Frozen meat is a food that is easy to store and practical to cook. However, if you don't defrost it properly, you run the risk that dangerous bacteria will proliferate in the meat. First, thaw it slowly and evenly inside the refrigerator. This method is the slowest, but it is also the safest and easiest. Another option is to defrost the meat in a bowl of cold water. This method is faster than using the refrigerator and more gentle than using the microwave. Finally, to heat items quickly use the microwave “defrost” function. Check the food every now and then to see if any finer parts of the meat aren't cooking accidentally.
Method 1 of 3: Thawing Meat in Refrigerator
Step 1. Prefer the refrigerator for a slow and even defrosting
The cooler method is easy and safe and doesn't require a lot of time to prepare anything. Plus, you don't have to worry about cooking some finer part of the meat or overheating it. However, it may take longer to thaw food, especially large pieces of meat such as a turkey or a pig.
If you don't have at least 24 hours to wait for the meat to thaw, choose a faster Method
Step 2. Place the frozen meat on a plate
Prefer a large, sturdy plate to handle the piece. The dish prevents the liquid from the meat melting in the refrigerator. If the cut is too large, such as a turkey or other roast, place it in a large pot.
Do not remove the plastic packaging. It protects the meat from other foods and residues present in the refrigerator
Step 3. Refrigerate the frozen meat
Place the frozen meat dish in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. For large cuts, it takes 24 hours to defrost every 2.5 kg of meat. After this period, check the meat from time to time to see if it has thawed.
- Pierce the plastic container or turn it over to see if the food has already thawed or not.
- Wash your hands before and after handling frozen meat to avoid contamination.
Step 4. Cook the meat or refrigerate it
Since the defrosting method inside the refrigerator is very gentle, you don't need to cook the meat right away. On the contrary: you can keep it in the fridge for later use or even cook it on another day. For example:
- Chicken, fish and minced meat can be kept in the fridge for another day or two.
- Red meat, pork, lamb or veal can be kept in the refrigerator for three to five days.
Method 2 of 3: Using Cold Water to Thaw Meat
Step 1. Choose the cold water method
This defrosting technique is faster than the refrigerator. A piece weighing 2.5 kg or less can be thawed in one hour while larger cuts take two to three hours. Besides, you don't run the risk of cooking thin parts of the piece as you could in the microwave. However, after being thawed, the meat needs to be prepared immediately.
Step 2. Put the meat in an airtight zip bag
This type of bag preserves the food, protecting it from bacteria present in the air or water. First, choose a large bag that can be placed in the freezer. Then close the meat inside it, pressing it to remove all the air from the package.
It is not necessary to remove the plastic packaging before placing the meat in one of these bags
Step 3. Dip the bag into a bowl of cold water
Choose a large bowl and place it in the sink, filling it with cold tap water. Then place the bag tightly closed with the meat in the water, immersing it completely. Leave the meat there until it thaws completely. Every half hour, remove the contents and refill the bowl with cold water.
- A piece of meat weighing approximately 0.5 kg may take 15 to 30 minutes to thaw.
- Larger pieces can take between two to three hours.
Step 4. Cook the thawed meat immediately
Although the meat was submerged in cold water, it was exposed to higher temperatures. Therefore, it must be cooked right after thawing. If you want to freeze the piece again, you need to prepare it first.
Method 3 of 3: Defrosting Meat in the Microwave
Step 1. Use the microwave for quick defrosting
This Quick Method works best for defrosting evenly cut small pieces of meat. The equipment defrosts the meat in a matter of minutes. However, this technique can partially cook the meat or make it hard, altering the quality of the recipe.
Thawed food must be prepared immediately after defrosting. If you don't want to cook it right away, let the meat defrost only when you're going to use it
Step 2. Remove the meat from the packaging and place it on a plate
First, remove all plastic wrapping from the meat. This packaging retains the moisture that will “boil” the outside of the piece. Then place it in a large microwave-safe dish. If there is a thinner piece in the piece, place it near the center of the microwave to prevent it from cooking.
- Use microwave-safe dishes, including ceramic and glass dishes that do not have metal trimmings.
- Some meats come in Styrofoam trays. These trays are not microwave safe and must be discarded.
Step 3. Use the device
Every brand of microwave is a little different. However, most have a special “defrost” button. To defrost the meat, place it in the equipment and press this button. Sometimes the microwave asks you to enter the weight of the meat. This measurement is used to determine the defrost time.
Before using the “defrost” function, read the manufacturer's manual
Step 4. Check the meat periodically for “hot spots
” Every one minute, pause the appliance and check the meat. Carefully touch the sides to see if they are warm. If this is the case, allow the piece to cool for a minute or less so that defrosting can continue. Once the defrosting of the meat is finished, remove it.
- Use a cloth to remove the dish from the microwave and avoid burns.
- Wash your hands before handling raw meat to avoid food contamination.
Step 5. Cook the meat immediately
When using the microwave to defrost the meat, it is exposed to a very high temperature that can encourage the proliferation of bacteria. In this way, the piece must be cooked immediately to avoid any food contamination. You need to prepare it beforehand if you want to freeze it again.