Easy Defrosting question

Joined Sep 9, 2009
I defrosted a large peice of beef in warm water, cut it in half, cooked that half and put the rest back in the freezer.

I didn't know defrosting meat in WARM water was wrong but I did know that refreezing the beef was also wrong to do but didn't want to waste it.

So, does that make that refrozen piece of beef a health hazard or should it be ok to defrost again and eat?
Joined May 26, 2001
I would still use it, but 1) I like to live close to the edge, and 2) I'm cheap. :lol: More seriously, I don't cook for anyone very young, very old, or with a compromised immune system. What you did will definitely damage the quality of the meat: the rapid thawing and the refreezing both cause it to lose moisture. It is possible that it could spoil more quickly the next time around, which is why it shouldn't be served to anyone I mentioned.

If you do choose to thaw and cook it, consider time and temperature: if you want to thaw it quickly, do it under running cold water. If you can take the time, thaw it in the fridge. Then cook it as soon after thawing as you can. And cook it thoroughly. Rather than use it for a roast and cook it to rare, consider cutting it into cubes (which you can do even before it is fully thawed) and using it for a stew or braise in which you brown the cubes first and then simmer for a long time. That will also take care of the lower moisture content. But again, don't use it if you want to serve it to someone who could more easily get sick.

That said, if after you thaw it, it smells really bad, or it has an off color (that greenish, iridescent cast to the surface), THROW IT OUT.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
The only health hazard is the same as if you left a fresh piece of meat out: bacteria can develop. When freezing, whatever amount of bacteria you have will be frozen, and when thawed, they'll resume multiplying (freezing does not kill them). So all those time your meat is in the danger zone are summing to create the equivalent of one long period in the danger zone.

As far as taste... you're sure losing some taste. The rule of thumb is usually freeze as quickly as you can, thaw as slowly as you can. Everytime you break one of those rules, you're rupturing cell membranes, and losing moisture content. So in the end you'll have a dry, tough, rubbery tasteless piece of meat.
Joined Sep 2, 2009
I personally wouldn't say it's a health hazard that instant but yea, when you're thawing you're letting the meat in the danger zone for quite a long time. So I would suggest you to use that fast...

And it's going to get hard so...yeah, cut into cubes and make some stew. Or you can cut them into thin strips.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Safety aside, defrosting and refreezing damages the cell walls with ice crystals, and makes the meat mushy and watery.

In this case, depending on the amount of time spent defrosting, safety probably isn't in issue at all. Bacteria formation will be restricted to the outside of the meat, and they will be destroyed with cooking.

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