This $13 Tray Really Does Defrost Your Meat In Less Than an Hour
We put the rapid defroster to the test with frozen steak, chicken and salmon.
I don’t need to go into detail to explain the frustration of realizing — a few hours before dinner — that you forgot to take your meat out of the freezer to defrost. We’ve all been there, and while you can cook meat from frozen or use your microwave, sometimes only properly defrosted protein will cut it. In the same vein, we’ve all dreamt of a way to rapidly increase the thawing process without enlisting electric appliances, water or extra work. And while this gadget does add another item to your kitchen, the fact that you’ll have ready-to-eat meat in an hour or less (without any additional effort or preheating) will have you agreeing it’s worth it.
I tested out this rapid defrost tray, which is essentially a thin plate of aluminum covered in a solvent-based silicone coating, to see if it held up to its promise. First up was a thick cut of salmon that would have normally taken at least 12 hours to defrost in the fridge. I placed it on the tray and let it sit for an hour, checking on it periodically. The progression started almost immediately, and by the time my timer went off, my fish was thawed, still cold and ready to cook — just like it had been in a fridge all night.
I also tested the tray on frozen chicken breasts and steak. The breasts were completely defrosted and ready to cook in just under an hour, and the steak took closer to an hour and a half to be ready for the grill. They both were cold to the touch once defrosted and felt like they had just come out of the fridge. For all three proteins, I noticed the tray, which was originally room temperature, was cold to the touch within minutes and remained that way throughout the defrosting period. According to the site, the aluminum plate’s construction helps it evenly distribute heat throughout the plate and the material accelerates the process by drawing in heat from its surroundings.
I decided to flip both the chicken and steak halfway through, which the company recommends for even thawing. They also recommend to always thaw foods at room temperature and check every 45 minutes until fully thawed. Since the chicken and salmon took around an hour to defrost, I would recommend checking closer to every 30 minutes to make sure you are cooking or refrigerating your meat immediately after thawing. Because you're defrosting meats in a quick amount of time not in the fridge, the protein should be cooked immediately and cannot be refrozen. It's also important to remember that you should not use this defrost method for more than two to three hours to keep the protein from being in the "danger zone" too long.
In order to properly defrost the chicken and steak, the pieces of meat should be separated before placing them on the Quick Thaw, rather than frozen together into a big block. I stored both the breasts and filets in separate freezer bags, so I could more easily place them next to each other on the tray without risk of them being frozen together. Once your meat is ready to cook, this tray can go in the dishwasher and store easily. I’ve washed it multiple times, and it still produces the same quick-thaw results as the first time, and it's extremely thin and light, so it takes up virtually no extra space when stored with my cutting boards. All around, it’s a no brainer to add to your kitchen.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.