Thawing Meat in a Refrigerator
It is best to thaw meat in a refrigerator that is set to between 34 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the meat in its original packaging and place on a plate before putting into the refrigerator. Depending on the weight and thickness of your meat, it may take anywhere from one to several days for meat to thaw in the refrigerator. Ground meat should be cooked immediately, while other pieces of meat can remain in the refrigerator for three to five days after thawing.
Thawing Meat in Cold Water
Thawing meat in cold water is another safe method. It is important to make sure that the water is cold and not warm since warm water will allow bacteria to grow on the meat. Place the frozen meat in a leak proof package or bag and place into the cold water. The water should be changed every 30 minutes to keep it cold. Once the meat has thawed, it needs to be cooked or refrigerated immediately.
Thawing Meat in a Microwave
While it may decrease the quality of the meat, it is safe to thaw meat in a microwave. Before thawing the meat, remove it’s packaging, including the foam try. Meat should be thawed on a low setting or in accordance with your microwave manufacturer’s recommendations. After thawing meat in a microwave, it should be cooked immediately.
Cooking Frozen Meat
If thawing meat prior to cooking is not an option, it is ok to cook frozen meat. If you will be cooking frozen meat, allow the meat to cook for 10 to 20 minutes longer per pound. However, if you will be coating the meat in breadcrumbs or need to brown the meet before cooking, you should allow the meat to thaw first. It is also not recommended to cook a large frozen roast since it can cause the meat to be overdone.
Refreezing Raw Meat
If you have thawed meat in the refrigerator, it is ok to refreeze it within three to five days. If you have used a different method for thawing meat, cook the meat prior to refreezing. Refreezing meat can cause a decrease in quality due to loss of moisture during thawing.