HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Last minute dinner party! How to quickly defrost/cook 5 lb. roast?

I realize I'm a maniac. Most people, if they suddenly learned that there would be 10 people for dinner, would go out and buy a package of chicken breasts or boil up a pot of pasta. Instead of that sensible approach, I rooted through my freezer and hauled out a 5 lb. standing rib roast (that really needed to be cooked soon) to cook for tonight's dinner. It was vacuum packed so I threw the whole package in a tub of warm water - but this only defrosted the outside. Dinner is to be served in about 3-1/2 hours and I'm trying to figure out how to get this thing cooked. I want to do it on the gas barbecue. Should I season it and throw it onto the grill, indirect heat, on low for as long as it takes? Will the insides cook to edibility? Any other suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Oh, dear. I wish you luck. If they like it rare in the center, it could be fine. But really, why not run to the store and get something that is a sure bet? Why not the sensible approach?

    2 Replies
    1. re: wyogal

      It's 4 p.m. here right now. Maybe I should put it on the the grill - low, indirect - right about now. Could it be ready around 7?

      1. re: Nyleve

        I have done it, in the oven from a mostly frozen state. It took about 15 minutes per pound longer than I expected and was well done on the outside and med rare inside. Ok for my crowd, but wasn't the best roast I ever made and not something I would intentionally do again.

    2. Not ideal, but try the defrost cycle on hour microwave. But if I were you, I'd come up with a plan B.

      1. Sometimes, Nyleve, things work out so that you just can't get there from here. You will never cook a frozen five pound roast in the time you have available and defrosting it in the microwave, even at a moderate power setting, will cause it to cook unevenly and you won't be please with serving it to your guests. If you can't make it to the supermarket, order pizza or Chinese. Just forget about trying to make the roast work in this instance. It's fine if you go ahead and defrost it for a later meal, but it ain't gonna work for tonight.

        1. If you have the proper tools, you could try cutting the roast into sections, then immersing in a sealed bag in cool water. You won't have a roast, but you may successfully defrost the meat and still have time to cook it. In the past, I have bought 3" or more thick rib "roasts" which I have cooked on the gas grill to great success. You just have to have an implement which can cut through frozen meat. Since this is sort of an emergency situation, maybe an electric knife would do. But I wouldn't do it alone - I would want someone there to help steady the meat while I ran the knife. Not an ideal situation, but perhaps workable. Good luck.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lisavf

            I think it would be safer to run to the grocery store.

          2. I know it's insane. But I'm doing it. It's on the bbq right now. Defrosted the outsides, seasoned and put on indirect heat - outside burners on low, middle one off. Fortunately these are all good friends (plus my husband) returning from a week-long canoe trip so they'll pretty much be happy to eat anything they don't have to cook themselves. Fingers crossed. There's also corn, green beans and a big caprese salad. And wine - lots of that. And just in case you were thinking that, well, maybe I am not completely nuts after all, I also made ice cream.

            I promise to report results - good, bad or ugly - if they untie my arms from the straitjacket so I can use the computer.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Nyleve

              I'll be curious how it turns out! The wine is key, and when you have other stuff, as you do, it always works out fine.

              For future note: the restaurant trick for defrosting rapidly is to place your frozen item in bowl, add cool water, and keep the faucet running on it, cold water in a slow and steady stream.

              Good luck, sounds like you'll have fun!

              1. re: Nyleve

                On low? and it's probably frozen in the middle. I'd turn it up, and come up with plenty of appetizers.

              2. Ha! It was fine! Not perfect, but absolutely fine. Actually a little more cooked than I would have wanted - shockingly - but tender and more than acceptable to a bunch of grizzled canoers. The roast was about 1/3 defrosted when I put it on the grill, which had been preheated. I then turned the center burner turned off. Let it brown a bit on top, then turned the left and right burner down to medium-low for a couple of hours. I actually ended up turning it all right off about half an hour before we ate because I was afraid it was getting overdone - which it sort of was. We could have eaten it at that point and I think it would have been perfect.

                So there. I do not recommend this type of entertaining strategy for anyone else but it seemed to have worked for me this time.

                The ice cream, by the way, was fantastic. Will post about it tomorrow. Peach pistachio.

                6 Replies
                  1. re: Nyleve

                    this thread made me laugh out loud, thanks for updating it!

                    I love that everyone was saying, "no, bad idea, move on to something else." and you were all, "i'm doing it! Here we go!". Admittedly, I thought it was a wee bit crazy too, and I'm so glad it wasn't the ruin of a perfectly good crown roast.

                    1. re: rabaja

                      Sometimes I surprise even myself.

                          1. re: rabaja

                            Fearlessness is the key, combined with forgiving friends and plenty of wine. Don't try this approach when you're entertaining someone who makes you nervous.