thaw Steak in Cold Water

Fill the entire sink with cold water and can allow the steak to defrost in its packaging. It can also allow the steak to defrost evenly and at a more controlled temperature. This method will work faster than the refrigerator and usually only takes about 20 minutes.

Thaw Steak in the Microwave

Thawing steak in the microwave is discouraged by most professionals. , the heat from the microwave causes the steak to lose its natural juices, and the final product could become dry and less tender. If you need to defrost your steak in the microwave leave the steak in its packaging and watch it carefully as it defrosts. As soon as the out portions start to thaw, take it out and let it rest. The rest of the meat will thaw during standing time.

 

Defrosting Ground Beef or Ground Turkey

To defrost ground beef or ground turkey follow the step below.

Defrost in the Refrigerator

Place the frozen ground beef on a plate in a ziplock bag and put it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. The ground beef should thaw in 1 to 2 hours. Ensure you cook or within 2 days.

Defrost in the Microwave

Place the ziplock bag with the frozen ground beef on a plate. Read your manual for the correct defrost setting on your microwave. Make sure turning halfway through.. Make sure you cook the meat immediately, as some parts of the meat may have begun cooking during the defrosting process. You cannot refreeze raw meat thawed in the microwave.

Defrost in Cool Water

With your frozen ground beef in a sealed bag, cover it with cold water and a heavyweight to submerge it. Once thawed cook immediately and do not refreeze the raw meat.

Turkey mince is great but for a real special treat sometimes you need to up the ante a little bit. The kids and I love turkey when it is smoked whole. Follow my steps on smoking a turkey in electric smoker to really impress your guests!

 

 

Fresh Meat Vs. Frozen Meat

It has been found fresh meat is better than frozen meat this is because when the water crystals expand during the freezing process they puncture the cells walls. Did you ever notice when you defrost meat that there is pink juice left? This is called purge and there is no way to get it back in your meat. You will find that is juice is what makes your meat tender and juicy. However, meat that is frozen when fresh is absolutely better than meat that frozen after already sitting around for a while.

 

Final Thoughts

There is nothing like knowing you have a pork butt (my favourite cut) defrosting in the freezer. It’s getting ready for you to make one hell of a delicious meal for your friends and family. I always ensure that I safety defrost meat I use, the last thing I would ever want is for someone get sick. Plus I am smoking king around my family and I want it to stay that way. If you have never smoked a pork butt before you will have to check out my simple steps to master smoked pork butt.

I hope that you can use this information helps to defrost your meat a little bit easier.  I chose to include the other methods because I know some people have different time constraints and situation. One of my favourite ways to cook my meat is on an electric smoker. In my opinion, the Bradley 4 Rack smoker is the best electric smoker out right now.

Let me know how you go below!

Happy smoking

Charlie

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