Can you cook frozen meat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you cook frozen meat” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can cook frozen meat. Moreover, we are going to discuss the proper way to freeze and thaw the meat.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you cook frozen meat?

Yes, you can cook frozen meat but it takes about 50% more cooking time to thoroughly cook frozen meat as compared to the fresh meat or the one that has been thawed first. The particular method that you want to use to cook your meat depends upon your personal preference as you can bbq, grill, fry, roast or bake your frozen meat.

However, it cannot be frozen meat for 2 years.

To properly cook the frozen meat, you should start cooking it at a low temperature and increase the temperature gradually (but make sure that the temperature won’t be lower than 350 degrees Fahrenheit for safety concerns). 

It is worth mentioning that the time it takes to cook meat depends upon several factors like the type of meat (beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, etc.), the quantity of meat, whether it was frozen or not, the internal temperature to which meat is cooked, the way you are going to cook it (roast in the oven, boil in a saucepan or fry in the pan), the storage conditions in which the meat was kept, slaughter age, the time for which the meat has been stored, humidity and temperature. 

One thing to keep in mind is that you should cook the meat thoroughly till its internal temperature reaches about 155 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (depending upon the particular type of meat). Moreover, when it comes to whole poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.) or large cuts of meat, it is better to thaw them beforehand to ensure even cooking.

Can you use a slow cooker to cook frozen meat?

It is not recommended to cook frozen meat in a slow cooker or crockpot. The reason behind this is that cooking frozen meat in the slow cooker results in it spending too much time at a temperature at which the bacterial growth takes place at a faster rate. 

The slow cooker takes several hours to reach the temperature that is necessary to kill the bacteria and ensure the safety of meat and we know that bacteria grow at a faster pace at 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, the potential for the frozen meat to stay in this danger zone is too long in case it is cooked in a slow cooker, and staying in the danger zone for too long can allow bacteria like Salmonella to thrive on the meat.

Therefore it is not recommended to cook frozen meat in the slow cooker. On the other hand, if the meat has been thawed beforehand, then you can cook it in the slow cooker easily.

The proper way to freeze meat

You can easily store the meat by wrapping it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and afterward putting it in the plastic freezer bag or heavy-duty freezer container before storing it in the freezer to protect your meat from freezer burns. 

Moreover, to preserve the quality of the meat for quite a long time you can opt for vacuum sealing it which is quite effective in prolonging its shelf life.

Vacuum sealing involves the process of putting the meat in a plastic zipper bag, removing air from it, and almost sealing the bag with a little space left while lowering it into water. Afterward, press out the bubbles from the bag starting from the bottom of the bag and once you reach the sealed end, you should press the seal closed. 

The reason behind doing vacuum sealing is to ensure that there is minimum air present in the plastic zipper bag with the meat. As air has moisture and oxygen in it that favors bacterial growth, so by removing air, meat can retain its freshness for a long time.

It is a good practice to divide the meat into portions or serving sizes that you generally need. By doing so you will be able to just thaw the quantity of meat that you need while the rest of the meat can stay in the freezer untouched. Thus keeping the meat in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the meat.

The proper way to thaw meat

When it comes to thawing the meat, there are a couple of ways to do so and you can choose any of them depending upon your choice.

  1. The recommended way to thaw the frozen meat is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight and let it thaw there. 
  1. You can thaw the frozen meat in a bowl of cold water but you should cook it immediately after thawing. 
  1. If you are thawing the meat in the oven or microwave it is recommended to cook it immediately. 

The reason behind cooking the meat immediately after thawing it in a cold water bowl or microwave is that when you warm meat using these methods, the temperature at the surface of the meat gets higher than that of 40 degrees Fahrenheit before the core temperature can become 40 degrees Fahrenheit and it can thaw completely and that’s when the bacteria can start to grow on the surface rapidly.

Therefore it is advised to cook such thawed meat immediately until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it is only by cooking the meat properly that we can get rid of the bacteria completely.

You can read whether meat is good or bad for you here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you cook frozen meat” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can cook frozen meat. Moreover, we discussed the proper way to freeze and thaw meat.

Citations

https://www.organicprairie.com/thawing#:~:text=Yes!,or%20fresh%20meat%20and%20poultry.
https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/preparation/cooking-frozen-meat
https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Can-you-grill-frozen-meat-or-poultry
https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Can-you-cook-meat-or-poultry-from-the-frozen-state

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.