It may be tempting to heat your meat or leave it out on the countertop to defrost it quickly. We know you just can’t wait to devour that rib-eye or roast chicken, but it can be quite harmful to rapidly thaw meat. You don’t want to facilitate the growth of harmful bacteria, nor do you want to cook the upper layer while the middle is still frozen.
Here are 3 ways to thaw meat properly so it remains safe and delicious to eat:
The slowest method of thawing is the refrigerator thawing, where you simply place the meat in the fridge and wait for it to defrost. The fridge temperature should be around 40° F to ensure controlled thawing. This is probably the safest way, and you can keep the meat in the fridge for about 2-3 days for poultry and 3-5 for red meat before cooking. On the other hand, if you’re in a hurry beware that it would take about 24 hours to properly thaw so you should plan ahead for this method.
Cold Water Thawing
If you want a faster way, leave your meat in a bowl of cold water. Make sure the water is not hot or room temperature, the surface temperature of the meat will increase to the ideal bacteria growth temperature. Make sure to change the water every half an hour or so to maintain the temperature. This method should take about an hour for smaller servings of meat and 2-3 hours for larger pieces. If you’re in a hurry, you can also place the bowl in the sink under running cold water which will speed up the process by about 30 minutes.
The last and fastest method is the microwave thawing. Here you need to be careful to use the “defrost” setting of your microwave, or keep it at 50% power so that the outer layer doesn’t start cooking as the inside thaws. Be sure to remove all packaging and place it in a microwave safe plat. As this method applies heat to rapidly thaw the meat, it is important to immediately cook the meat and not let it sit after it’s been thawed.
It is important for food safety that you thaw meat properly before cooking, whether you have time or are in a hurry. You and your family’s safety and well-being comes first, and you do owe it to yourself and them to cook delicious and healthy meals.