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Thoughts on Frozen Meat

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  • lord2464
    Charter Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 16
    • Maryland

    Thoughts on Frozen Meat

    I have been reading Aaron Franklins book "A Meat Smoking Manifesto". In Chapter 5 he says "All the brisket we use has never been frozen. Freezing breaks down the fibers in the meat somewhat, and you’ll end up with a mushier product." At the same time Aaron also says "Wagyu beef is really expensive, but I’ve always had great success with the product from Snake River Farms in Idaho." In the resources section Aaron recommends Snake River again. I have purchased Snake River steaks before and to my knowledge, they only come frozen.

    The question - is this an inconsistency, or is there a way to get unfrozen Snake River products, or is the Waygu from Snake River so good that, even after the degradation caused by freezing, it's still worth the incredibly high price.

    Question 2 - what is the general consensus on frozen meat?

    Thanks everyone!
  • DeusDingo
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 1141
    • Madison, WI
    • Weber Q320 grill
      Masterbuilt Propane Smoker
      Maverick and thermo Pen thermometers

    #2
    almost everything i make gets frozen. rarely do sales line up with me being able to actually make anything. i don't think anything i make ends up inferior. i am ok with cooking frozen meat.

    in reference to the book, it does seem like an inconsistency - sort of. they said the brisket the use (in the restaurant) is never frozen, but he also thinks snake river farms is really good. they don't use snake river farms at the restaurant. they are two separate statements.

    Comment

    • CandySueQ
      KCBS President, and Moderator
      • Jul 2014
      • 1523
      • Pellet Fired Jambo, T1000 Woodmaster, FEC100, MAK 2 star, Yoder 640, Backwoods Pellet Chef, 14" & 22" WSM, 22" Weber Kettle, Stoven, Hot Box Grill, Hasty Bake Portable

      #3
      No problem with cooking meat that's been frozen and thawed. I do think there was some degradation when I thawed and trimmed a Snake River Farms brisket, then refroze. End results were not normal. I won't do it again!

      That said I prefer pork butts to not be frozen, but usually do freeze ribs.

      Comment

      • BBQbot
        Former Member
        • Dec 2016
        • 77
        • California

        #4
        Snake River Farms flash freezes their meat, this is from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_freezing
        "Flash freezing is used in the food industry to quickly freeze perishable food items (see frozen food). In this case, food items are subjected to temperatures well below water's melting/freezing point[clarification needed]. Smaller, more ubiquitous ice crystals cause less damage to cell membranes.[10]"

        Usually the beef ribs in our local grocery store are frozen, and usually you can tell. Snake River Farms meats I've ordered have always been incredible after thawing.

        Comment


        • EdF
          EdF commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, flash freezing is definitely a superior method (as far as I can tell). Lots of people recommend flash frozen fish over fresh that gets moved through the distribution channel too slowly. And too slowly can be a matter of a couple of days.
      • Yno
        Yno
        Former Member
        • May 2015
        • 406
        • Do you know the way to San Jose?

        #5
        I am proud to admit that I am a snob of sorts. I won't drink wine from a box or that has a screw top, and I don't buy frozen meat.

        Disclaimer: This is just a personal opinion based entirely on whim. Please don't try to talk me into believing that these can be fine products. As far as I am concerned, this is a personally held belief and belongs in the realm of God, Guns, and Government (and which lump is best). I am lucky enough to have some good meat (and wine) purveyors close by, and just wealthy enough that if I save my shekels for a year or two I can buy express delivery unfrozen dry aged beef for special occasions, like New Millennium's Eve.

        Generally speaking, my freezer contains only ice, used for Gin and Tonics or Vodka Tonics for Ynette. And why the heck do you need an 'and' for G&T but not for VT?

        I should stop drinking in the morning.......

        Comment


        • Steve Vojtek
          Steve Vojtek commented
          Editing a comment
          👍👍👍@ drinking in the morning....

        • Yno
          Yno commented
          Editing a comment
          Only Bailey's in my coffee.....

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          Makes th' mornin' better
      • dustbuster
        Former Member
        • Mar 2017
        • 74

        #6
        Was about to post a similar question myself, but did a search and this timely post showed up!

        A couple other questions I have:

        - Meats I'm interested in are pork & beef roast, beef steaks, pork chops, ribs. Are there any of those meats folks here go out of their way to avoid freezing?
        - Is the generally accepted method to thaw in the refrigerator? Or is thawing on the (heated) grill a normal method too?

        Heading to Costco later, so wondering if I should stock up, or if buying as-needed is a better general practice.

        Thanks!

        Comment

        • Thunder77
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 2747
          • Halethorpe, MD
          • Weber 26.75" Kettle with SnS. Broil King Baron 5 burner. Akorn Kamado, and Akorn Jr kamado. Primo Oval Junior. Love grilling steaks, ribs, and chicken. Need to master smoked salmon Favorite cool weather beer: Sam Adams Octoberfest Favorite warm weather beer: Yuengling Traditional Lager All-time favorite drink: Single Malt Scotch

          #7
          I just recently posted about grilling frozen steaks, a la a Thermoworks blog I read. To be clear, I cooked them right from frozen to the grill, and they were pretty danged good. I much prefer fresh meat, but for me, ribs that have been frozen, and some steaks, are not bad at all. Chuck roast that has been frozen comes out fine for me. As Yno says, it is really a matter of personal preference. I don't see a problem with stocking up and freezing. If I am buying whole chickens, I usually unwrap them, pull out the giblets, dry brine, and then freeze.

          Comment

          • Hawkce541
            Club Member
            • Mar 2017
            • 27
            • Clarksville, Tn

            #8
            I've heard (or read) that thawing in warm water, or even on a counter is bad a causes more cells to rupture. You should wait days and have it thaw slowly in the fridge.

            Comment

            • GadjetGriller
              Club Member
              • Dec 2015
              • 726
              • Lubbock tx
              • I have 3 outdoor devices (plus a couple indoor items) Starting with the PBC, Faux Kamado Kooker,(Akorn metal Kamado) & Oklahoma Joe offset grill and smoker. I use the FireBoard WiFi Thermometer. IQ110 (heat control device for akorn) recently acquired a Char-Broil Big Easy TRU-INFRARED 3-in-1 Roaster, Smoker and Grill, I also have A Anova & Joule Sous Vide Wands and The Steakager ( a unit for Dry aging big hunks of meat!)

              #9
              its all about the ice crystals. The slower something freezes the bigger the crystals. Ice crystals are sharp jagged things. When big enough they pierce the cell membrane walls and cause the meat to be mushy. As BBQbot said commercial companies can Quick freeze their products Forming Very small Ice crystals, so that the meat is not adversely effected. Now Freeze something in your home freezer Big ice crystals form and can compromise the meat structure noticeably.

              Comment

              • CandySueQ
                KCBS President, and Moderator
                • Jul 2014
                • 1523
                • Pellet Fired Jambo, T1000 Woodmaster, FEC100, MAK 2 star, Yoder 640, Backwoods Pellet Chef, 14" & 22" WSM, 22" Weber Kettle, Stoven, Hot Box Grill, Hasty Bake Portable

                #10
                I think vacuum sealing makes a big difference too. Personally I'd rather have frozen meat than no meat at all!

                Comment

                • HorseDoctor
                  Charter Member
                  • Sep 2014
                  • 1147
                  • Central Iowa

                  #11
                  Interestingly, when utilizing cryotherapy (freezing tissue) medically as a way to treat things like skin tumors, the accepted theory is that a rapid freeze/slow thaw cycle is the most effective way to destroy (rupture) cells in the target tissue... Hmmm... Confusing???

                  I rather routinely thaw vacuum sealed meats in warm water, mostly because of poor advanced menu planning on my part, but have not noticed a perceptible change in texture or quality of the product. Still confused???

                  Comment


                  • Hawkce541
                    Hawkce541 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I do the same. I do notice that there's a good bit of juice in the bag that wasn't there when I vacuum packed it, but it cooks up just fine.
                • Storlok
                  Club Member
                  • Mar 2016
                  • 242
                  • Hernando, MS

                  #12
                  Most of the meats that I smoke have been frozen. Most of the time, I thaw them in the fridge over several days. This means that I have to plan my cooks at least a week in advance, but I have the same days off every week, so that's not a problem for me. I am no food critic, but have had no complaints about the main dishes that I have offered for consumption. I'll continue to purchase items which are on sale, keep 'em in the freezer 'til I am ready to plan a cook, and after a week or so of thawing, and 12 to 24 hours of smoking, serve 'em up...

                  Comment

                  • bardsleyque
                    Club Member
                    • Oct 2015
                    • 605
                    • Snoqualmie Wa.

                    #13
                    I prefer not frozen especially with steaks. This is not based on any science mostly just preference.

                    Comment

                    • Pirate Scott
                      Club Member
                      • Mar 2017
                      • 1340
                      • Clay, New York
                      • - Plain old Charbroil Charcoal Grill
                        - 26" Weber Kettle
                        - Jack Daniels No7, Four Roses

                      #14
                      Great post I have been curious about this as well. One of the local chains here has Previously frozen Baby Backs for 2.99 per lbs. Another has 4.99 per lbs Fresh. Maybe it is time for a Taste Test.

                      Comment


                      • EdF
                        EdF commented
                        Editing a comment
                        one can only learn by trying it out!

                      • HorseDoctor
                        HorseDoctor commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I'm betting that it'll be tough to tell a difference.
                    • Steve R.
                      Club Member
                      • Jul 2016
                      • 2320
                      • Elizabethtown, KY
                      • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Smokey Mountain 22" w/ Guru adapter.

                      #15
                      I frequently dry brine and rub butts and chuck roasts prior to freezing and actually prefer the way they turn out. With this method you can go straight from the freezer to the smoker. Maybe an hour more cooking time, but spectacular smoke ring! Can't tell any difference in the flavor.

                      Comment

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