Does the idea of buying frozen meat fill you with uncertainty and bring a lot of questions to mind? I hear a lot of misconceptions and false information about using frozen meat and I’m here to clear them up.
Can You Cook Frozen Meat?
The biggest question I hear about frozen meat is, “Do I have to thaw it before cooking?” Sure, sometimes you need to thaw meat before using certain cooking techniques, but not only is it possible to cook beef, chicken and pork from frozen, but it’s possible to get fabulous tasting results when doing so.
If you want to cook steak from frozen, the easiest way is to let the meat run under cold water while preheating your oven to 200℃ and heating an oven safe pan of oil on the stovetop to high heat. Then, season liberally and sear steak on both sides. Move to the oven to finish cooking about 15 minutes or until the steak reaches your preferred doneness.
Chicken can also be cooked from frozen, but you have to be a bit more careful. Due to the potential for bacteria growth when the outside of the chicken cooks much faster than the inside, grilling and sauteing frozen chicken isn’t recommended. However, you can certainly cook frozen chicken in a way where it simmers in some type of sauce or bake it in the oven. The general rule for cooking chicken from frozen is that you should double the cooking time that you normally use for cooking thawed chicken.
Pork follows similar rules for cooking time and can be cooked with basically any cooking method from frozen without issue.
How to Cut Frozen Meat Without Thawing
Cutting frozen meat allows you to cook smaller portions and still enjoy the convenience of cooking meat straight from the freezer. But, how do you get the job done? To cut meat from frozen, it can be helpful to soften it slightly under cold running water. Then, use a heavy duty knife to cut carefully, minding your fingers. I actually find that cutting softened, frozen meat can sometimes be easier than cutting it when it’s raw and all slippery! However, if you want to cut a large piece of meat while it’s completely frozen solid, you’ll probably need to invest in a butcher’s saw or electric knife.
How to Defrost Frozen Meat
The safest way to defrost all types of frozen meat is to move it from the freezer to the fridge to defrost until it is ready to use. Most meats take about 24 hours to defrost, but some small cuts can be defrosted overnight. If you are trying to defrost a whole bird like a turkey or large cut like a roast you will need more time, sometimes several days. It is not considered safe to defrost meat on the kitchen counter or under hot water because these methods allow too much time in the temperature range where bacteria can form.
How to Separate Frozen Meat
One downside of using frozen meat is that separating or portioning out can be a bit of a pain and can require a little bit of trial and error. Sometimes I have success carefully using a butter knife to wedge between the different pieces and get them to break apart. Other times, I find that holding the meat under some cool running water allows it to soften enough that you can break off what you need. If you have any hacks for separating frozen meat, I’d love to hear them!
How Long to Keep Frozen Meat
Most experts agree that frozen meat is safe to eat indefinitely as long as it is stored at -18℃ or lower. However, the taste and quality certainly starts to deteriorate after 3-4 months. Therefore, we recommend that you use up our frozen meat products within 3 months. Just know that you won’t get food poisoning if it goes a bit longer.