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Apr 24, 2009 08:40 AM

Can I make stock with frozen meat?

I am running a free soup and bread lunch program in my community and am getting many extremely generous contributions.

For example, I just got 8 boxes of frozen meat. (Not ground but also not exactly identifiable,) It's frozen in rather large bags (think taking up half a shelf of an upright freezer) and I'm wondering if we can somehow take it from its frozen state to stock without killing anyone. (I am not looking for the world's best stock here, I'm looking for a way to convert this bounty into something we can actually use.)

If we can, indeed, turn this mystery meat into stock from its frozen lump state, what would be your approach?

I thank you and so do the hundreds of folks who will benefit from your answers!

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  1. Put in a large pot, cover with water, add bay and other herbs if desired, bring to a boil and simmer until just tender. Keep breaking apart the meat while it is simmering. Add vegetables and a starch (beans, barley, rice) and finish until all is tender. Season. Won't be perfect but will be easy and very good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alwayscooking

      Agreed. Just use as you would fresh meat. I always freeze my chicken carcasses, necks, and other stock-worthy parts and throw right into the bath as I add my other stock ingredients. Turns out fine for me.

    2. Wow what a great bounty!
      Is time an issue that you're unable to defrost the meat? If I were doing it, Id put it on a cookie sheet, and roast it in the oven, at the point I could break it apart, drain any water off, then roast it a bit nore. Then transfer to the pot like you suggest. I just think you might get a better flavor from the meat, and actually know what you're serving people.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chef chicklet

        Thanks for the suggestion!

        Thawing is a problem because we don't have fridge space that would accommodate these huge bags of meat. I'll try the roasting method today and the soaking method tomorrow; at this point I don't even know if the bags all contain the same type of meat...

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Seriously? Wouldn't these big lumps be in the same category as a turkey? I believe they are approximately the size of a big turkey (or larger).

            Thanks for ALL tips and pointers!

            Your friend, the sort-of meat neophyte, with the sudden bounty of what appears to be at least one very large animal in her freezer.

      2. If your'e making stock, would you discard the meat after you get the stock? Hope not.

        I'd probably thaw and do some huge pot braise or stew or chili.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Nope, definitely won't be throwing away any meat...

          And huge pots for sure... It'll require a huge pot just to fit the lump 'o meat.

          I'm thinking that because I've got this giant ice cube, I should add the meat to already boiling water to minimize food dangers; does that sound right?

          1. re: miss louella

            miss louella, I don't think you'll have to worry about food dangers. Tossing into boiling water, I'd be afraid that the outside of the ice cube would get way over-cooked while the middle remained frozen. I'd try to thaw at least enough to be able to cut the chunks into smaller pieces. Barring that, maybe starting with a low heat long cook braise in a flavorful thick sauce might be the trick - ending by flaking/shredding the meat. Good luck and thank you for what you're doing!

            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Very good points, thanks! I'm sort of paranoid (generally) on food safety issues and especially paranoid when there's the possibility that instead of feeding 100-some hungry people, I might just make them sick.

              btw, I LOVE what I'm doing--had no idea it would grow so fast and so big (679 served in six weeks), but I have tons of community support and the rewards are incredible. I'm happy to share experiences and ideas with anyone who's interested in doing something like this in their communities. (louellapizzuti - at -

            2. re: miss louella

              Since you don't know what meat you have, make it into a cassoulet. Thaw, and then even if not all the way thawed, you add your dry beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic, other vegetables (carrots, celery and potatoes) season well, and serve it with bread. Could be pretty good...Just boiling meat, and making soup for me, isn't the best way to use the meats, and you want to hang onto the flavor of those meats. So simmer away!

          2. More often than not I start my stocks with meat that has been frozen. If you have doubts about the type or quality of the meat and it is frozen in thick cryovac bags you can thaw it by submerging in barely simmering water like the old fashioned "boil in a bag". Then roast or braise so it has more flavor before you make the stock. Although as others have suggested I would start with just one of the bags and cover with water in a large stockpot with onion, garlic, peppercorns, celery, carrot, salt and herbs and simmer to make the stock and break the meat up as the outside thaws until you can determine what you are working with and can decide what you want to do from there with the rest. My guess is if it is a large bag then it is stew meat and not a roast. If that is the case your possibilities are endless.

            3 Replies
            1. re: folprivate

              BRILLIANT!!!! I was so overwhelmed by this unexpected delivery that I didn't even think of boil-in-bag (or simmer-in-bag) thawing!!

              The quality, I know, is excellent--it's all from a local rancher/meat purveyor that supplies the best restaurants (and pickiest cooks) in the area. The type(s)? A mystery. I am about to head to the freezer now to pick a package and get started on solving the mystery. (I may have to invite guest tasters over to figure out the type of meat--I was a veg during my formative cooking years.)

              Thanks to EVERYONE!!!

              1. re: miss louella

                Check out Pot-au-feu recipes, if you are good at skimming the broth and removing each piece of meat as it finishes, it's a wonderful way to combine lots of cuts of meat. And the broth can get pretty close to the perfect drink (well, you can eat it as soup too, but once you taste it you will be tempted..) with skimming and maybe a cheesecloth strain and defatting. Sooo good.

                1. re: Botch

                  pot au feu, yes that' s the other one I was thinking and couldn't remember the name, this could turn out to be a very delicious meal. Lots of flavors, wow.

            2. Thaw as you would a last-minute turkey: a couple of layers of plastic bag, as extra anti-leak insurance, in a bathtub, sink, or large bucket of cold water.