As most experienced grillers have experienced, fresh meat is a lot better than meat that has been thawed. There are a lot of juices that are lost when the meat is thawed, and that is part of what helps to keep the meat so tender.
You want to thaw your meat, but you don’t want to encourage bacteria to grow. This is between the temperatures of 41°F to 135°F. You can slowly thaw the meat in the fridge, but if you want to do it quickly then you will want to have it in a water bath. And here is a secret- you CAN thaw in hot water!
Here are some safe methods of making sure you are safely thawing your meat:
- Thawing in the refrigerator: This is the easiest way to thaw meat. Leave it in the fridge in its packaging. It might be a good idea to put it in a pan that will catch any drips. For every four pounds, allow for a day of thawing.
- Cold water baths: you can either fill the sink or a pot large enough to hold the meat and cold water. The meat should be kept in a water tight plastic zip bag, making sure the air is out of the bag. Leave it in the cold water. If necessary, put a plate on top of it to keep it submerged. Change out the water every 30 minutes. Allow for 30 minutes per pound.
- Extreme cold water baths: This method will give you the least amount of purged fluids which would otherwise be good for tenderness. Put the meat in an airless zip bag and put it in an insulated cooler. Cover with cold water. After an hour add a quart of ice as needed, possibly every hour, in order to keep the temperature under 40°F.
- Hot water bath: This is only for thin cuts, however, it has been proven than if you can thaw a 1” thick steak at 102°F in water within 11 minutes, you quickly pass through the zone that bacteria is able to grow, and you do it in a way that doesn’t give them time to grow. Remove the meat as soon as it is thawed. Your thawing times will vary based on how thick the meat is.
If you follow these guides then you should still be able to enjoy juicy meat that doesn’t have any bacteria in it.