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The Partially-Frozen Meat Cooking Technique

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    The Partially-Frozen Meat Cooking Technique

    After experimenting in a variety of ways with my various grills/smokers I kind of backed into a cooking technique that I really like. I call it: "The Partially Frozen Technique". It works pretty much across the board for any grilled pieces of meat, but to simplify things I'll use steak for my example. What I like to do with steak is to take refrigerator-temperature steak and pop it in the freezer for a while before grilling. Duration of time will depend on the thickness of the meat. The goal here is to have to outer part of the meat kind of frozen but the center of the meat still pliable. This really is an expansion of the reverse-sear concept. Since the meat cooks from the outside it, if it's partially frozen on the outside by the time the interior reaches a temperature point where a reverse-sear will result in medium rare, the same will hold true closer to the surface. We all know about that infamous gray band of overcooked meat between the surface and the medium rare interior. The reverse-sear obviates some of that and "The Partially Frozen Technique" takes it even further.

    In February 2018 I stumbled onto this technique but it took me over a year and a half to make the connection as to why this really thick cut piece of New York Strip came out so uniform. I cooked it in my 14.5 WSM (top grate, bowl removed, when it hit 110 internal I removed the centre ring and placed the cold grate on top of the fire ring and did a reverse sear) just outside of my garage. It was REALLY cold that evening - 15 degrees or so. I had the meat sitting on a platter and when I had to move the platter I noticed that the meat was starting to stick, so I flipped it over. By the time it was ready to go into the cooker I noticed the outer portion on both sides were partially frozen. It wasn't until over a year later, when similar attempts to achieve this degree of uniformity throughout the meat weren't as successful that I had my "Eureka" moment.

    Look at how uniformly this NY strip is cooked:

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    Last edited by JeffJ; February 11, 2020, 07:54 PM.

    #2
    That looks awesome. I know you are going to get a whole lots of people trying this. I smoke from frozen but haven’t grilled from it except by mistake (thawing didn’t complete). In that scenario the outside thawed, but not the middle completely.

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    • JeffJ
      JeffJ commented
      Editing a comment
      Unfortunately, that is the opposite of what we want. We want the outside colder than the inside.

    #3
    I experimented with cooking steaks from frozen a couple years back and they turned out great. Seared them in a cast iron pan and then finished on the oven. Very evenly cooked and pink the whole way through:

    Click image for larger version

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    I wrote up the whole process (with bad pictures in a poorly lit kitchen) : http://completecarnivore.com/can-rea...frozen-steaks/

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      #4
      Thanks for the great write up JeffJ I also smoke from frozen sometmes but am going to have to test this out.

      Perfectly cooked steak btw.

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        #5
        That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the great write-up.

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          #6
          Thanks for sharing!

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            #7
            I did similar with a twenty pound CAB rib roast...New Years about 2018. Thermoworks test kitchen said the best technique for them was to pre-sear the very cold dry rubbed roast on a very hot surface, then apply oily goop seasoning and continue smoking. No gray layer. It did take a lot longer to cook to 120 given an internal temp of 34 to start and 250 smoke.

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              #8
              Great write up. Another method to try.

              Comment


                #9
                Click image for larger version

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                Comment


                • HawkerXP
                  HawkerXP commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Nice sear.

                #10
                May be onto something here. Of course as we all know this can also be achieved via the SVQ method as well. More choices, very cool !! Thanks for sharing

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                  #11
                  I have used a similar method to cook a completely frozen NY strip, and it came out really good!

                  Comment


                    #12
                    You exhibited great observation skills to figure out this technique. It makes perfect sense once you explained it. Thank you. We are going to try your technique on our next round of steaks.

                    Comment


                      #13
                      Very cool technique indeed.

                      Comment


                      • Polarbear777
                        Polarbear777 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Yes cool. Ha.

                      #14
                      JeffJ This is really cool, and a great write up. For some reason, I think I might have seen something similar to this on an episode of ATK a year or so ago, maybe. I remember thinking at the time that I should try it, and just never did.

                      I think I will now though, because how can you argue against the results?

                      Comment


                        #15
                        Cooking steak straight from frozen is my favorite way to cook a steak. I buy rib roasts when they're on sale and cut them into steaks, dry brine, freeze, and vac-pack. When I want a steak I just pull one out of the freezer, fire up the gas grill, and reverse sear until the steak is 115 F, and then sear. I usually use a foil packet of wood chips or pellets to get a bit of smoke, and searing is left as an exercise for the reader. I've seared over charcoal, on the griddle, on the gasser (my gasser sucks at searing), and in a CI pan and butter basting.

                        I could (and do) just SV and sear from frozen, but this takes right about the same amount of time, a little more attention, and produces a superior steak, IMHO.

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