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Thawing question...

I had some steaks in my freezer that I stored in vacuum sealed bags (1 steak per bag). I took them out last night about 7pm to that on the counter, but forgot about them until 5am this morning when I bolted up right in bed and ran downstairs to out them in the fridge. They were completely thawed and room temp - but sealed in air tight bags.

Here's the million dollar question...can I still eat them or should I toss them? I don't really want to toss them as they were expensive and I BBQ my steaks until medium (no pink). What are everyone's thoughts on this?

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  1. What temperature is your thermostat on overnight? Assuming 65 degrees or less, I'd have no qualms eating them. I know that all the experts say not to thaw frozen meat at room temp, but we regularly take meat out of the freezer in the morning and leave it on the counter until we get home.

    2 Replies
    1. re: masha

      My thermostat is at about 70 degrees.

      I usually do thaw meat on my counter but never have it done it for this long. I just completely forgot about it!!

      1. re: quiltingqueen

        Even if your room temp was 85F, I'd still eat them.

    2. if you peruse the home cooking boards you will see this question asked and answered hundreds of time. the answers are always the same:

      1) Sure, no problem! I'd eat it.

      2) NO WAY!! Danger danger throw it out!

      3) somewhere in the middle

      1. It really depends on what you are willing to risk and the health of the persons eating the steak.

        If the diners are in relatively good health, and is not immunoconpromised, then go for it.

        If you have a most important appointment/presentation/meeting/travel event upcoming this week and cannot afford to have a dicey stomach, then maybe don't eat it.

        If you are serving it to the public, I would say don't eat it.
        Some bacteria can still multiply in the absence of oxygen.

        Once you've weighed all the consequences, and decide to go ahead with cooking it, make sure you rinse the meat well (assumption here, of course is you've popped the meat back into the fridge awaiting supper) , pat dry and season and then cook it to desired doneness.

        Good luck! I know I would have this niggling little voice in the back of my mind reminding me I have temperature abused the steak and I know, for me, that would take away from the enjoyment I'd get from eating it.

        1. id rub them with a potent potable (vodka, rum, not wine) cut them up and make stew, something where the meat cooks a long time. i'd have trouble throwing them out too. But I wouldn't be feeding them to guests as steak thats for sure.

          The biggest issue is you don't know what kind of micro-beasts were there when they went into the freezer and have been re awakened. Had it been something cooked and then sealed it would be less risky.

          The safe answer is to use it as an expensive lesson and toss them.

          1. My mother regularly took out frozen beef/pork/lamb around 9:00 PM and let them thaw overnight and in the morning put them into the fridge until she was ready to cook them that night. Did this for decades and none of us ever had food poisoning.

            There are some caveats. This procedure was fine for her for most of the year but not during the summer. She also never left chicken/fish out that long. Room temperature in our house was also probably slightly cooler than average.

            1. If well sealed, I probably would have NO problem eating. A tip for NEXT time! An individual steak (or at least in single layer) will totally thaw and be ready to cook/eat after no more than a half hour in barely luke-warm water.

              1 Reply
              1. Should be fine, they were vacuum sealed which helps a lot.

                1. I'd definitely eat them without hesitation, but that's just me, & I'm definitely not as anal about this as others are. (And I don't mean "anal" here in a derogatory fashion, just as a description re: how many folks are re: food safety.)

                  In this case, it took the steaks a certain amount of time to thaw, & then most likely an hour or two to reach room temperature, which many highly-regarded cooks/chefs consider optimum for grilling purposes. I really don't think your "danger" window, even if you were anal about it, is all that great.

                  1. Tough call. They are vacuum sealed, but they are left in room temperature for 10 hours. I would open them up and touch and smell. If it feels normal (no mushy buildup) and it smells fresh, then you are probably ok. However, you will need to cook them thorough. None of that medium-raw for you.

                    1. It's a risk assessment on your part but I've had this happen countless times and survived.

                      1. Any reason why you're not mentioning whether you've smelled the meat or what color/texture it is? If the steaks are thick-ish then it probably took several hours for them to thaw out. The rule after that is usually 2 hours, so you're something like 4 hours over that.

                        Personally, I'd smell the meat as my primary decision-maker. If it still smells clean and fresh I'd
                        be OK with it. It has probably gone somewhat gray in color, but that is not an automatic sign it's bad. Also, if it's on the slimy side, I'd be hesitant, Smell is more of an indicator for me though.

                        Just don't send those of us who said YES the doctor bill. ;o]]

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Midlife

                          Thanks for all your tips! And I'd never rat you guys out to my doctor - LOL!

                        2. Since I'm still new to this forum I'm hoping that if I reply to myself I will reach all of you that helped with my query...

                          I decided to cook the steaks and we just finished eating them - they were delicious!! There was no bad smell, off color or mushi-ness, so I marinaded them and then BBQ'd like normal. So far so good! :)

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: quiltingqueen

                              Glad they turned out well, & you'll be just fine.

                            2. 'SV' them. You're half way there. LOL
                              Seriously IMO I eat them no problem. If the meat was burger I'd toss it definitely.

                              13 Replies
                                1. re: Midlife

                                  I think she means "Sous Vide" them, meaning cooking in the vacuum sealed bag.

                                  Look at me...I actually know some cooking terminology - LOL!

                                  Now, not 100% sure what "IMO "stands for, but taking in the context, I would think it means "I most often"

                                  1. re: quiltingqueen

                                    I M O
                                    In My Opinion

                                    unless you are referring to that old non dairy sour cream substitute.

                                    1. re: quiltingqueen

                                      Ah, Yes. Thanks. But cooking steaks in a vacuum sealed bag???? Really? Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense or sound very good at all.


                                      Could be Puffin3's post was TIC (Tongue In Cheek). ;o]

                                      1. re: Midlife

                                        I think there might be a few peopel who disagree with you. I have never had sous vide cooking but it's pretty popular and many people enjoy it, steak included.

                                        1. re: Midlife

                                          It was a joke...they were being funny. It was tongue-in-cheek kind of humor. I got it right away. :)

                                          1. re: quiltingqueen

                                            Yea, my first impression was it was a joke but clearly a week of jury duty has clouded my sense of humor :)

                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                              A week of jury duty...that doesn't sound like fun. Hope you're getting back to normal again soon :)

                                              1. re: quiltingqueen

                                                Yes, I had the lovely fortune of being selected for a murder trial in Baltimore...it's been a week of many emotions. It was an interesting experience and honestly one that I am glad to have had, but it's still been more emotionally exhausting than I imagined it would be. In fact, last Friday after only 3 days of the trial I walked in the door at 5pm and had the sudden urge to order gargantuan amounts of greasy, oily, high sugar Chinese food which I promptly did (mind you, this is very out of character. I am a Chinese food fan and usually order it at least biweekly but this was an all out I need this food right now and no other food will suffice) and consumed most of it. My SO was in awe. I guess my body was feeling more off than my mind had yet recognized.

                                                Your post was timely though as we had a few steaks out this week which suffered the same fate which were cooked and I'm still here to tell about it.

                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                  WOW! What a week you've had!! I'd be ordering Chinese Food, too!! Glad to hear it's over with (I hope...)

                                                  1. re: quiltingqueen

                                                    Yes it's over and I think I get a 5 year reprieve before I am called again which will likely be on January 24, 2018 as I am usually called every year.

                                                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    <to order gargantuan amounts of greasy, oily, high sugar Chinese food >

                                                    How does greasy, oily, and overly sweet food calm your emotion? I would think sleeping pill is the way to rest. :)

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      I'm pretty sure it elevated my serotonin and dopamine to great levels which calmed my mind.

                                    2. when in doubt, throw it out

                                      1. Thanks everyone - you ALL are awesome for replying to me so quickly, and I love some you sense of humor!! :) I am still feelin' good and am not worried about any side effects anymore. The steak was so delicious, I still have fond memories of it on my palate - LOL!

                                        I will be sure to post here if I have another food related question - and I'm sure it won't long as I'm not the greatest cook and the kitchen is my least favorite room in the house (hence why I need all the help I can get!). The sewing room on the other hand...

                                        1. I would totally still use them.

                                          1. I'd have had no problem cooking and eating them, either. One other thing: 'no pink' is not medium...that's well done. I wouldn't have eaten them then.

                                            1. I would eat them and I have never had a problem with eating meat thawed over night at room temp.

                                              1. I'd eat them. Then I'd go quilt.