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shuley

The great steak experiment

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So I got to wondering about freezing and thawing steaks. I was wondering what freezing would do to the final texture of steak. Ckreef remarked something about how he doubted a person would be able to tell the difference even if they were side by side. So I decided I needed to know. This would have great application for me as I only like to grocery shop once a week but usually cook fish first out of my groceries- or if I found a good sale I could stock up if I found the texture to still be good enough. So I picked up two similar rib eyes. I seasoned both heavily and vacuum sealed them both 606f9f44c2f2fccda394c03d63711190.jpgi wanted to make sure they were a similar as possible in their preparation693949031776c9c56182d172f212f2ba.jpgone went in the freezer one went in the meat drawer in the fridge. I waited more than 36 hours, and the frozen meat was definitely rock hard. Then I moved it to the meat drawer to slowly defrost (I had one bag labeled so that's what the weird black mark was)781c004f47db5972806fbba4c4abccd9.jpgthen a could days later I pulled them out85c1f48f471c335d75a80c9ef19c1a50.jpg and they were ready for a reverse sear f23ce25c2bf1cb8077b17f37b50be285.jpgflipped every ten minutes or so since that is what Kenji recommends and every one of his recipes I have tried is AMAZING 021915eddec8b0cf34c5fef840b0b017.jpg. Now it is time to sear! Action shot!d6f954e9dfe5e837b479660e97601e2e.jpg this is where the difference started to emerge. 04373484ce19595a0a7df70852879cb6.jpg as you can see, the steak closer to the camera started to kind of break into pieces. This is the one that was frozen. 1ea25435cff1e4f607f86e12a6e8b95f.jpgresting for ten minutes. And slicing3785b63b41b9757a93e5c9c8ca663c04.jpgabove not frozen. Below previously frozenada7c5bd103cfe0a9739b415191c8e8d.jpg and side by side970670ccad43fc3f9fe9e002bec88f2a.jpg49b1b2b4363902de39949b3fbf367292.jpgvirtually indistinguishable. My husband though the lighting made them appear more done than they were so here is from the dining room mid dinnere22f0332183e66eb6d790532c60bb26b.jpg
 
In terms of texture and/or flavor, neither of us could maker a preference, meaning I will definitely be freezing steaks on sale. The only disadvantage is that the steaks don't keep their shape quite as well which doesn't really matter. This happened again when I later bought two more steaks which were sealed and frozen before cooking. Overall, a fun and useful experiment

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Good experiment. Looks tasty too. 

 

Freezing is the only way I can manage grocery runs. This is mainly to do with how far away a decent grocery store is. With that said the local Piggly Wiggly just hired a new butcher/meat department manager. They completely redid their meat isle and it looked really good. The store manager saw me looking it over and started telling me about what they had done. I'll start buying meat from them again if they can keep this up. 

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Thanks for doing this.  I've always wondered about this but haven't taken the time to do it myself.  Mostly try to buy fresh, but not convinced that even then, it hasn't been previously frozen before it gets to my grocery store.  I'd like to do a better job of taking advantage of sales or buying whole cuts of meat.

 

I'd be curious about the same experiment with hamburgers.

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36 minutes ago, MichBadger said:

Thanks for doing this.  I've always wondered about this but haven't taken the time to do it myself.  Mostly try to buy fresh, but not convinced that even then, it hasn't been previously frozen before it gets to my grocery store.  I'd like to do a better job of taking advantage of sales or buying whole cuts of meat.

 

I'd be curious about the same experiment with hamburgers.

 

I've never done the experiment but freeze hamburgers all the time. I have a 3 person family I'll buy a 2-3 lb pack of ground beef. Use half of it fresh. The other half I'll season up, make into 3 or 4 patties and freeze. Not as good as fresh but makes for a reasonably decent and quick weeknight meal.

 

With this talk about freezing - if you're going to freeze meat you really need some type of food saver vacuum sealer.

 

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I freez most of my meat, as I buy mostly 1/2 a pig, or 1/4 beef.

The key is vacum it, as otherwise you will have a freeze burn, freeze as quick as possible and defreeze in the fridge slowly.

That's what you did, so good job there, 

 

Same goes for burgers, sausage or grounded beef.

 

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@shuley - beautiful steaks!  Mouthwatering to be certain.  Congrats to ya.

 

I freeze meat all the time.  I'll find a good sale and load up.  Most times I vacuum pack my selections, but if I'm going to use the meat within a week, I'll freeze it in its original wrappings.  Never had any freezer burn from freezing and using quickly.  

 

I've frozen many a butt, chuckie, brisket, etc. with absolutely no ill effects and no noticeable difference to the finished product.  As to fowl/poultry, most of that product comes to your market frozen from the factory.  Even if your birds are pliable and seemingly "fresh" chances are very high it's been frozen and thawed.  

 

I was raised on meat that was bought on sale, frozen at home (and never vacuum packed), and thawed in the kitchen sink the day before Mom cooked it.  We never suffered any ill effects whatsoever!  Could it be that we are over thinking this and diddling at the margins?  Food for thought.

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Shuly

Thanks for this. We are eating Rib steaks one at a time that were $4.77 a pound back during the Christmas season. I know that they are good--very good. Still I have wondered if they would have been even better fresh. Now i know thanks to you.

 

Those steaks look awesome BTW.

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Yeah chef, we are overthinking a lot.

 

You are right with freezing things a few days without vacuum, but whem I load up it's about 40-60kg meat after taking out the bones, that means even if I give some away, you eat quiet a while with a family of four.

 

About thwaing in the sink, I would say, for foodsafty it's not the best idea, 

 

Thawing meat for a stew, soup... or a whole bostonbutt, I quess the diff. how you thwa it doesn't matter much.

But steaks, just look at the juice running out if you thaw it outside the fridge.

 

If you have the time thaw in the fridge,

If it has to go quick put the vacuumbag in cold water.

 

 

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Ckreef and would buy whole ribeye slades and dry age,  then cut them to thickness we want and freeze... I can't tell the difference...other than I think they come out more tender.. 

 

Not sure if so but I know every Steak we froze has always been delicious. 

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Nice experiment. I've also wondered about this.

To your point about minimizing grocery runs, a vacuum sealed steak will keep without freezing for a week or two as long as they are fresh and bacteria free when packed. Kind of like 'wet aging'.

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50 minutes ago, afingerhut said:


To your point about minimizing grocery runs, a vacuum sealed steak will keep without freezing for a week or two as long as they are fresh and bacteria free when packed. Kind of like 'wet aging'.

I think this goes with getting your steaks cut fresh. You just don't know what you're getting when they are in the "family" pack or even precut in the counter. At best they were cut that morning and sitting out for the last 4 or 6 hours. At the worst they might have been cut a day or two or more ago. 

 

You just can't be shy about asking to get something fresh cut. None of the big grocery chains will ever refuse unless they just don't have another primal in the back. 

 

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I buy whole tenderloin on sale and freeze in the factory vacuumed packages and defrost in a sink of cold running water. Delicious and never made a bad tenderloin.


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So I got to wondering about freezing and thawing steaks. I was wondering what freezing would do to the final texture of steak. Ckreef remarked something about how he doubted a person would be able to tell the difference even if they were side by side. So I decided I needed to know. This would have great application for me as I only like to grocery shop once a week but usually cook fish first out of my groceries- or if I found a good sale I could stock up if I found the texture to still be good enough. So I picked up two similar rib eyes. I seasoned both heavily and vacuum sealed them both 606f9f44c2f2fccda394c03d63711190.jpgi wanted to make sure they were a similar as possible in their preparation693949031776c9c56182d172f212f2ba.jpgone went in the freezer one went in the meat drawer in the fridge. I waited more than 36 hours, and the frozen meat was definitely rock hard. Then I moved it to the meat drawer to slowly defrost (I had one bag labeled so that's what the weird black mark was)781c004f47db5972806fbba4c4abccd9.jpgthen a could days later I pulled them out85c1f48f471c335d75a80c9ef19c1a50.jpg and they were ready for a reverse sear f23ce25c2bf1cb8077b17f37b50be285.jpgflipped every ten minutes or so since that is what Kenji recommends and every one of his recipes I have tried is AMAZING 021915eddec8b0cf34c5fef840b0b017.jpg. Now it is time to sear! Action shot!d6f954e9dfe5e837b479660e97601e2e.jpg this is where the difference started to emerge. 04373484ce19595a0a7df70852879cb6.jpg as you can see, the steak closer to the camera started to kind of break into pieces. This is the one that was frozen. 1ea25435cff1e4f607f86e12a6e8b95f.jpgresting for ten minutes. And slicing3785b63b41b9757a93e5c9c8ca663c04.jpgabove not frozen. Below previously frozenada7c5bd103cfe0a9739b415191c8e8d.jpg and side by side970670ccad43fc3f9fe9e002bec88f2a.jpg49b1b2b4363902de39949b3fbf367292.jpgvirtually indistinguishable. My husband though the lighting made them appear more done than they were so here is from the dining room mid dinnere22f0332183e66eb6d790532c60bb26b.jpg
 
In terms of texture and/or flavor, neither of us could maker a preference, meaning I will definitely be freezing steaks on sale. The only disadvantage is that the steaks don't keep their shape quite as well which doesn't really matter. This happened again when I later bought two more steaks which were sealed and frozen before cooking. Overall, a fun and useful experiment


Flipping every 10 minutes- how long did you cook- at what temp?



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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