Freezing meat is a great way to preserve food until it is time to prepare it for eating. Meat should be completely thawed before it is cooked. Cooking meat while partially frozen can takes longer but can destroy a meal. When proteins cook, the heat needs to pass through the food as evenly as possible. This ensures meat cooks properly. Here are the three best ways to thaw meat. Choose which way to use based upon how much time is needed before cooking must ensue. Thaw meat by microwave, running under cool water, or in the refrigerator.

The quickest way to thaw frozen meat is in a microwave. Most microwaves have two buttons for defrosting. Typically, there is a function for the type of meat by weight and one for quick time defrost. Defrosting by weight is the best way to thaw frozen meat in a microwave. Take care not to over defrost in the microwave, or the meat will quickly be too cooked. Sometimes, the thinner parts of meat like the edges of chicken breasts will over cook. It is not only the size, shape, and cut of the meat that may cause uneven cooking but it can be the microwave strength. It is a good idea to round down the weight number printed on the meat’s outer package. Quick defrost works well on small items that just need to be thawed quickly or on items where the weight is unknown. This feature allows you to better monitor the thawing process. 

Another quick way to thaw meat is by running it under the faucet. As cold water runs along the meat’s surface, a heat exchange is taking place. The cold water is warming up the frozen meat. This works well on thinner cuts of meat because the center of the meat is closer to the surface where water is making its heat exchange. As the meat thaws out, the water will no longer be necessary. Do not begin this process then leave meat on the counter.

It is unsanitary to let meat thaw on the counter. Room temperature falls between forty and one hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit, the danger zone for microbial growth. Bacteria multiply rapidly meat should remain cool to inhibit unwanted bacteria from successfully multiplying. This is why large items may need combinations of thawing techniques applied. Thanksgiving turkeys are too often too large to defrost in a microwave.

Generally, Thanksgiving turkeys are put in the refrigerator a night or two in advance. This is done so that the bird thaws out enough to cook. Sometimes, though the bird is still frozen. In this case, it can be run under water or put in a large bowl or dish with water to help thaw it the rest of the way through. This is an example of how thawing methods may be combined.

Thawing meat through any means is important in creating soft, tender, tasty protein dishes. Thawing must be done properly to ensure growth of bacteria does not reach an unhealthy level. The three best ways to thaw frozen meat are in a microwave, in cold water, and in a refrigerator.

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