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Kitchen Notes: Freezing Meats
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even cooked meat will have bacteria that will grow if given the proper environment. While cooking kills a significant portion of the bacteria, if you were to cook the meat until it was steril, you would not want to eat the meat. So eating cooked meat that has been left out is not the best idea, but it is up to you to risk it (especially if you reheat it sufficently).
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Off of the subject of bacterial contamination (you should try to portion and freeze meat as soon as possible, even overnight in the refrigerator seems to change the texture and flavor of the meat) I have had great luck with a slightly different packaging method. I first wrap the individual serving (usually from a family pack or bulk purchased steak) in plastic wrap. This allows you to see if there is air trapped next to the surface, allowing you to force it out. Then it is tightly wrapped in foil, and labled with contents and date. Finally, multiple pieces are placed in freezer bags, with as much air squeezed out as possible. Keep the pieces in a single layer and lay out on a flat surface in the freezer, to speed up the freezing process. The slower the freezing, the larger the crystals, and the mushier the meat gets. I have never had a piece get freezer burn using this method, even after a year, the meat is still good and tasty (a bit different than fresh, the enzymes are still working on it, albeit at a much slower pace.)

Instead of allowing to thaw in a sink during the day, or let to thaw in the refrigerator, Alton Brown's quick thaw method works within an hour or two. Submerge the ziplock bag in water, weigh it down with something (I have a piece of towing chain from the hardware store that works wonderfully) and place in the sink. Turn the faucet on "dribble." It's wasteful of water, but thaws things quickly, and keeps things fairly cool, avoiding nasty bacterial growths that can really ruin your BBQ.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 10:19 pm    Post subject: Freezing and thawing meats Reply with quote

Jerky is safe to store at room temperature because there is so little water in it that bacteria cannot grow in that medium.

As one poster said, thawing meat on the counter is only asking for trouble. It's true that most people won't be affected by food poisoning, but if you are serving anyone who is very young, elderly, or has a compromised immune system and they get sick, they may die. There's no point in taking such risks.

And spices do not protect enough against bacteria. It's true that some do protect; salt protects because it, again, takes away the available water that bacteria need to grow.

If you get large enough numbers of bacteria growing, they can and do release toxins that will not be destroyed by heat, no matter how long you cook it.
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Joined: 02 Jan 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Timmins, ON

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 5:03 pm    Post subject: Freezing Chicken Breasts Reply with quote

I like freezing chicken breasts in Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing in a freezer bag. It seems to work similar to brining as the meat is very moist and flavourful after cooking.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 4:48 am    Post subject: Thawing in a Teflon pan Reply with quote

Hi all. I got hooked on this site from the chef knife comparison. Great job!! Anyways.....

I got this idea from an infomercial that touted a quick way of thawing frozen steaks "in minutes". It involved buying what looked like a large, square metal skillet and placing the meat on the thing. The solid pieces of frozen meat would miraculously thaw and turn supple (i.e. room temp) in just minutes. You didn't even have to plug this into an electrical socket. Somewhere in the internet I found out that it was just basically a large metal teflon coated pan. So I wanted to test this.

I took a solid, frozen steak and placed it on a large teflon skillet on my range with no heat. I was amazed to find that the meat actually thawed very quickly to refrigderator tempurature in just 15 minutes or so. It has been a while since I took physics but I think it has to do with the skillet acting like a heat (or in this case, cold) sink and dissapating the cold in a larger surface area, and drawing out the cold (or infusing the warmth) more efficiently.

I have used this techique ever since without failure except when the frozen meat is shaped in a way where only a mimimal amount of it is in physical contact with the skillet thus decreasing the amount of potential temperature exchange.

I honestly think this is the best way to defrost frozen meat. I HATE using the microwave. It ends up being a balancing act of frozen, cooked, and rubberized meat.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 8:35 pm    Post subject: upright freezers can be good too ;> Reply with quote

"On a lighter note, the main reason to get a chest-style "deep freezer" is because you can store food safely for longer periods. That's because it won't undergo the freeze-thaw cycles which frost-free, in-fridge freezers use (as often as every six hours) to avoid frost build-up. Technology geeks can see more detail at How Stuff Works and Appliance411. "

Confusing self defrosting and the style of freezer is just a mistake. Sears and various other vendors have upright freezers which are not frost free. 20ft^3 or so.I find it's a lot easier to find what I want quickly in an upright.

A useful adjunct is a medical grade temp sensor with alarm. <> for example. More flexible than the built in temp alarm of many modern units.s. In retrospect, I should have sprung for the gycol probe to prevent false positives from short openings.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:57 am    Post subject: Freezing/defrosting/safety of chicken, turkey etc Reply with quote

Shock I'm slight concerned over the apparent.... ignorance, is that the right word? (seems a little strong) displayed here re: the differing risks that can be faced in the handling of different meats.

Of course appropriate safety and hygiene has to be practiced with all meats (and foods), but some are more dangerous than others, both because of certain biological factors, and because of how they are handled and processed before they get to you.

For whatever reason, the more commonly 'hung' meats, such as beef and lamb, are typically less sensitive and dangerous when it comes to what you do with them. You can make jerky just by drying, salting and seasoning, safely eat a medium-rare steak, etc.
But have you ever had a 'rare' chicken breast, or turkey jerkey? (or pork, for that matter...) --- No. These are somewhat more pathogen-ridden/sensitive meats, and require more careful handling and more thorough cooking to destroy the more numerous and/or potentially dangerous microbes that reside within.

Because of this, and having learnt my lesson the painful way in the past when pushing things a little beyond their safe consumation date, I wouldn't touch much of that 'softening' turkey unless it had been immediately well-cooked, nor the chicken breasts left in the sink, regardless of marinading or spicing, unless the sink was guaranteeably out of direct sunlight (mine isn't; it faces west-southwest) and the defrosting time was fairly well-established to take about a working day. Preferably I would take it from the freezer first thing and put it in the fridge, where it would be mostly defrosted by the end of the day, with maybe a half hour max in a room temperature environment during any preparation followed by a thorough cooking which would heat all parts of it through to a safe temperature ---- with the gastronomic 'quality' of the output (subject to overcooking, overly rapid 2nd stage defrosting, freezer burn or what have you) being a distant second to the more pressing concern of it not Killing Me Dead after eating.

Seriously. You don't mess with poultry. Beef & lamb keep quite well, if it's either whole or a carefully butchered slice (ground, as in mince or hamburger, is not so good - as mentioned, in these cases the bacteria is only on the 'outside' of the cut and so is a small amount easily destroyed by cooking, particularly of a 'searing' type).... non-game birds, less so. I don't know the reason why. Only that it is so, and i've paid the gastrointestinal price at least once before for going against my knowledge and instincts because I was too stingy and lazy to throw a borderline piece away and make/go buy something else for lunch.

Another thing that surprises me, as a european, is the common advice to get a 'real' freezer.... are these things not widespread in the USA (where i'm assuming, from internets experience, most posters are from), then? I don't think I know anyone without either two seperate appliances, or an integrated one which incorporates two separate, dedicated & sealed boxes (one 4'C/40'F, the other -18'C/0'F), rather than the cheaper, usually workplace-only "fridge with an internal icebox" device...


PS your captcha is EVIL Smile please make it a little more obvious that it doesn't work the usual way, as I skipped STRAIGHT over what I assumed was the usual boilerplate text and couldn't figure out what was wrong til about the third try when I started reading things in more detail. A bit of larger font size or red colouration would go a long way...
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:49 pm    Post subject: Cooking it Reply with quote

Since the chicken has probably finished thawing long before it's cooked, it better be cooked extremely thoroughly to ensure that all the potential samonella colonies have been completely destroyed. I wouldn't recommend one this thawing method - bring it down to fridge a day or two earlier.

You can kill the bacteria, but you do NOT kill the toxins. You can cook it for 3 days and the toxins will still get you.
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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1242
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>You can kill the bacteria, but you do NOT kill the toxins. You can cook it for 3 days and the toxins will still get you.

need a bit more specifics on these "toxins" - botulism is the usual culprit with regard to toxins - it's not the botulism spores that are a problem - but rather the toxins they produce when they get the right conditions to multiply.

and, the botulism toxin is destroyed by less than boiling temps - so I'm baffled by the reference.

since you're responding to a post from Jan of 2008, not sure of the rest.
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Chef James

PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:14 pm    Post subject: Freezing Meats Reply with quote

Laughing Out Loud I am a chef and I agree with Mr. Chu, although we are mandated safe food practises in all levels of food, by the government. I freeze plenty of foodsl, not just meat, and my family and I just absolutely enjoy everymeal everytime when it is defrosted from the deep freeze. If you have doubts simply use your own time line, practise makes perfect.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:13 am    Post subject: Turkey kababs Reply with quote

It is safe to freeze uncooked minced turkey once I've added ingredients such as onions, spice, cilantro and mint? Or is it better to fully cook the kabobs and then freeze them?
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tomtigue - CSE, retired

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:04 pm    Post subject: Freezing turkey & stuffing Reply with quote

I'll take our turkey out of the deep freeze about 3-4 days before roasting...keep it in the reefer.... on day of the big dinner I'll make the stuffing & bake it in a separate casserole with enough turkey tails to cover the stuffing (dressing) ....turkey fat drips down and it tastes the same as in- the- bird stuffing.
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Colin Q. Bang

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:44 pm    Post subject: question about article's method for preventing freezer burn Reply with quote

Do I understand correctly that freezer burn will gradually (~ months) occur in the presence of even only a small amount of air, such as will be trapped inside a plastic freezer bag?
If not, the article's time-consuming step of sealing(NOTE 1) in aluminum foil before storing in a freezer bag is superfluous, but then the statement "...vacuum sealing, wrapping in heavy-duty aluminum foil, or using a plastic freezer bag." would make sense.

OTOH if so, will the limited amount of air have a practical effect on the rate of "burn" or maximum amount of burn (i.e. sublimation ceasing when the trapped air reaches 100% relative humidity)?

Using foil to create an air-tight seal seems also error prone or of questionable effectiveness, in my experience from using foil even over things that are smoother, sharper, & harder than raw meat and thus presumably easier to seal)
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Cheff Wannabee

Joined: 06 Feb 2013
Posts: 11
Location: Elsie, Mi.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:00 am    Post subject: Foil Reply with quote

In regards to wrapping meat in foil, are there any acidic or other components that can cause a reaction to the foil like tomato based products can? I know it is not recommended to cook tomato based foods in an aluminum vessels because some of the aluminum goes into the food and thus into our bodies. Just looking to cover all bases. Like the Science Channel says, I question everything! Thanks in advance.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

first, as you wish to question everything, you should research the role of aluminum regards human health.

the "rumor" got started in the 50's by a UK doctor. since then the danger of aluminum, especially with regard to the Alzheimer / dementia issue, has been disproved by many many authoritative health agencies. now, understand, according to the aluminum freakoos, all these "entities" are in a great conspiracy . . .

next, "freezer burn" is a not a burn but - as you point out - "dessication" of meat tissue. water in the frozen meat sublimes into the air of the freezer.

one solution: a moisture barrier - that being something that water vapor aka moisture cannot penetrate.

there are two "perfect moisture" barriers in common usage:
aluminum foil is a metal - it is a perfect moisture barrier. plastics are not.

I only 'temporarily' freeze meats - wrapped in heavy duty foil - for the 2 - 4 month time frame, never an issue.
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