Freezing steaks is a great way to keep them fresh until it's time to eat, but drastic temperature changes can easily spoil the flavor and texture of the meat, and contribute to the proliferation of harmful bacteria when it gets to time to defrost the steaks. The good news is that there are some ways to thaw your steaks without compromising their quality! The easiest way is to leave them in the fridge overnight. If you're in a hurry, you can also dip them in a bowl full of water until they reach a safe cooking temperature.
Method 1 of 3: Thawing Steaks in Refrigerator
Step 1. Take the steaks out of the freezer and put them in the fridge
The day before the barbecue, take the steaks out of the freezer and find a space to put them on the middle shelves of your fridge. No need to unpack them. It's okay to leave the meat in the package it's in.
Moving meat from the freezer to the refrigerator allows it to gradually thaw and retain its natural juicy texture
Step 2. Leave the steaks in the fridge overnight
Most pieces of meat will need 18 to 24 hours to reach the ideal temperature for cooking. Thicker cuts can take longer (up to 30 hours in some cases), as it takes longer for them to thaw halfway through. Thawing steaks in the refrigerator is a relatively time-consuming process, but they will defrost more evenly.
- Write down the exact time you put the steaks in the fridge. In general, you should take them to the grill only 12 hours after taking them out of the freezer the day before.
- Never leave meat at room temperature. This gives health dangerous bacteria a chance to proliferate on meat.
Step 3. Tap test to see if the steaks have already thawed
After leaving them for 12 hours in the fridge, take out the steaks and give them a nudge. They should be firm but giving a little to the touch. The outside temperature must be cool and must not have any apparent ice.
- If you want to make sure your steaks have reached a safe temperature for cooking, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of one of the cuts. As long as the temperature is below 4 °C, that's fine.
- If your steaks have an internal temperature above 4°C, it's best to throw them away and see if your fridge is working properly.
Method 2 of 3: Thawing Steaks in Water
Step 1. Place the steaks in a resealable plastic bag
Take the steaks out of the original packaging and place them in a zip-up plastic bag with a capacity of 4 L. Get rid of the excess packaging that leaves the steaks thermally insulated so they can heat up more quickly.
- If the steaks were individually frozen in plastic vacuum bags, it's okay to leave them as they are.
- You can also unpack the steaks and put them directly in the water if you don't have plastic bags at home. Doing so will not affect the flavor or texture of the meat after cooking.
Step 2. Run hot water in the kitchen sink
Turn on the hot water tap and let it heat up to the maximum or heat water. Domestic faucets generally have temperatures between 46 to 52 °C. The hotter the water is, the faster it will thaw the meat.
- The ideal temperature for quickly and safely defrosting steaks is around 38°C.
- Some health experts do not recommend defrosting meat with hot water because of the possibility of promoting bacterial growth. However, recent studies have shown that this is safe to do, as meat will take less time to thaw than germs to proliferate.
Step 3. Fill a spacious container with 2 to 8 cm of water
Once the water has reached the desired temperature, use it to fill a deep pot, an ovenproof dish, or a bowl. Be careful not to let the water overflow. You just need to add enough water to cover the entire steaks.
- The container you choose should be roomy enough to hold all the steaks you're going to cook (both in area and depth) and the water you'll be using to thaw them.
- You can also use your kitchen sink as a container for defrosting meat, if you have room to do so. Just don't forget to wash it after coming into contact with raw meat!
Step 4. Soak the steaks in water
Place the steaks in the bottom of the container, leaving them just below the surface of the water. Leave 2 to 5 cm of space between each steak to ensure they thaw evenly.
Try not to let loose steaks touch or overlap as this can increase the defrosting time
Step 5. Let the steaks thaw for 10 to 20 minutes
Most cuts only need five to 10 minutes to reach the correct temperature for cooking. Thick cuts will take around 20 minutes. Leave the container over the sink so you can keep an eye on the progress of the steaks and take them out of the water as soon as they are ready.
- Prevent your steaks from reaching a temperature that is unsafe for consumption by leaving them in hot water for more than 20 minutes.
- Steaks thawed in water can be even more succulent than those thawed in the fridge, as the cold air in the fridge can dry them out.
Method 3 of 3: Protecting Steak Quality
Step 1. Make sure the steaks are properly sealed before freezing them
Ideally, always freeze the steaks in the packaging they came in or in vacuum plastic bags. If not, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap or kraft paper and place them in a zip-lock plastic bag for freezing food. Thus, there will be no danger of icing on the surface of the meat.
- If using a plastic bag to freeze food, get as much air out of the bag as possible before closing it.
- Exposure to air and moisture can cause frost burns, which spoil the meat's flavor and texture.
Step 2. Avoid defrosting steaks in the microwave
While the practicality of the microwave defrost function is tempting, this method is not recommended. Defrosting steaks in the microwave can make them tough, make them cook more in some spots than others, and can ruin their juiciness.
- Defrosting steaks in the microwave won't save that much time. The hot water bath will make the steaks ready for grilling or baking in five to 10 minutes, with defrost cycles taking about four minutes.
- Microwave defrosting also creates the risk of accidentally cooking the outside of the meat or raising the internal temperature of the meat enough to invite bacteria inside.
Step 3. Place the thawed steaks you are not going to use now into the fridge or freezer
You can keep the steaks in the fridge for four to five days after defrosting without worrying about spoiling the meat. If for some reason you decide to freeze them again, they will last from six months to a year, as long as you take them to the freezer within this period as well.