I’ve been on a carnivore diet for more than a decade, and most of the time, I buy meat in bulk. But, one of the issues I have is how to freeze steaks.
I’ve been trying different methods of freezing meat for years, so today, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to freeze steak. I’ll also explain how to defrost meat and how long steak can stay frozen.
Summary of the Key Findings
- Steaks can be frozen and still maintain their quality and flavor
- You should follow certain steps to properly freeze steak
- There are several ways to defrost steaks, depending on how much time you have
- Once the steak has been defrosted, it can’t be frozen again
How to Freeze Steak
Here’s how to freeze raw steak step-by-step:
- Wrap — You should wrap the steak in two layers to preserve it from the freezer environment. Use plastic wrap for the first layer and wrap the meat tightly. Make sure there’s no way for air to reach the steak, or you risk the steak developing freezer burn.
- Package — It’s time for the second wrap. Alternatively, you can use a bag such as a freezer bag or freezer paper. Or, just use the second layer of plastic wrap. This gives frozen meat an extra layer of protection.
- Press — If you put the steak into a freezer bag, press out the air. You want to ensure there’s no air inside before you seal the steak.
- Label — Freezing meat will keep the steak in the condition it was in before you placed it in the freezer. You should label it so it’s easy to find when you want to defrost, especially if you plan to keep it frozen for a long time. Many bags come with an area where you can label flank steak, cooked beef, cooked steak, skirt steak, and more.
Note: You can freeze cooked steak the same way as freezing raw steak. However, the storage time for cooked steak is much shorter — about three months, because of flavor taint . Flavors of cooked frozen steak can oxidize in the freezer after some time, so you shouldn't keep frozen steak in the freezer for too long.
Tips for Freezing Steak
Here’s what to keep in mind when freezing steaks:
- Use a vacuum sealer — This will especially come in handy if you freeze a lot of steaks or have many individual cuts. A vacuum sealer mechanically removes air from freezer bags, so you can avoid freezer burn. Plus, it makes the freezing process easier for you.
- Store steaks properly — Lay the steaks flat in the freezer. This will make sure the steak is in its original form when it’s time to thaw steak. It won’t be bent or lopsided.
- Freeze the steak rapidly — If you slowly freeze the steak, the water inside will turn to ice crystals, which can rupture the muscle cell structure, which results in less moisture in the thawed steak. It’s crucial to freeze the steak properly and at a temperature below zero, so there are smaller ice crystals and you don’t end up with a mushy steak texture.
Ways to Defrost Steak
You can defrost steak in several ways:
- In the fridge — Put the steak in a fridge for 24 hours, so it gradually defrosts. Make sure to place it on a plate to avoid dripping.
- In cold water — If you can’t wait a day for the steak to thaw, place it in a large bowl with cold water. There’s no need to unwrap the steak, you can leave it wrapped or in a zip-top bag. The steak will need six to ten hours to defrost completely.
- In the microwave — Microwaving is the fastest way to thaw steaks, but it can leave the steak tough and dry out a juicy steak. Place the steak in the microwave until it thaws, and make sure to keep an eye on it.
How Long Can Steak Stay Frozen?
How long the steak can stay frozen depends on its cut and size. But, if you properly wrap the steak or keep it in an airtight container, it can stay frozen for at least six months to more than a year.
“Storage for a long period of time is not dangerous, but flavors and textures can deteriorate. For this reason, date packages before you put them in the freezer.”
- The University of Illinois, Meat Safety for the Consumer
Here’s a guide on storing food in the freezer:
- Raw steak — 6 to 12 months
- Cooked steak — 3 months
- Marinated steak — 3 months
Tightly wrapping the steak or placing it in a zip-top bag to prevent air from reaching the meat can make it last forever . However, the flavor won’t be the same after 12 months. For best taste, you should use properly stored steak for six months. This will also prevent freezer burn.
Note: Once you thaw meat, you can’t defrost it. If it’s raw, your best bet is to cook it and then freeze it again.
Does Freezing Steak Ruin It?
No, freezing steak doesn’t ruin it, as long as you freeze steak correctly and timely use it.
Can You Freeze the Steak in the Package?
Yes, you can freeze the steak in the package, such as supermarket wrapping, as long as this package doesn’t let in the air when the steak freezes. However, if you plan to keep the steak frozen for long, it’s better to freeze steaks in freezer bags and press to remove as much air as possible.
Does Freezing Steaks Change the Taste?
No, freezing steaks doesn’t change the taste, as long as the steak is wrapped in aluminum foil or placed in a freezer bag. You should also make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag.
How Should You Freeze Steak?
The most important thing when freezing meat is to wrap steak tightly. You want to make sure the air can’t reach the meat. Otherwise, large meat crystals will form and turn the steak into mush.
Also, keep track of how long your steak has been frozen. Different steaks can stay frozen for different amounts of time, so you should thaw and use the steak on time.
The best proof that steaks can be frozen and maintain high quality is ButcherBox. Their meat is shipped and reaches your home still frozen, packed in vacuum-sealed bags with plenty of dry ice. Check out our ButcherBox review, and order your box of high-quality steaks.
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