A 5-Minute Steak Defrost Hack? (and Other Meat-Thawing Tips)

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It's the end of a long day and you're craving a thick, juicy steak. Fortunately, you have a nice fresh cut in the freezer, awaiting its big moment. Unfortunately it's frozen solid as a rock and dinnertime is in less than an hour. Time to surrender your steak dreams and start making pasta instead? Nope, not so fast.

CTi, a Taiwanese cable channel, suggests an electricity-free steak-defrosting hack that will safely thaw a frozen steak about 1 centimeter thick in less than five minutes. How? Take two metal pots or pans, turn one over bottom up and place your vacuum-sealed steak flat on it. Then fill the other pot or pan with water and place it, topside up, on top of the steak. The weight of the water and its temperature, conducted by the metal, will speed thawing. In five minutes, CTi says, your steak should be defrosted and ready to cook. (You can use the time to pick a recipe.)

Of course, if you have more time, you can defrost the old-fashioned way, which is to say slowly and carefully — and without all the pan clanking. The best way to defrost meat safely is still to plan ahead and defrost it a day in advance in the fridge. Meat defrosted this way will stay good for a few days,  though you can't refreeze it, unless it's in a stock, soup or liquid. (Don't defrost meat at room temperature; meat kept at room temperature for more than two hours isn't safe to eat.)

For same-day defrosting, you can use the cold-water method: Place the well-sealed package of meat in a large bowl filled with cold water and stick around to change the water every 30 minutes. (This may sound time and labor intensive, but it's not so bad. Using this method, a 1-pound package of meat could take an hour, or even less, to thaw — though a 3- or 4-pound package could take more than two hours.) Again, no refreezing.

If you need more guidance, you always can refer back to Food Network's step-by-step defrosting tips and watch a video showing you meat-defrosting methods in action.

Enjoy your steak dinner! (You can make pasta tomorrow.)
Step-by-step photos

How to Defrost Meat 01:24

Forget to defrost? Get our tips for thawing chicken and all cuts of meat.
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