5

votes

MEAT freezing and thawing concerns

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 04, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Hi all. I have a question: Is it advisable-and why or why not- to purchase frozen meat then : (1) thaw it; (2) cook it; (3) freeze it(in portions for later use); (4) thaw and eat it(with/without heating again). I have an option to acquire bulk meats in a frozen state and, paranoid me, I have been led to believe by various people that this 'process' of mine "f#cks up the meat"...beyond this advice (coming from a butcher) I could obtain no information. Would anyoone find anything wrong with this proceedure of freezing and thawing? Does it alter the molecular state of the meat in some undesriable way(eg.protein quality reduction, etc.).

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 05, 2011
at 03:09 PM

"A good idea"? You think this is a good idea PersonMan. Really? Because I don't believe you.

2cdd1c775683f760390d80cdb984fc13

on April 05, 2011
at 12:41 PM

Got it. A 50 lb block is difficult to work with. I would say partially thaw it, just enough to break it apart, and then portion and re-freeze as quickly as possible. Running it under cold water should help. As lon as the temperature does not exceed 40 degrees F for over 4 hours, there's not much of a food safety risk or a risk to the nutrients. I don't think cooking and re-freezing will cause any issue beyond quality.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Why cook in such quantities? 25 cents/pound of grass fed organ meat thats why. P.S I don't reheat the meat I cook but eat it cold---fine by me, I'm no priss.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 04:39 AM

I will research this, thanks. As to the proceedure I have decided to follow the intuitive practice of one thawing phase.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 04:36 AM

Quality? As in nutritional value? All for me however.No can share...me hungry

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:57 AM

i could, but i don't feel like retyping all of page 146-147 of Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking". ("look inside" on amazon and search for thawing) Basically fat oxidation and rancidity happen at a faster rate for frozen cooked meats, plus thawing then cooking then refreezing is accumulating a number of undesirable processes one on top of another. That and it's gonna taste yucky with a disappointing texture. Hows that for scientific? Yucky? But yes, these reasons do exist on a scientific level and are largely tied into the behavior of ice crystals.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:39 AM

you know what? im wrong about the safety issue. its a quality issue about refreezing. i was remembering from my home made baby food days that it was a big no-no to refreeze, but seems like for normal usage, its saf, just lowers the quality. 50 pounds is a ton of meat, so i see your problem logistically. can you share it with some people? might make it more manageable.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:16 AM

Would you care to provide a reason as to why? I am heavily reliant on mass cooking/readily accessible meat. The individual portion kept frozen from a raw state idea is probably sound given what I've been hearing on here but...why(scientifically not aesthetically/gustatorily?). CAre to explain...?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:14 AM

The meat is grass fed from a reputable source but is sold in 50 lb blocks(frozen if purchased by PEOPLE consumers-otherwise it is MINK food for the mink ranchers livestock). Would you care to provide a reason why it is not safe? I do this prep proceedure with most of the meat I consume so I hope I'm not heading for disaster...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:12 AM

A good idea. The only problem is it is sold in 50 lb blocks and I would have to chizle it into pieces(not that that is a problem really). My issue is prep time: I usaully cook mass quantities at once and then re-freeze which would necessitate my method. SInce there is no damage to the nutrient content it won't pose a problem I hope?

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5 Answers

3
2cdd1c775683f760390d80cdb984fc13

on April 04, 2011
at 11:44 PM

Keeping it frozen while raw would be better for quality than freezing it cooked. While raw, the meat fibers hold more moisture and are less susceptible to ice crystal damage. Since cooking the meat would remove that moisture, freezing after cooking would ruin the texture and, depending on the cut, make the meat very dry or very spongy. You are better off buying some good butcher paper and carefully portioning out the frozen meat and thawing it when you're ready to cook.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:12 AM

A good idea. The only problem is it is sold in 50 lb blocks and I would have to chizle it into pieces(not that that is a problem really). My issue is prep time: I usaully cook mass quantities at once and then re-freeze which would necessitate my method. SInce there is no damage to the nutrient content it won't pose a problem I hope?

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 05, 2011
at 03:09 PM

"A good idea"? You think this is a good idea PersonMan. Really? Because I don't believe you.

2cdd1c775683f760390d80cdb984fc13

on April 05, 2011
at 12:41 PM

Got it. A 50 lb block is difficult to work with. I would say partially thaw it, just enough to break it apart, and then portion and re-freeze as quickly as possible. Running it under cold water should help. As lon as the temperature does not exceed 40 degrees F for over 4 hours, there's not much of a food safety risk or a risk to the nutrients. I don't think cooking and re-freezing will cause any issue beyond quality.

2
C074eec3b3c0325ef3018a128111823a

(1012)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:10 PM

If you're going for industrial-sized quantities, perhaps an industrial-sized tool can help. Could something like a butcher's band-saw be used to portion the frozen block directly?

2
9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:55 AM

How exactly do you even plan to cook a 50 lb piece of meat? I mean they're your tastebuds...if you want to ruin the meat, by all means cook it, freeze it, thaw it out and eat it. As for the science, I suppose there is a small chance you could contaminate the meat with Clostridium spores and then get them growing again once you reheat the meat. It isn't any sort of large probability (well, I don't know about your cooking conditions--if you're cooking a big hunk of meat outdoors, yeah, you're going to get spores). It is mostly just that it is going to taste gross (and thus you're ruining a good piece of meat, a crime in my book, and disrespectful to the animal, but whatever) and why cook in 50 lb batches unless you're cooking for an institution? Just find someone who sells meat in reasonable portions, keep it frozen, and then cook as needed. You're just throwing it back in the freezer anyway. Cook 5 lbs batches for the week or something reasonable like that. Throw it in the fridge (and yeah, you can contaminate that too, but again, small probability). Besides, reheating stuff from the fridge is way easier and faster than reheating frozen stuff.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Why cook in such quantities? 25 cents/pound of grass fed organ meat thats why. P.S I don't reheat the meat I cook but eat it cold---fine by me, I'm no priss.

1
Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:37 AM

it would be ok to thaw very briefly (you don't have to completely thaw to do this), re-portion into smaller portions and then refreeze still raw. do not thaw, cook and then refreeze.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 04:39 AM

I will research this, thanks. As to the proceedure I have decided to follow the intuitive practice of one thawing phase.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:16 AM

Would you care to provide a reason as to why? I am heavily reliant on mass cooking/readily accessible meat. The individual portion kept frozen from a raw state idea is probably sound given what I've been hearing on here but...why(scientifically not aesthetically/gustatorily?). CAre to explain...?

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:57 AM

i could, but i don't feel like retyping all of page 146-147 of Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking". ("look inside" on amazon and search for thawing) Basically fat oxidation and rancidity happen at a faster rate for frozen cooked meats, plus thawing then cooking then refreezing is accumulating a number of undesirable processes one on top of another. That and it's gonna taste yucky with a disappointing texture. Hows that for scientific? Yucky? But yes, these reasons do exist on a scientific level and are largely tied into the behavior of ice crystals.

1
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on April 04, 2011
at 11:47 PM

if im understanding you correctly, you want to thaw, then cook, then refreeze? thats not a great idea. it does f*ck up the meat, and its not safe to refreeze things. once food is thawed, it should be consumed. when i buy a large quantity of meat, its normally packaged how i want it (vacuum sealed) in one pound portions, or in individual cuts and i thaw them as needed.

if im not understanding you and youre asking if you should freeze it raw, or freeze it cooked, then you want to freeze it raw. depending on where you are getting it from, it might be flash frozen and wrapped for you.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 04:36 AM

Quality? As in nutritional value? All for me however.No can share...me hungry

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:39 AM

you know what? im wrong about the safety issue. its a quality issue about refreezing. i was remembering from my home made baby food days that it was a big no-no to refreeze, but seems like for normal usage, its saf, just lowers the quality. 50 pounds is a ton of meat, so i see your problem logistically. can you share it with some people? might make it more manageable.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:14 AM

The meat is grass fed from a reputable source but is sold in 50 lb blocks(frozen if purchased by PEOPLE consumers-otherwise it is MINK food for the mink ranchers livestock). Would you care to provide a reason why it is not safe? I do this prep proceedure with most of the meat I consume so I hope I'm not heading for disaster...

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