Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 12, 2012 08:24 AM

Rib Roast Still Frozen Like a Rock

UGH! My rib roast has been on a rack in the fridge with foil loosly covering for over 24 hours, but it is still like a rock. The plan was to salt it tomorrow evening and roast for Tuesday (Valentine's Day). I'm afraid it is still going to be frozen tomorrow evening.

Should I take it out of the fridge now for an hour or two? Should I wait and soak it tomorrow (in plastic bag?). Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would put it in a plastic bag if you can. evacuate as much air as possible out of it and submerge it in water, either a sink or a cooler. I would do it today so you can out it back in the fridge to salt it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Hank Hanover

      this. except i would not salt it before it goes in the oven.

      1. re: Hank Hanover

        That's exactly what I would do, too.

        1. re: Hank Hanover

          Yes, dry, in a bag, submerge in water, changing the water throughout the day as it becomes warmer.
          I've also done a rib roast that was still slightly frozen in the middle and although it may need adjustment with time, the center stays more rare. The roast won't be as evenly cooked to temp as a room temp roast would be. Ends would be towards well done.

        2. It would help if you gave the number of ribs, and or, the approximate weight if known. Based on the information you have provided thus far, I would leave it in the fridge as is, then take out the day of, season and rest on the counter covered with the same tent foil or plastic wrap. I would not defrost in water myself.

          5 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            It is two ribs. I would normally take it out of the fridge maybe an hour before roasting.

            1. re: DaisyM

              My opinion is it will be defrosted in the two days inside the refrigerator.

            2. re: fourunder

              I would never defrost at room temp. You don't defrost it *in* the water, you defrost it in a bag that keeps the water out. It's a way of keeping the temperature within a safe range while still hastening the defrost.

              1. re: mcf

                Please, give me credit for the bag, I can read and do we really need to spell out every single detail?......I defrost in the fridge....see above. It's probably 4 pounds or under and should defrost in time. Taking it out of the fridge the day of, is to allow it to warm up to room temperature. It's all relative to the temperature in the house how long you want to do so..... Check the many prime rib threads. Many do so for up to six hours 9even longer) and live to tell about it here on this site without any ill effects.

                1. re: fourunder

                  If you have a heavy aluminum pot of some kind you can turn it upside down on the counter and put the wrapped meat on it. The aluminum conducts heat very well and the meat will thaw much faster than otherwise.

            3. For best results you want to salt that baby a day in advance. Take it out of the fridge and put it between something metal with a large surface area (like two sheet pans) and it'll thaw in no time. Salt it and put it back in the fridge overnight before cooking.

              10 Replies
              1. re: joonjoon

                salt draws out moisture. why would you want to do that? air-drying in the fridge is the way to go.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  It doesn't, it's a form of brining. I rarely use it on beef, though.

                  1. re: mcf

                    oh, that dry-brining thing again, lol. really not needed for beef.

                  2. re: hotoynoodle

                    Hotyonoodle, your statements are quite contradictory.

                    First you say you don't want moisture loss, but salting prevents moisture loss. Then you say you'd rather air dry in the fridge, which...causes moisture loss. So what exactly are you trying to accomplish here?

                    Nothing is *needed* when roasting meat, I'm just suggesting some small things you can do to make your roast taste better. First, salt makes meat taste better. Roasts aren't an exception here and a roast will be better when salt has had time to penetrate, so that the whole cut tastes more flavorful all the way through rather than just the outside tasting salty.

                    In addition salted meats lose less moisture during cooking so your roast should be more moist, not less.

                    I haven't blind-tested this but it also seems a 12-24 hour salting results in more tender meat.

                    So really, the question is, why *wouldn't* you salt your meat in advance?

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      salt is a dessicant, it draws out moisture. air-drying will lead to some evaporation, but at a much slower rate. at home it will mostly be surface moisture, and that will allow for better char and crust on the finished steak.

                      i will also defer to the techniques of the fine-dining restaurants and premium steakhouses in which i have worked for over 20 years. beef is salted right before it goes on the grill.

                      not scientific, but interesting:


                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        To clarify, I only advocate overnight salting for large roasts, not steaks. Steaks have much more surface area and are fine when salted just before cooking.

                        The other thing is that the moisture loss from salting is actually minimal when you have it wrapped, as the exuded liquid gets reabsorbed. Try salting a roast, wrapping it up and leaving it on the fridge overnight. For a 10 lb roast you'll lose at most about a tablespoon of liquid.

                        By the way, that article was excellent and does a great job of summarizing the benefits of salting. I can't explain what happened with the pork chop though. Everything else is in line with what we're discussing - especially the comment about steak salting being a matter of personal preference.

                        To dive into what's actually happening to the meat there are three things that salting does to protein, specifically it affects three things:

                        1. Flavor
                        Salted meat generally tastes better than unsalted meat, which the exception of some personal preference issues like that mentioned in the article about steak. Some people (esp with higher grade meat) people enjoy the bite of salt on the outside contrasting with the pure beefy goodness inside. Some people just want the whole steak to be seasoned. You can control this balance by deciding when to salt the steak. I personally prefer salting steaks around 30 minutes before cooking, I find this gives the best balance of of that salty snap on the outside contrasting with good, lightly salted beefy flavor throughout.

                        2. Texture
                        Salting does two things to the texture of the meat, initially it has a slight tenderizing effect, but after some time it does some detrimental things to the texture of the meat. Think of your average salty deli turkey and how mushy it is. That's what prolonged salting does. The key, once again, IMO is to know your protein and find the right balance.

                        3. Moisture retention
                        Salting meat affects the protein structure and allows it to hold more water during cooking. This is really important for cuts like chicken breast or pork loin where there is no fat or collagen to save it from drying out. In cases like this you may even want to consider brining instead of salting, which pumps additional fluid into the meat. I'd be curious to see how that pork chop test turns out in that article if it were brined instead of salted.

                        So the bottom line is - there's no right or wrong way to do any of this stuff, and at the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference, but it helps to understand the science so you know what you're trying to accomplish with the salt timing.

                  3. re: joonjoon

                    I did not know this about metal! How long is it safe to leave it out at room temp?

                    1. re: DaisyM

                      This morning the roast was still almost completely frozen. I decided to give the metal pan suggestion a try. I've had the roast on a baking sheet with another on top of it. After 30 minutes it has signficantly defrosted! I'm going to leave it out for 30 more minutes, then put it back in the fridge on a rack. I'm hoping it will be completely defrosted tonight so that I can salt it. Thanks everyone....and thanks for teaching me a new trick. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

                      1. re: DaisyM

                        I'm glad it worked for you Daisy! The metal defrosting trick is one of my favorites. :D

                        As for how long to leave it should be fine leaving it out until the whole thing has defrosted if you're planning on cooking it tomorrow.

                        1. re: DaisyM

                          This morning the roast was still almost completely frozen.....

                          How cold is your fridge? Transfer that meat to the top shelf...

                    2. If you have granite countertops, just put it on the stone. They are great heat sinks and will quickly defrost. I realize all the bacteria folks will be all over me, but nobody has gotten sick yet.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        Can I just say once more how great it is to be able to ask a pretty basic question and then have so many generous souls explain what to do and to teach me. I wish I had so much guidance with all aspects of my life! Thank you