Properly Thawing Beef

Refrigerator Method – (Recommended)

Frozen meats should always be defrosted in the refrigerator. When defrosted at room temperature, it is possible for harmful bacteria to grow. Be sure to prepare your meals ahead of time. A large cut of beef could take up to 2 days to defrost in the refrigerator. When defrosting, the meat should be placed on a plate or dish to catch any juices that may drip. It should be stored on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator to prevent any juices from dripping on other foods or shelves.


Microwave Method – (Not Recommended)

Though not recommended, the microwave defrosting method can be used if done properly. Defrosting the meat evenly is the key when using the microwave method. Some microwave ovens may not defrost the meat evenly which can cause harmful bacteria to grow rapidly in the thawed areas, while leaving other areas still frozen.

Defrosting large cuts of meat in the microwave can be dangerous. Smaller cuts of meat or small slices of beef are safer to defrost using this method.

Never use a normal cooking setting to defrost meat in the microwave. After microwave defrosting, meats should be cooked immediately.

Defrosting Chart


Type of Meat Defrost Time
Steak (one inch thick) 12 hours
Steak (thicker than one inch) Up to 24 hours
Pot Roast (thin) 3 to 5 hours per pound
Pot Roast (thick) 4 to 7 hours per pound
Oven Roast (small) Up to 5 hours per pound
Oven Roast (large) Up to 7 hours per pound
Ground Beef (half inch thick patties) 12 hours
Ground Beef (one pound bulk) 24 hours

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