Defrosting Meat For A Grand Dinner? 3 Tips To Do It Right

While cooking any non-vegetarian dish, the first and foremost task is to defrost meat. Whether you are cooking butter chicken, fish fry, mutton biryani, kebabs, etc., you need tender pieces of meat that can soak in aroma and flavours of spices. If you have frozen meet in the refrigerator, and you want to cook a spicy, creamy, and flavourful meat-based dish, you will need to thaw it. 

Another reason for defrosting is it reduces the time of cooking and ensures that the meat pieces are cooked through and through. If you cook frozen meat, the temperature difference between the outer and middle portions will leave you with pieces that are raw and uncooked in the centre but have an overcooked outer layer. While it seems like the easiest job in the kitchen, defrosting correctly will ensure you have tender pieces of meat to cook without contaminating the kitchen. This little process can help you cook lip-smacking dishes. Here are a few do’s and don’t that you must be careful about.

Thawing In Refrigerator

Instead of leaving the meat out on the kitchen top or counter and contaminating the surroundings, you can defrost it in the refrigerator. However, this needs a lot of planning, probably at least a day in advance. Depending on the type of meat you want to cook, you have to decide when to thaw it.

For example, if you are cooking turkey, weighing 2.2 kg - 2.5 kg, it would need at least 24 hours to thaw. Your boneless chicken or ground meat also requires a similar amount of time to become tender and soft again.

A couple of things that you need to understand about this process is that the refrigerator will keep some parts of the meat colder than others. Set the internal temperature at 4.4°C to speed up the process of thawing. 

Usually, seafood, stew meat, poultry, and ground meat will need a day to get tender. If you are thawing red meat, you will need to thaw it for 3-5 days. If you refroze the meat after thawing it in the refrigerator without cooking it, you should expect a slight degradation in its quality.

Defrosting In Microwave

Many people think that they can quickly defrost the meat in the microwave because high temperatures can speed up the process of thawing. It might seem like an ideal choice, but it is one of the worst ways because when thawing in the oven, you expose the meat to heat.

The top layer will start defrosting sooner than the middle portion. It could even start cooking, and experts suggest that if you hold partially cooked meat, it is highly likely to expose you to bacteria. Thawing in the oven will help attain an ideal temperature for microorganisms to flourish and contaminate the meat, thereby, posing health hazards for you. If you decide to defrost meat in the appliance, you must cook it before refreezing.

Thawing In Cold Water

If you want to defrost meat faster, you can do it using cold water. This process is better but requires more attention. You must pick a leak-proof container or plastic bag to ensure that bacteria do not escape the meat during the defrosting and contaminate the air and environment.

Fill a huge container with cold tap water and immerse the meat-containing bag in it. Change the water every half an hour. If you are defrosting half a kilogram of seafood, meat, or poultry items, it should not take more than an hour to thaw. If the meat weighs between 1.5 kg - 2.5 kg, it might take 2-3 hours to defrost. Once the meat has defrosted, you must immediately cook it.