There is a lot to love about a juicy steak, from the different ways you can have it to the numerous accompanying dishes it can accompany. Sometimes, however, you might end up with more steak than you can consume in a single sitting.
While the obvious solution is to freeze the leftover steak and cook it later, many have concerns about whether you can freeze your steak and retain its quality. In this post, we shall look at how to freeze steak and not make it mushy when the time for defrosting comes.
The Proper Way of Freezing Steak
Before we got to that, though, we thought we’d first put to rest some of the common concerns you might have.
Can You Freeze Cooked and Raw Steak?
Freezing raw steak is as easy as putting it in a freezer bag, labeling it, and placing it in your freezer. Before you know it, your raw steak will be frozen.
We, however, recommend that you always know the quality of the steak you are freezing. This advice is because the better the quality, the better your frozen steak will be.
You also have the option of freezing cooked steak, so make sure you do not throw away the leftovers thinking they will get ruined if you freeze them. Plus, the process is similar to freezing a raw steak.
Will Freezing the Steak Affect Its Taste or Make It Tough?
As long as your steak does not experience freezer burn, freezing it will not affect its taste. Freezing also does not make it tough; neither does it tenderize it. The quality you start with is the same quality you will end up with for your steak. You also don’t need to salt your steak before freezing.
For How Long Can You Freeze Steak?
Generally, you can freeze your steak for anywhere from four months to one year. Actually, according to the USDA, if you keep your steak at 0°F, you can freeze it indefinitely.
The specific length for which you can freeze your steak depends on its size and cut. You can freeze primal or larger cuts for much longer compared to small cuts. These variations are for a couple of reasons—how the meat holds water and what happens to the water when the steak freezes and defrosts.
What if You’ve Frozen the Steak for More Than One Year?
If your steak has been in the freezer for more than a year, it could still be safe to eat. It depends on factors such as:
- How well was the steak wrapped?
- How much air does the package have?
- How steady has the freezer’s temperature been?
If on inspecting the meat, however, you notice a lot of ice crystals, then you should probably throw it out.
How To Freeze Steak Without Ruining It
Now we can talk about the steps to take when freezing your steak. There are a few tricks and tips that will help you do this. Some of these tips are:
- Only use freezer bags because they are specifically made for storing food in a freezer
- Use freezer bags that feel thick and heavy and whose seal works well
- The flatter you can make your bags, the more freezer space you will have
- Roll your bag up after placing your steak inside to squeeze the air out of it
- When placing the steaks in your freezer, put the older ones at the top to use first
When freezing your steak, follow this simple procedure:
- Start by labeling the freezer bag, writing the date, the number of steaks, and the type of steak the bag contains. Include a use-by date between six months and one year for raw steaks and approximately two months for cooked steak.
- Place your steak in the freezer bag.
- Close the bag and squeeze out all the air you can. The more air you leave in the bag, the more the chances of getting freezer burn, which would significantly affect your steaks’ quality. To further avoid freezer burn, ensure the bag you use doesn’t have any holes. Also, make sure you keep your steaks frozen at a steady temperature, as close to zero as possible.
Thawing Your Steak
To thaw your steak, fill your kitchen sink or a large bowl with room temperature water and place your frozen steak into the water while still in the freezer bag. Turn the steak over every 10 minutes. Depending on how thick the steak is, it will thaw out in about 20 to 40 minutes.
Can You Refreeze a Thawed Steak That You Have Previously Frozen?
You can refreeze a thawed steak as long as you handle it properly. We, however, highly recommend that you cook the steak first before freezing it again. There are several reasons for this, including:
- The quality of the steak will suffer each time you freeze, defrost, and freeze it again
- Freezing a thawed out steak without cooking it first will cause it to lose some of its textural qualities
- Because freezing will create ice crystals in your steak’s structure, these ice crystals could rupture your steak’s fiber causing it to lose juices when you eventually defrost it. If you do not do this, you could end up with a very dry steak or one that has a funny taste
On top of that, we also advise against refreezing a steak that you thawed out and left to sit at room temperature.