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Food Safety: Is It Safe To Cook Frozen Meat Without Thawing?

According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), meat is safe to cook without thawing, but it is not always safe to cook Frozen meat because it is prone to bacteria that can cause food-borne Illnesses. Therefore there are guidelines to follow when cooking frozen meat to make sure that it is safe to consume.

By Cookist

Never cook Frozen Meat in a slow cooker: Frozen Meat should not be prepared in a slow cooker or Crockpot regardless of what type of Frozen Meat it is because cooking Frozen Meat in a slower cooker allows it to spend too much time at a temperature where dangerous bacteria can grow. Temperature between 40°F and 140°F is considered a danger zone because it allows bacteria like Salmonella to grow before reaching the temperature when it is normally killed.

Use the Refrigerator to Thaw Frozen Meat: 


Using the refrigerator is the safest way to Thaw Frozen Meat, and the average size cut of meat usually takes a day to thoroughly defrost, while larger cuts or whole birds can take about 24 hours per 5 pounds to thaw.

There are different methods on how to cook frozen meat without thawing, which usually depends on the type of meat:

Frozen Chicken: It is not ideal to grill or sauté Frozen Chicken; instead, the chicken can be baked or simmered in sauce. The chicken must be adequately cooked twice as long as an unfrozen chicken, and the temperature must not be below 350°F for safety.

Frozen Bacon: Frozen bacon must be fried on low heat until the rashers start to separate, and the heat should be increased gradually. Pieces of Bacon can be fried until it is thoroughly cooked.

Sausage: Sausage packaging must be checked if they need to be thawed before cooking because most brands of sausages are okay to be cooked frozen, and it usually takes about 10-15 minutes to cook.

Steak: Frozen steak should be placed in a bowl under running cold water with a preheated oven at 400°F. Then the steak should be coated with salt and pepper before placing in the oven for 15 minutes.

Ways to Quickly Thaw Frozen Meat

There are two simple safe ways to quickly thaw Frozen Meat: The Microwave Method and Cold Water Method.

The Microwave Method


Defrosting meat in the microwave can take around ten minutes. This is the ideal method for smaller cuts of meat that will be cooked all the way through after defrosting. Before using the microwave, read the instruction manual to find out the best way to defrost a specific cut of meat-based on its settings. Most microwaves now feature a defrost setting. On the other hand, if your microwave does not have a defrost setting, you can set it at a lower power level then run in short bursts until the meat is defrosted. When defrosting using the microwave, you need to be careful because setting it at high heat for too long can cook the outer layer of the meat instead of defrosting.

The Cold Water Method


If you do not have a microwave, this is the next best method to use for quick thawing. To do this method:

Put the frozen meat in a resealable plastic bag and remove air pockets.
Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the bag in it.
Change the water every 30 minutes so that it stays cold and the meat will continue to thaw.

In conclusion, it is safe to cook frozen meat without defrosting as long as safety guidelines are followed and care is taken to make sure the defrosting instructions on packed meat are carefully carried out.

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