Steak purists may gasp when they see a headline like that, but in the real world freezing food is essential. We are often too busy to go to the butcher and buy fresh meat whenever we need it and buying in advance and freezing steak until we need it is often a necessity. After all, frozen steak is still better than no steak!
In an ideal world, we would never freeze meat and would always have it fresh. But the world doesn’t work that way so the freezer comes into play. But what is the best way to defrost a steak? How can you tell when it is fully thawed and safe to cook?
One key thing with cooking steak is ensuring the centre is the same temperature as the exterior. This guarantees an even cook all the way through and is why we always suggest leaving the steak at room temperature for a good hour before cooking.
Defrost in the fridge
The easiest way to defrost steak is to remove it from the freezer, unwrap it and place it on a covered plate or container in the fridge. It will need at least 24 hours to defrost properly and then that essential hour at room temperature before cooking to make sure it is a uniform temperature.
You can leave it in the fridge longer if required but ideally no longer than two days. The longer you leave steak in the fridge, the more it breaks down and loses flavour.
Defrost in water
If your steak has been vacuum packed or is in a sealed package, you can defrost it much faster by immersing it in water. Fill a bowl or other container with cold water and place the steak inside for around an hour. If you’re defrosting multiple steaks, make sure they don’t touch otherwise they insulate each other and remain frozen.
Once defrosted, remove them from the water and allow to come up to room temperature for the hour before cooking.
Defrost in the air
As long as the steak is covered, you can allow it to defrost naturally at room temperature. It will take between 6–10 hours depending on the type and thickness of the steak. Once fully defrosted and up to room temperature, you can cook as normal.
If you defrost at room temperature, be extra careful when cooking. Bacterial growth is much faster so correct cooking is more important than ever.
Always test your steak before cooking. Use a meat thermometer if you have one to ensure the centre is as warm as the exterior. Otherwise, you will fully cook the outside while the centre could still be raw.
Keep meat covered when defrosting and keep away from other raw food. If defrosting in the fridge, place the meat on the bottom shelf and cover with another plate if not packaged.
If you freeze your steak, now you know how to correctly, and safely defrost your meat before cooking. Enjoy!