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Ridiculous meat question.

THewat May 12, 2011 10:17 AM

I understand that I'm supposed to thaw meat in the refrigerator (or in a water bath for less time) to slow bacteria growth. If I'm making stock, say, and planning to boil the meat for several hours, is there anything wrong with moving the meat - in this case ham hocks - directly from freezer to pot of boiling water?

  1. s
    stevenb30 May 12, 2011 10:28 AM

    No. Nothing earth shaking. Just keep in mind that the water won't be absorbing maximum flavor from the hocks until they start to defrost. Over a three hour period, give or take, the outcome will be the same.

    1. inaplasticcup May 12, 2011 10:29 AM

      You won't have food poisoning issues, but the stock won't taste the same or as good, imo, if you start with frozen goods. I don't have a scientific explanation for you (though I'm sure there is one), rather lots of anecdotal data from personal experience when I've tried to make stock in a rush from frozen meat and/or bones. In addition to compromised flavor, the stock will also be cloudier.

      I think it's a good idea to defrost, even in the microwave if you have to, to ensure a good pot of stock. :)

      1. Kajikit May 12, 2011 10:31 AM

        It'll work fine - just remember that the 30 minutes or so it takes for the frozen meat to thaw and heat up don't count as cooking time, even if you start with boiling broth. It takes a long time for the pot to come back up to temperature after you put a big chunk of frozen stuff into it, so you need to add an hour to the cooking time.

        1. a
          andtheodor May 12, 2011 10:34 AM

          When making stock it's important to have a slow initial rise in temperature. I'd start with frozen ham hocks in cold water and slowly bring to a simmer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

          2 Replies
          1. re: andtheodor
            c oliver May 13, 2011 01:04 PM

            "When making stock it's important to have a slow initial rise in temperature."

            Why is that? Not something I've ever heard.

            1. re: c oliver
              chefj May 13, 2011 04:01 PM

              So that the proteins and other impurities have time to solidify and rise to the surface, so they can be skimmed off before they become broken up and suspended in the liquid.
              Not really a big issue with hock stock unless it will be served as a Consommé.

          2. THewat May 12, 2011 10:37 AM

            Thanks all, for your speedy answers. You're making me a better cook. -t

            3 Replies
            1. re: THewat
              j
              joonjoon May 12, 2011 11:01 AM

              In general there's nothing wrong with thawing stuff outside the fridge. Exceptions are things like 20lb turkeys which can take a few days to thaw.

              1. re: joonjoon
                alkapal May 13, 2011 04:26 AM

                agree with joonjoon.

                1. re: joonjoon
                  cowboyardee May 13, 2011 08:08 AM

                  Even a chicken i wouldn't recommend thawing outside the fridge (exception - thawing in cold water in the sink, preferably running).

                  Basically, if it needs more than say 4 hours to thaw, you're best off thawing in the fridge or under cold running water.

              2. Hank Hanover May 13, 2011 03:13 AM

                I don't see anything wrong with it. If you are going to use a crockpot, you might better heat the liquid up and then pour it into the crockpot. A crockpot can take several hours to get to 180 degrees F.

                1. greygarious May 13, 2011 08:49 AM

                  I think it can be beneficial to use frozen meat in some instances. By the time stock is done cooking, the meat used therein is usually spent and mushy, with little flavor left. When using frozen raw chicken or turkey parts, the innermost part of the meat gets cooked, but not spent.
                  Carve away the exterior and chop up the inner meat to use in the finished soup, or for making sandwiches and salads.

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