How Long Does This Roast Need to Thaw?

(The best ways to thaw beef before cooking.) 

Photo by Wesual Click

One of the things you might discover in your freezer after purchasing a beef through Wholesome Beef Direct are roasts.  Of course, you can choose other options when you talk to your processor about how you want your beef cut, but some portions of the carcass are suited well for roasts.  There are about a hundred different ways to use a roast, and we can dive into that more later, but if you’ve never cooked one before, you might find yourself wondering what in the world to do with this big hunk of beef?   

If you have many mouths to feed, you are in luck, and you probably are looking forward to having a roast at the ready.  A roast can be a great way to feed a family for dinner or a large group of people for social gatherings.  (Think barbecue beef, pot roast, French dip…)  Unless you’re utilizing an Instant Pot to go magically from frozen to cooked with the wave or your magic wand, you will want to plan ahead a couple of days before cooking it.  (I lost my magic wand years ago…still can’t find the darn thing!) 

A frozen beef roast ranges from 3-7 pounds, depending on what you requested from the butcher, and can take a day or so to thaw.   Of course, you can use the defrost option on your microwave.  Although this works in a pinch, I personally prefer to thaw it slowly and cook it nearly as slowly.  Roast beef can become overly dry, in my opinion, if you cook it too fast.  While still edible, a dry roast is going to require significantly more of your favorite condiment.   

It’s worth mentioning that you can most certainly cook a roast from the frozen state.  Just be aware it will take about 50% longer to cook, and again, it might be drier or tougher than your palate prefers. 

The USDA food safety guidelines recommend a full day of thawing in the refrigerator for portions of meat one-half up to five pounds.  (Add another day for every five pounds.)  Thawing on the counter is not recommended, as the outer layers of meat can reach unsafe temperatures, allowing unsafe bacteria to grow while the inside is still frozen.  Once thawed, your meat can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days before cooking.  Helpful Hint:  Make sure you place your package of meat in a bowl or tray to prevent a mess in the bottom of your fridge as it thaws. 

If you are like me, though, planning meals this far ahead happens…well, SOMEtimes.  For the other times when you need to thaw beef a little faster but don’t want to resort to nuking it in the microwave, there’s the cold-water bath.  Notice, I didn’t say HOT water, as that runs the risk of fostering harmful bacteria.  For this method, place your roast in an airtight plastic bag if it isn’t already in one, push the air out of it so it doesn’t float in the water, and soak it in a sink or basin of cold water, changing the water about every half hour.  You can thaw a package of hamburger in an hour or less, and a roast might take closer to four hours, depending on how large it is.   

There!  The hard part is over.  Now you can get to work cooking and then enjoying your delicious, healthy meal.  I love being able to put one in the crockpot in the morning to savor for our evening supper, or PJ loves smoking it on the Traeger for a few hours.  We’ll share roast beef cooking tips in a future post, but we’d love to hear about YOUR favorite ways to cook beef roast.  Please comment below or head on over to any of our social media channels to share your favorite roast beef recipes. Pictures are great, too! 

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