How to handle your meat.

You have selected that premium and flavor loaded cut of Funguy Farms meat. A nice thick and juicy forest-raised pork chop or maybe one of our whole uncut pasture-raised chickens. You get home and it’s time to thaw and prepare your meat. What do you do? How do you thaw it? At our farm, after safely thawing our meat in the refrigerator (our preferred method) we open the vacuum sealed package and let the meat rest at room temp for a minimum of one hour but no more than two hours before cooking.

There are three safe ways to thaw meat: the refrigerator, cold water, and microwave.

The big thaw.

Frozen meat should never be thawed at room temperature. When you prepare to cook your meat, you may not realize that as the meat thaws it reaches the danger zone of 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F and the bacteria that may be present on the meat before freezing begins to multiply.

The best way to thaw meat is in the refrigerator.

Thawing meat in the refrigerator requires the most planning ahead of time but it is the safest method. Your refrigerator maintains a constant temperature and therefore so does your meat. When you meal plan make note that bone-in cuts can take 24 hours to thaw for every 5 pounds. Boneless cuts will take around a day to thaw in the refrigerator. Be sure to leave your meat in the vacuum pouch and place it in a leak-proof bag or container in case there are small holes in the vacuum pouch.  After thawing in the fridge, items such ground meat, poultry, seafood, should remain safe for consumption for 1-2 days prior to cooking. Red meat; beef, pork, or lamb roasts, chops, and steak last 3-5 days in the refrigerator prior to cooking.

Food thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking but can lead to loss of quality.

Cold water bath

This method is faster than the refrigerator and if you are in a hurry this is the second fastest. The meat should be placed in a leak-proof bag as to not come in contact with surrounding environments where bacteria can be introduced. Also, the meat tissue may absorb water, degrading the quality of the product. The bag should be submerged in cold tap water with water changes every 30 minutes. Small 1 lb packages of meat will thaw in about an hour where larger bone-in cuts could take 2-3 hours. Whole birds can take up to 30 min per pound. Meat thawed utilizing the water bath method should be cooked before refreezing.

Microwave thawing

When thawing in a microwave you should plan to cook immediately after thawing. Microwaving can create hot spots and even begin to cook the meat thus, creating the perfect temperature for bacteria to start growing. Meat thawed in the microwave should be cooked before refreezing. 

Cooking without thawing

You are in a hurry and want to cook meat quickly. Then cook it directly from its frozen state. The cooking time will take approximately 50% longer and could lead to a tough and chewy final product. To get the most flavor out of your meat stick to the fridge thaw or water bath methods. We don’t recommend the microwave. 

Make the most of your meat

There you have it. The safest thawing guidelines to get the best results from your FunGuy Farms meat. Please check out the recipes “Queen Bee” is cooking up for ideas on what to do after that meat is thawed.

Disclaimer: Always cook meat to recommended food safe temperature per the USDA guidelines. For more information on cooking meat and the recommended safe consumption temperatures please go to the USDA’s website. Or click here for more detailed information in regards to thawing meat.

And always remember, “ If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat”

(Rachael doesn’t get this reference.)

Kenny Baker- Fun Guy