Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Best Way to Thaw Meat

I read an interesting article in the latest issue of "National Barbecue News" that discussed a Dutch study on how best to thaw frozen meat packed in airtight plastic. The study compared defrosting in the refrigerator -- which is popular among consumers and widely recommended as safest -- versus placing the meat packet in cold water. The study found that the "eating quality" of meat defrosted in the refrigerator is lower than that of the meat defrosted in cold water. The reason is that temperature fluctuations in the refrigerator (e.g., from opening the door) cause the thawing meat to refreeze slightly, which damages the texture of the meat as ice crystals melt, reform and melt again. In contrast, meat defrosted in cold water thaws much more gradually and with less temperature fluctuation because water is a better thermal conductor than air. Thus, while both thawing methods are safe, the cold-water method will generally result in meat with better "eating quality" (texture and flavor).

Here are some tips for thawing frozen meat using the cold water method:

*Make sure the meat is packed in airtight (and watertight) plastic - never thaw unpacked meat in water!

*Use only cold water to prevent bacterial growth

*Use the right size container for the amount of meat being thawed: Saucepan for small steak, soup pot for larger or several steaks, small bucket for a roast, etc.

*Plan on 30 minutes per pound of meat, and after about 1/3 of the estimated defrosting time place the water container under a slow-running tap to slowly add fresh cold water (repeat again after the second 1/3 of thawing time)

*Cook the thawed meat as soon as possible after defrosting, and do NOT refreeze thawed meat

Zestfully yours,

PS: Looking for an excellent steak seasoning or rub? You can't go wrong with any flavor of Char Crust Steak Seasonings from Al Farber's Steakhouse in Chicago. We also have delicious steak sauces for every palate, ranging from mild but flavorful to fiery-hot.

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