Halfway to the office, you just remembered, the Ranch steak you were craving for dinner is still in the freezer. Sadly thawing steak is not as quick as defrosting shrimp.
Nevertheless, we will show you how to defrost your steak safely so that you can cut into that juicy, tender Denver steak as soon as possible.
What Is Defrosting?
Essentially, defrosting refers to allowing frozen food to thaw. Defrosting is to food as a remote is to batteries.
As previously mentioned, thawing food can take a while, but it is a necessary step as it can drastically affect how food cooks.
There are multiple ways you can defrost food.
For example, you can defrost food in the refrigerator in a bowl of water and even in the microwave.
Although some people may suggest thawing food on the countertop, this is not recommended as it could be unsafe.
How To Store Steak
To thaw a steak, you must store it properly. If you are storing steaks in the fridge, place them into a bowl.
The bowl will prevent the steak’s juices from coming into contact with leftover or ready-to-eat foods.
If foods are exposed to the steak’s juices, it could lead to cross-contamination and foodborne illness.
Store your steaks at the back of the fridge so they can maintain a stable temperature.
If you store your eye of round steaks in or near the door, they could spoil faster as temperatures fluctuate in these areas.
How to Freeze Steak
Steak can be stored in the freezer indefinitely. When stored correctly, steak can last for a long time in the freezer.
However, power stages as well as cleaning the freezer can also affect the freezer’s temperature.
If your freezer’s temperature is not kept stable, it could cause the steaks to spoil faster.
Nevertheless, if you don’t intend to use your steaks right away, freezing them is your best option.
To freeze your steaks, remove them from their styrofoam packaging and discard the moisture pad directly beneath it.
The moisture pad will freeze onto your steak and prevent it from defrosting quickly.
You can vacuum seal the steaks or wrap them individually with plastic wrap.
Place the steaks into a freezer-safe ziplock bag in an even layer. Arranging the steaks in an even layer will help them thaw faster.
Nevertheless, if your steaks stick together, a good wack on the counter will separate the steaks.
Can I Refreeze Defrosted Steak
Of course, you can refreeze thawed steak. Unlike salmon or turkey, you cannot simply place steaks back into the freezer.
Store your steaks in the fridge for 3 days before refreezing them.
It’s also important to know that refreezing thawed steaks may impact their flavor.
As the steaks thaw and refreeze, they will lose moisture resulting in drier steaks.
How Long Does Steak Take To Defrost?
How long the steak takes to defrost depends on your method of defrosting your steak. For example, thawing steaks in the refrigerator takes about 24 hours.
Defrosting steak in the cold water will take a few hours, while the microwave can defrost a steak in minutes.
Furthermore, other factors such as the steak’s thickness and size can also impact the defrosting time.
A 1-pound steak that is 1 1/2-inches in thickness may take 1-2 hours to defrost in cold water.
In contrast, a 3-pound steak that is 2-3-inch in thickness may take 3-4 hours to defrost in cold water.
Larger steaks such as the tomahawk steak may take 24-30 hours to defrost in the fridge, while small steak such as a top round steak may take 18-24 hours to defrost.
Tips for Defrosting Steak
It doesn’t matter whether you are grilling a ribeye or tomahawk steak; you must pay special attention when thawing steaks, so you end up with the best results.
Before you thaw your steaks, inspect them for freezer burn. Raw steak has a shelf life of nearly 1 year when stored in the freezer correctly.
However, there is still a chance that freezer burn may develop.
Freezer burn occurs when food is exposed to oxygen. If your steaks look dehydrated and ice crystals form on the surface of it, your steak is most likely freezer burned.
While you can shave the freezer-burned pieces of meat of the steak, it may be best to discard the steaks.
If you are defrosting steaks via the cold water method, they may float to the top of the water.
Keeping the steak submerged is essential to the process as it helps the steak maintain a stable temperature and defrost evenly.
Place a mixing spoon or a heavy plate on top of the steak to keep it submerged.
Be careful when defrosting steaks in the microwave. Microwaves work for reheating foods such as cornbread, corn on the cob, and rotisserie chicken.
However, when it comes to defrosting steak in the microwave, even if you use the defrost setting, if you are not careful, your steak can become discolored during the defrosting process.
Furthermore, your steak will end up with a chewy texture as it has already started to cook in the microwave.
How To Defrost Steak
The secret to defrosting steak is preventing it from entering the danger zone, which ranges between 41°F to 135°F.
Bacteria can multiply at exponential rates in the temperature danger zone.
Therefore, allowing steaks to sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours, thawing them in hot water as well as defrosting steak in the microwave can cause it to enter the danger zone.
How To Defrost Steak in the Fridge
While defrosting steak in the fridge is a lengthy process, it is the safest method that results in evenly thawed steaks.
In addition to this, thawing steaks in the fridge also takes the least amount of work.
Whether your steaks are still in their original packaging or in a freezer-safe resealable bag, place them onto a large plate, shallow container, or cookie sheet.
This will prevent condensation that forms on the outside of the package or any juices that may leak from the steak from contaminating other foods.
Place the steaks onto a flat lower shelf away from other foods and allow them to defrost for 12-24 hours.
How To Defrost Steak in Cold Water
While defrosting steaks in cold water will not take 12-24 hours, it is still the second slowest technique.
Luckily, thawing steaks in cold water requires minimal effort, and you will end up with evenly thawed meat.
The cold water method works best for steaks that are no longer in their original packaging and is stored in a resealable ziplock bag.
If your steaks are not in a ziplock bag, place them into a bag and seal them. The ziplock bag will prevent the steaks from coming into contact with the water.
Fill a container that is big enough to submerge the steaks with cold water and add the steak. Alternatively, you can also fill your sink with and add the steak to the sink. Place a large plate or spoon on top of the steak to keep it submerged in the water.
If your steak was packaged in a styrofoam container that is stuck to the meat, you can open the ziplock bag every so often and try to separate the meat from the package.
Once the steaks have been separated from the container, they will thaw faster.
Defrosting steaks via the cold water method takes 1 hour. However, you should dump and replace the water every 30 minutes.
How To Defrost Steak in the Microwave
Yes, defrosting steak in the microwave is the fastest way to defrost. However, the microwave should only be used as a last resort to thaw steaks.
Some steaks such as ribeye or wagyu beef are more expensive than others.
Therefore, you do not want to end up with a steak that cooks on the outside while the interior is still thawing, especially when you handed over big bucks for the steak.
Nevertheless, if you must thaw your steak in the microwave, follow these instructions.
Remove your steaks from their packaging and place them onto a microwave-safe plate in an even layer. Place the steaks into the microwave and press the defrost setting.
Defrost the steaks in 30-second to 1-minute bursts, rotating and turning the steaks over during each interval until they are thawed.
Truth be told, even if you follow these instructions to the letter when defrosting steaks in the microwave, you could still end up with a steak that starts to cook on the outer edges.
For this reason, we recommend using another defrosting method to thaw steaks evenly.
Steaks are a luxury item, so whenever you find steaks on sale, do not be afraid to stock up on them. You do not have to eat all of the steaks at once.
You can always freeze your steaks and eat them later.
An essential part of freezing steaks is knowing how to defrost them.
However, since you know everything there is to know about freezing steaks, this will not be an issue. Happy defrosting!
You might also be interested in:
- How To Defrost and Thaw A Turkey
- How To Defrost and Thaw Beef
- How To Defrost and Thaw Ground Beef
- How To Defrost and Thaw Ham
- How To Defrost and Thaw Pork Chops
- How To Defrost and Thaw Salmon
- How To Defrost and Thaw Fish
- How To Defrost and Thaw Shrimp
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.