The Best Way to Freeze (And Thaw) Meat So it won’t Get Freezer Burn

My freezer is definitely chuck full of different kinds of meat at any given time—fish fillets, chicken tenders, ground beef, and sausage patties. This is really helpful when I can buy meats in bulk when they are on sale and I don’t have to use them immediately within a few days.

Recently I pulled out a package of frozen ground beef to make tacos and I noticed a little label on the package that said, “For best results, take meat out of original package and wrap tightly in either freezer paper or tin foil.” I’ve got to be honest, I must have missed the memo on this one because I had never really thought too hard that I was doing anything wrong or less effective when I was freezing my meats. I usually just kept them in their little packages with the foam bottom covered in plastic wrap.

I definitely do see some freezer burn and would love to find a way to freeze things most effectively so this doesn’t happen and my meats can stay fresh as long as possible.

Thank goodness for Google because instead of having to do a trial and error kind of thing by myself to find the most effective way, I researched plenty of resources and have found a great way (so far) to freeze meats for maximum freshness.

Best Way to Freeze Meat

When packaging meats for the freezer, the most important thing is to protect them from exposure to air. Wrap meats very tightly in either plastic wrap or freezer paper, pressing the wrapping right up against the surface of the meat. Next, wrap another layer of aluminum foil around the meat or seal it inside a zip-top freezer bag.

Packaged like this, meat can be kept frozen for at least three months. After this time, even well-wrapped meats can start to develop freezer burn.

Best Way to Thaw Meat

The best and safest way to thaw meat is to place the frozen package in the refrigerator and let it thaw gradually. Small cuts will thaw this way in about 24-hours while larger cuts can take a few days. If you're rushed for time, small cuts can also be thawed in a bowl of lukewarm water under running water.

Two things not to do are thaw frozen meats on the counter or cook them straight from the freezer. Thawing on the counter is a safety risk since the outside of the meat will thaw — and start harboring harmful bacterias — long before the middle is usually thawed. Cooking frozen meat presents more of an aesthetic problem: the outer parts and the inner parts of the meat will cook at such different rates that the outside overcooks before the middle is done.

What tips or tricks do you have for freezing or thawing meats? Share your wisdom below :)


    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author!

blog comments powered by Disqus