Welcome to “How To” on Eating In Bed! It’s hard to learn how to cook with no explanation of the methods you’re using, so this section of the site is dedicated to making delicious food accessible, and fun,while introducing you to the proper execution of cooking techniques!
One of the best parts of grocery shopping is that you can and freeze fresh food for later. We do it with vegetables, meats, sauces, etc. But even though it was frozen from a fresh state it can still be destroyed by being thawed improperly. Today is a bit of a quick How-To but it’s one of the most important ones. I’ve seen way too many friends and family members improperly thaw meats and I shall no longer stand idly as they contaminate their meats, and their flavors.
For this article the example meat will be a frozen individually wrapped chicken breast. It’s a good example product, but you must always remember that thawing takes longer the thicker the meat, so while you can properly thaw a chicken breast in 30-40 Mins, it will take substantially longer for something like a pot roast. There are several methods of thawing meat that will in fact make the meat able to be cooked, but only two of them will keep your meats flavor intact and the health quality of it.
- Microwave Defrosting – Microwaving pulls out moisture, so when you just throw in a frozen brick of meat it pulls out the water from the outside first, making your meat partially cooked by the time the whole thing’s defrosted. Microwaving can be used as a good combination with the cold water method to shorten the time, but it should only be used to finish off the thawing process
- Running the Meat Under Hot/Lukewarm Water – Hot water on an airtight sealed meat will bring it up to room temperature at a rapid rate, but it too will partially cook the meat and it will also increase the rate that bacteria spread. By the time you’ve defrosted your chicken breast it could have developed some type of food born illness it will gladly share with you.
- Leaving Your Meat on the Counter – This method won’t change the flavor of your meat, but it will impact the health status of the meat. The extended time it takes to come to room temperature greatly increases the chance it will develop some type of food born illness.
- Placing the Meat in the Refrigerator – Going from frozen to the fridge is the best method for thawing meats. It allows them to come up in temperature without being introduced to toxins and maintaining a temperature that keeps the meat fresh. The only problem with refrigerating frozen meats is that most meats will take at least 8-12 hours to fully thaw.
- Running Your Meat Under Cold Water – That’s right, cold water. This is a method I learned from Alton Brown on Good Eats. By placing a frozen meat in an air tight ziplock, then keeping it in a bath of constantly moving cold water, your meat will come to room temperature in about 20-30 minutes. It’s hard to keep constantly draining and filling your sink so you may want to use a Tupperware and place your meat inside with a weighted lid on top. Then just run the cold water in there with your meat. This method brings the meat to around room temperature the fastest, it also keeps bacteria from growing, and your meat retains its fresh flavor!
I hope this has opened your eyes to brutal truths of thawing meats. I myself used to just throw packages of ground beef in the microwave and let that puppy cook my meat half to death before the center was even room temp.