Get the best quality and taste out of your steak by mastering the art of defrosting. We've got you covered with these tips and tricks!

Steak is one of the most delicious and easy meals out there. However, when you buy your meat in bulk, you might find it difficult to thaw it in time for cooking. But worry not, because we've got you covered with this guide on how to defrost steak.

Here's what you'll learn:

  1. Best practices for defrosting steak
  2. Supplies you will need
  3. Three different methods for defrosting steak
  4. Tips for cooking frozen steak
  5. How to tell if a steak is still safe to eat

Best Practices for Defrosting Steak

Defrosting steak the right way is crucial if you want to avoid a less-than-ideal final product. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you learn how to thaw steak:

  • The type of meat will affect how long it takes to defrost. Thick cuts of steak will take longer to defrost than thin cuts.
  • You should never defrost steak at room temperature. It can lead to bacterial growth and make the meat unsafe to eat.
  • There are three safe methods for defrosting meat or steak: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.

It is okay to cook steak while it is still partially frozen. It is sometimes preferable as it can help prevent the meat from overcooking on the outside while the inside remains frozen. However, you will need to use a lower cooking temperature and cook for a longer period if you choose to do this.

Supplies You'll Need for Defrosting Steak

Before you can defrost your steak, you'll need to make sure you have the supplies on hand.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Cutting board and a sharp knife: If you’re defrosting a thick cut of steak, you may need to cut it into smaller pieces to help it defrost more evenly.
  • Resealable plastic bag: If you’re defrosting your steak in the fridge, it can be helpful to place it in a resealable plastic bag to prevent any cross-contamination.
  • Cold water: If you’re defrosting your steak in cold water, you’ll need a large bowl or pot of water. Keep in mind that you’ll need to change the water in the bowl a few times during the process.
  • Microwave-safe plate: If you’re using the microwave to defrost your steak, you'll need a safe plate to use in the microwave.
  • Fridge space: To defrost your steak in the fridge, you’ll need a place in your fridge that is large enough to accommodate the steak. This is usually on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

Three Different Methods for Defrosting Steak

There are various ways to defrost steak, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The three most common methods are:

  1. In the fridge
  2. Using cold water
  3. In the microwave

Now let's go through each method in detail.

Method 1: Defrost In the Fridge

Defrosting steak in the refrigerator is the best way to defrost steak if you have the time. It’s a slow process, but it’s effective and safe.

The USDA recommends that you allow about 24 hours for every five pounds of meat. So, if you’re defrosting a one-pound steak, it will take about four to five hours to thaw.

To defrost your steak in the fridge, follow these steps:

  1. Place the steak on a plate or cutting board and put it in the fridge.
  2. Allow the steak to defrost for a few hours, or overnight if possible.
  3. Once the steak is thawed, cook it immediately. If the steak is not thawing evenly, you can turn it over or rearrange it on the plate.

Method 2: Defrosting Steak in Cold Water

Cold water is the next best option if you’re short on time. It’s faster than defrosting in the fridge, but it still takes a while.

According to The American Meat Science Association, bacteria in meat start to grow at temperatures above 40 °F (4,4 °C). So, if you’re using hot water to defrost your steak, you’re at risk of bacteria growth.

To defrost your steak in cold water, follow these steps:

  1. Place the steak in a resealable plastic bag and seal it tightly.
  2. Place the bag of steak in a large bowl or pot of cold water.
  3. Change the water every 30 minutes to make sure it stays cold.
  4. When you see the steak starting to thaw, remove it from the water and cook it immediately.

Method 3: Defrosting Meat in the Microwave

If you want to defrost your steak quickly, the microwave will work. Keep in mind, however, that microwaving it for too long can cause it to start the cooking process or make it dry and tough. It’s also important to note that you should only use this method if you’re going to cook the steak immediately afterward.

To defrost your steak in the microwave, follow these steps:

  1. Place the steak on a microwave-safe plate and put it in the microwave.
  2. Set the microwave to defrost mode and defrost for about 1 minute.
  3. Check the steak and flip it.
  4. Continue to defrost in the microwave, flipping it every 30 seconds until the steak is thawed. Be careful not to fully cook it during this process.
  5. Cook the steak immediately after it’s thawed.

Tips for Cooking Frozen Steak

Cooking frozen steak requires a bit of extra attention, but it is still possible to get delicious results.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Always thaw steak before cooking it if possible.
  • If you don’t have time to thaw the steak, you can cook it while it's still partially frozen. Just use a lower temperature and cook for a longer time.
  • If you're cooking frozen steak on the grill, add 50% to your normal cooking time.
  • Avoid using hot water to defrost your steak, as it can cause bacterial growth and make the meat unsafe to eat.

How to Tell if a Steak is Still Safe to Eat

It is crucial to make sure your steak is still safe to eat before you start cooking it. Here's what to look for:

1. Color

If the steak is a deep red color, it’s probably still fresh. However, if the steak is starting to turn brown or gray, it’s probably gone bad.

2. Texture

Fresh steak should be firm to the touch. Slimy or mushy steak is a sign that you should throw it out.

3. Smell

Fresh steak should have a slightly sweet smell. If the steak smells sour or ammonia-like, it’s probably gone bad and should be thrown out.