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Dec 14, 2007 11:33 AM

Can meat be defrosted on the counter?

My husband took burgers out of the freezer and left them on the counter instead of putting them in the refrigerator. Should we toss them or can we cook them later when we get home from work?

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  1. Toss them!! I would not take a chance...

      1. re: jfood

        Huh? I do it all the time, so far still alive.

        1. re: PeterL

          My mom always did it too. I've never had any kind of food poisoning. If it smells OK, eat it.

          1. re: Lucia

            they are fine. unless it's been days...

            1. re: Lucia

              Same with my mom! That's how she defrosts things!

            2. re: PeterL

              We do it all the time as well. As long as the meat is still cold to the touch, I wouldn't think there would be a problem. A scientist might differ but we have done this for 25 years and have never become sick.

              1. re: brentk

                heh, to each his own and good luck. Chopped meat is about as unstable as you can get and 9 hours at room temp scares the behoogies out of jfood. But if you guys have experiences and feel comfortable, jfood bows in appreciation.

                Jfood takes the burgers out of the freezer (1/3 pounders) and 4 minutes at power 4 in the MV. Then onto the grill. Just can;t get his arms around the counter stuff, but jfood has been told he was wrong in the past on other food safety stuff (i.e. butter on the counter) so he will add this to the list.

                Hope you have some good cheese and bacon for the burgers.

                1. re: jfood

                  jfood, I should live next door to you. I'd never have to buy food, just wait for stuff you get rid of for safety reasons.

                  Reply: partly depends on room and freezer temperatures. My freezer has meat so rock hard that a couple of days minimum are needed to defrost in the ref. Also live where rooms are never over-heated, too hot, too cold, or whatever. Natural room temperature here is always about 76 F. I use the counter.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka


                    I'll talk to my neighbors. nice plot, 4 acres and a pond and i'll like you much much better.

                    Now you know why jfood buys only for that night and cooks it. And he does not do doggie bags. and he does not...

                    Jfood is extremely conservative at home. Onthe road, he don't ask, he don;t know.

          2. How long will they have been out for? If they haven't warmed up too much - that is, they just defrosted but are still cold - they may be OK.

            1. If you work in a food prep business, it's not legal, but we've always thawed at room temp. In fact, it's best to cook it when it's at room temp.

              3 Replies
              1. re: scuzzo

                Whoa guys, he didn't mention how long it was out. We routinely partially thaw frozen meat on the counter, then let it finish thawing in the frig. There is nothing wrong with it, and it is safe. Now, letting something thaw overnight on the counter is another thing....

                1. re: Hensley

                  LOL - My mom did it, and my in-laws still do it. Then again, they cook Thanksgiving turkey in the morning and it sits on the counter for 6 hours or so until everyone is ready to eat. All the sausage, ground beef, etc. thaws at room temp then get cooked and sits at room temp for another few hours. It is a nightmare -- but they don't seem to get ill. I have though, and steer clear of most meat and any leftovers there.

                  1. re: Hensley

                    Yes, this is what I have done a pinch, as long as I'm home to moniter the thaw.

                2. I do it all the time too. I do try to put in fridge once its mostly thawed out but I have left it out from morning till dinner time and cooked it and we are still alive. My mom did it too. Now there are things she did that I would NOT do like refreeze thawed meat several times. I would be very leary if it was left out all night though, but if it was just for the a day I think you should be ok.
                  Most meat I find in stores these days is partially frozen so I either use it that day or put it in freezer immediately.