Learn how to thaw meat quicky, defrost steaks, chicken breasts, fish and other smaller pieces of meat with this simple method. No longer does one have to defrost meat in the fridge overnight. No when you get home from work, you can thaw meat quickly and have it for dinner that night.
The information presented here was first published in the NY Times in a article by our favorite food science writer, Harold McGee.
The science behind how to thaw meat quickly
Liquids transfer heat more efficiently than air, so if you want to change the temperature of an object, putting it in a liquid instead of the fridge will cause the objects temperature to change faster. Putting a frozen steak in the fridge overnight, the steak is surrounded by slightly warmer air, and over time, an equalization of temperature happens.
Putting that same frozen meat in a warmer tray of water, the temperature equalization will happen much faster. The warmer water will cause the meat to warm up, and the water will lose of of its warmth, both the water and steak come to an equilibrium eventually.
For a long time, we’ve been taught that you can run cold water over a piece of frozen meat to thaw it. But this still takes some time and lots of water, despite the water running at a trickle. Now we’ve learned that you can use warm water – I use about 100F water – to defrost meat quickly.
A few rules here:
- One must cook the meat right after defrosting it
- This works only for small pieces of meat- steaks, fillets, breasts, etc.
- The meat must be fully submerged in the water, weigh it down with something heavy.
An alternative to the hot water running over the meat is to fill pot with 125F water, and put the meat in it. Stir the water occasionally, and the meat will defrost. Its important to stir the water. This method saves water too.
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