unnecessary loss of nutrients and meat juices, resulting
in a decreased quality of meat.
Frozen meat may be thawed in several ways. The
preferred method is slow thawing because there is less
drip loss in the meat. Meat thawed slowly yields a
juicier and more palatable cooked product. On small
ships with limited chill space, or whenever time is
limited between meat issue and mealtime, slow thawing
is not practical. The Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
(BUMED) has approved the use of alternate methods
that are recommended for such circumstances.
Once meat has been defrosted or thawed, it should
be used as soon as possible and not refrozen. Breakouts
should not exceed the amount to be served.
Preferred Thawing Method
Break out the quantity of meat required. Remove it
from the shipping container, but leave the meat inside
the wrappings. Thaw slowly at temperatures between
36°F and 38°F until almost completely thawed. The
thawing period will vary according to the following
l Size of the meat cut (the larger the size, the longer
the time required).
. Bone-in or boneless state. Bone-in meat takes
less time to thaw.
l Air temperature and circulation in chill space.
Moving air accelerates thawing.
l Quantity of meat being thawed in a given area.
A large amount will lower the temperature of the room
and decrease the thawing action. Spread the cuts out.
Do not stack them. It is almost impossible to predict the
exact time required to thaw meat unless there is a
perfectly controlled set of circumstances. Frozen
wholesale beef cuts and frozen boneless beef may
require up to 48 hours to thaw at temperatures of 36°F
to 38°F. Cuts from pork, veal, and lamb will probably
thaw in about 24 hours under refrigerator temperatures.
Alternate Thawing Methods
If it should become necessary to thaw the frozen
meat quickly, one of two methods is used. When it is
necessary to use either alternate thawing method
discussed next, the medical department representative
(MDR) must be notified.
1. Thaw in the original sealed wrapper or container
at room temperature (not to exceed 80°F) for several
hours. This procedure is to be used only by small ships
when the use of chill box reach-in refrigerators is not
2. Thaw in the original unopened container at 50°F
or lower in the meat preparation room. This procedure
is approved for larger ships that do not have thaw boxes
or when the use of chill box reach-in refrigerators is not
In each alternate method, the container acts as a
refrigerator and allows the meat to thaw from the outside
toward the center of the package. The outside pieces
remain sufficiently cold to prevent spoilage while the
center is thawing.
Proper precautions should be taken to make sure
potentially hazardous foods are not allowed to remain
at room temperature once thawed.
COOKING FROZEN AND THAWED
Most cuts of meats should be thawed or tempered
before they are cooked. Bulk ground beef, diced meat,
and Swiss steak should be completely thawed before
they are cooked.
Thawed meats and meats cooked while frozen are
prepared exactly as chilled meats. The principle of
using lower temperatures cooking is equally applicable
to all meats.
If cooked in the frozen state, roasts will require
approximately one-third to one-half additional cooking
time. Seasoning should be delayed until the outside is
somewhat thawed and the surface is sufficiently moist
to retain salt, pepper, and flour. The insertion of the meat
thermometer can be delayed until the roasts are partially
Ground Meats, Diced Meats, and Swiss Steak
Ground meats, diced meats, and Swiss steak must
be completely thawed before cooking. Beef pattie mix
used for meatballs, meat patties, and meat loaf requires
mixing with other ingredients and shaping before
Since diced meats used in stews or other
recipes often are dredged in flour and seasonings before
browning, they must be thawed. Swiss steak also
requires thawing before cooking.