Posted June 19th, 2012
by Eli, Our Own Frozen Meat Buyer
I’ve been tempted many-a-time to defrost some frozen meat in hot water, despite knowing that it falls outside of food safety precautions ingrained in me from a young age. But new research sponsored by the Department of Agriculture is saying that it’s looking like the coast is clear for thawing small cuts of meat this way.
In the study, researchers test-thawed more than 200 one-inch-thick beef strip loin steaks in three different groups: some in a refrigerator at 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, some in a constantly circulating water bath at 68 degrees, and some in a water bath at 102 degrees. The air-thawed meat in the refrigerator took 18 to 20 hours, while the room-temperature water bath thawed the steaks in about 20 minutes, and the hot-hottest bath took 11 minutes. These water-bath times are so short that any bacterial growth would remain within safe limits. A group at Utah State did similar research on chicken breast, and though the government agencies who like to sanction our food buying and preparing methods aren’t officially recommending them, it’s looking like those of us who want to eat that pork chop tonight are in luck.
Tips for doing this in your home are: keep the packaging limited (one sealed layer of plastic) to keep it from being more insulated, and stir the pot every few minutes to prevent “cold spots”.