Defrosting Meats Quickly and Safely

Categories: Grilling Tips2.2 min read

Defrost Meats Quickly and Safely

You need to grill up something quickly but the idea of foodborne illness does not help your appetite. A slow thaw in your refrigerator is the ideal way to defrost steaks but there are times that just does not fit into your schedule. Here are some ways to defrost the safe way.


How to Defrost Steaks, Roasts, and Burgers


Do not thaw meats on the countertop. Bacteria thrive at room temperature.


  • Defrost steak, burgers and ground beef in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours
  • Defrost roasts in your refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, depending on size.


  • Cold Water Defrosting. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Submerge the meat, in its packaging or in a plastic bag, in the water. Change the water periodically. Your meat should be ready to grill in about 45 minutes to 2 hours.
    Defrosting in warm water may be faster but will create an environment that is perfect or bacteria.
  • Microwave. While not our favorite method this is often the fastest way to defrost meat. Follow your microwave defrosting instructions. Watch carefully so as to only defrost the meat and not cook it!


How to Defrost Chicken


  • Do not thaw chicken on your kitchen counter. Bacteria thrive at room temperature
  • Do not rinse chicken under running water. This can splash bacteria around your kitchen, leading to cross-contamination


Thaw your chicken in the refrigerator. This method requires the most preparation but it’s the most highly recommended. Chicken typically takes 24 hours to thaw so you will need to plan your meals in advance. Once thawed, poultry can remain the refrigerator for a day or two before grilling.


  • Cold Water Defrosting. Place the chicken in a leakproof plastic bag. This will stop the water from damaging the meat tissue as well as keeping any bacteria from the infecting the food. Submerge the bag in a large bowl of cold water. Change out the water every 30 minutes. Your chicken should be fully thawed in 1 to 2 hours.
  • Microwave. This is the fastest method but also requires that you grill your chicken immediate after thawing. Microwaves heat poultry to a temperature between 40 and 140˚F which is ideal for bacteria to thrive. Only cooking the chicken to the proper temperatures will kill the potentially dangerous bacteria.

Once your meat/chicken is thawed all you need is your grill and a great recipe.

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