How long can one let frozen beef/pork/chicken thaw in the fridge?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jay H, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Lets say I have frozen beef/pork/chicken and need to thaw it out, how long can one safely leave it in a refridgerator to thaw? I am not at my home during the week but go home fridays and dinner fridays are hard because everything is basically frozen and I would have to microwave things to defrost which I rather not do. But, I could conceivable toss frozen meat in the fridge to have when I return. This precludes me having to either do 1)take out or make some other kind of fast food type dinner...
    If I could leave the meat to defrost in the fridge over lets say 2.5 days, that would be great but wondering if it is safe. (I know not to refreeze thawed out meat, at least that's what I was always taught)

    Jay
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    It really depends on the state of the meat when it was frozen. If you bought it frozen, or froze it right away, then 2.5 days would be fine for anything except fish. But if you kept it in the fridge for a week and then froze it, it may be a little funky after a couple days.
     
  3. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Usually, when I buy meat, it would be on sale and then cut up at home into individual portions (like say for london broil beef) and then immediately frozen. Then if I was at home, I'd take one one serving and thaw it out and use it the same day. But with me being away, I'd like to be able to say remove a serving monday morning, put in refridgerator from the freezer and then used Wednesday evening when I go home for the night. The thing is, when I buy the beef, it's not frozen but in the beef section of the grocery store, which I presume was frozen at some time and frozen when I get it home..

    Jay
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I imagine it would be fine on Wednesday if you thaw it on Monday, as long as you froze it right from the market.

    And by the way, meat sold in the supermarket that is not labled "prevously frozen" comes in fresh. It's against the law to sell prevously frozen meats as fresh, because freezing things twice is hazardous. The reason for the hazard is that compared with unfrozen meat, which has bacteria mostly confined to the surface, the crystals that form in frozen meat tend to break down cell walls, leaving microscopic canals that allow bacteria into the interior of the meat, which is a more optimum breeding ground.
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    When I've had jobs that involved crazy hours and/or travel, and found it best to buy meat/chicken/etc on sale in bulk and freeze it. I found a couple of techniques to deal with these issues:

    I would often do my shopping on Saturday, then marinate the meat and brine the poultry starting when I got home. Then I'd cook the stuff that needed the shortest "soaks". Cooked meet can keep longer than raw, and it saves a lot of time on the back end. The rest would spend the night in the fridge (bottom shelf, double containers to avoid contamination) and be cooked on Sunday.

    Good steaks would be grilled, cheaper cuts braised, ground meat ("Market Ground Beef" at my store, which is a blend of the trimmings from the days trims - chuck, sirloin, prime rib, you name it. Tastier and often cheaper than ground chuck or generic "ground beef") gets formed into patties and grilled. Even if I later decided to use it as an ingredient, as for tacos or in a sauce, I could just lightly nuke a few and break them up with a fork or in the chopper.

    Chicken gets roasted. For bone-in pieces I'd let them, peel the meat off, then freeze the bones for use in stock later. I dont' do a lot of pork, but when I do it gets brined before I do whatever else I do with it.

    All of would then be frozen. Until it broke, I used a vacuum sealer to make up individual packs. Later I would use plastic wrap, lightly sprayed with cooking spray, to wrap the meat, then seal it all up in foil.

    As for being reluctant to defrost in the microwave - I never found it to be a problem. My microwave has defrost settings for various things that seem to work well. (Power level changes at it runs, so it there's time for the heat to diffuse through the meat and the outside doesn't cook while the center remains frozen.) You can get much the same effect by simply setting the power level manually to a lower level and running it for a short time. I used to partially defrost food and then finish it on the grill or in the oven. That also avoided the mushy, rubber chicken effect.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  6. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I would not eat meat left to thaw in the fridge for 5 days under any circumstances. I've done 2 days with chicken, (planning on cooking the first day and got lazy), and that was already dicey.

    --
    H
     
  7. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Longest anything will be in the fridge would be from Monday morning to wednesday evening...

    Thanks everybody!

    Jay
     
  8. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I think you're fine. If it's cooked properly, I don't think you need to worry too much. I've moved things from the freezer to fridge and left them for 3-4 days with no issues.
     
  9. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    My impression from the original post was that Jay was talking about UNcooked meat - hence the emphasis in my post about prepping and cooking the meat before freezing.

    Regards,

    Joe
     

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