how long to defrost beef in fridge

In the refrigerator, ground beef, stew meat, and steaks may thaw within a day. Bone-in parts and whole roasts may take 2 days or longer. Once the raw ground beef thaws, it will be safe in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. All other cuts of beef can be refrigerated safely for 3 to 5 additional days before cooking.

Freezing is the single most natural way to preserve meat, yet there is still a lot of confusion about how to defrost frozen meat safely and quickly. With no need for chemicals or additives and just a low temperature to lock in all the freshness and flavor, freezing meat gives us the longest possible shelf life. Today, we examine the second half of this freezing process: Defrosting Meat

FREEZING AND DEFROSTING MEAT ~ A BREIF HISTORY

Archeology has shown us the Inuit in Greenland and the Nanai of Siberia who inhabited naturally cold climates have been preserving foods in freezing winter conditions or below the frostline in Summer months for thousands of years and safely defrosting wild meat and fish as needed. There can be no doubt that the introduction of widespread freezing of food was the single greatest leap of progress in food preservation for humans when it was first employed on a commercial scale in 1861 in Australia by Eugene Dominic Nicolle and Thomas Succlife Mort.Yet, 160 years later, there are still old wives tales about how to properly and safely defrost frozen meat that are either inaccurate or just not true.

Inuit freezing food in underground pit in the snow.Image Credit: Climate Resiliance

3 Best Methods to Defrost Meat Safely

In the refrigerator overnight: this is by far the safest way to thaw meat but not the quickest method for sure. By keeping the meat at a constant 40°F or lower (4.4°C ), the frozen meat will slowly and safely defrost overnight. We always recommend defrosting meat in a bowl even if the meat is vacuum packed. Reason: When frozen meat defrosts, it will shrink in mass slightly as the water molecules go from frozen to a liquid state. In this instance, the vacuum packaging will stay the same size and may have tiny micro-holes left as it was stretched from expanding when freezing. This may allow some liquid / myoglobin to escape, so a bowl will avoid any mess. Keep the defrosting meat on the lowest shelf to further prevent any dripping underneath. 1 to 2 hours before cooking, take your steak out and place on the kitchen counter to get closer to room temperature before seasoning your steak and cooking.

Thawing Ground Beef in the Refrigerator

While it might not be the way to go if you need the meat for tonights dinner, if you have enough time for this method, defrosting ground beef in the refrigerator is the way to go. “Thawing ground beef in the refrigerator is our preferred method for safe thawing,” says Britanny Saunier, executive director of Partnership for Food Safety Education. According to Saunier, this method gives you better control of the temperature and avoids the danger zone—the temperature at which bacteria multiply rapidly, which is between 40 and 140 degrees.

The first step is to set your refrigerator to 40 degrees or below as measured by an appliance thermometer. Place the ground beef, still in its packaging, on a tray with a lip or in a container that can capture any juices as it thaws. Next, Saunier says to put the ground beef on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to prevent any runaway juices from dripping on other raw products, which can cross-contaminate your food.

In the refrigerator, ground beef, stew meat, and steaks may thaw within a day. Bone-in parts and whole roasts may take 2 days or longer. Once the raw ground beef thaws, it will be safe in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. All other cuts of beef can be refrigerated safely for 3 to 5 additional days before cooking.

FAQ

How long does it take meat to thaw?

Defrosting meat in the refrigerator is the safest method of thawing, as it keeps the meat at a consistent temperature that is too cold for bacteria to grow. Most cuts of meat will defrost in 10 – 24 hours in the refrigerator. To thaw larger cuts, allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of meat.

How long does beef take to defrost at room temperature?

The Safest way Large cuts of meat, or whole birds (like a chicken), generally take a whole day to defrost safely. Accordingly, a generally rule is to allow 10 – 12 hours per kilogram of meat.

What is the best way to thaw frozen ground beef?

To start, make sure the beef is in a watertight, zip-top bag. Next, place the bag in a large bowl and pour cold water over it so that the meat is submerged. You’ll want to change the water every 30 minutes until the meat is thawed. With this method, be sure to cook the meat immediately and never try to refreeze it.

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