We’ve all been there. About to throw a big party but someone forgot to take the beef out of the freezer. This unfortunate situation can happen to any of us and it has certainly happened to me more times than I would care to admit.
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However, cutting frozen ground beef might not be the uphill battle that you thought it to be. There are many many ways to get frozen ground meat separated from a huge chunk that has been left alone in your freezer for a while. So why wait? Let’s see all the ways I know how to cut frozen ground beef.
What Is The Best Way To Cut Frozen Ground Beef Without Thawing?
Well, If I am being honest, the best way to cut frozen ground beef is not to cut a fully frozen piece of meat at all. It is a dangerous and messy task that you should avoid if you can.
At the very least, you are looking for a way to soften the edges of the meat so that your choice of cutting tool can sink its teeth into the meat (quite literally). If that was not obvious, a serrated chef’s knife or even a butcher’s saw will be your best friend.
From anecdotal evidence, others might suggest a meat slicer or an electric saw/knife. But a serrated knife is what most people have laying in their kitchen and combined with all the times I have chopped up a frozen beef piece using a serrated blade, I would say it is the best and most accessible way to get this job done.
Read on to understand exactly how to get it done!
Can I Cut Frozen Meat With A Meat Slicer?
The simple answer is yes. You can indeed cut frozen meat using a meat slicer. However, not all meat slicers will work. A piece of meat that has been frozen solid can be incredibly hard and will damage your slicer blade.
A heavy-duty good quality meat slicer is what you are looking for here. It will cut through your frozen piece, but you might still want to thaw it out just enough so that the edges of the meat are softened.
How To Cut Frozen Ground Beef With A Meat Slicer?
The first thing you need to do is keep the meat inside the packaging it came in. That is going to make your life the easiest. But if you stored it in a ziplock bag, that should be fine too.
- Run your meat block under cold or lukewarm water from your faucet.
- Do not use warm water as that can accelerate bacterial growth and even cook the meat.
- Once the whole block seems a bit softer to the touch but the inside is still solid as a rock, you are ready to slice.
- Check if your meat slicer blade is sharp or not. If not, here is the guide on how to sharpen a meat slicer blade you can follow to make your blade working smoothly.
- Stick a few pieces of parchment paper on the flat side of your meat slicer so that you can easily place the sliced meat without getting meat juice all over your machine.
- Then all you would need to do is set the meat slicer to its thickest settings and slice away, package and all.
Once your minced meat is sliced, you should immediately take out all the packaging or ziplock material and let it rest. These thinner pieces will thaw much faster and you can even recombine them to get your chunk of ground meat back.
Note: After cutting frozen ground beef, clean your meat slicer and keep it in a safe place.
Also Read: How To Fix Tough Corned Beef (Reason, Solution & Prevention)
Can You Cut Ground Beef With An Electric Knife?
This is a process that I absolutely do not recommend to people often. I don’t really like electric knives. They are messy and send frozen meat chunks flying all over your kitchen.
Nevertheless, if you do not own a meat slicer or a simple serrated knife, the electric knife can definitely get your frozen ground meat cut up. Just be careful not to cut yourself.
How To Cut Frozen Ground Beef With An Electric Knife?
Before you do anything, soften up the edges of the meat with cold water like before. Whatever method you use, this step should absolutely not be avoided as without it, your knife will slip on the surface of the meat and can take a finger out of your hand pretty easily.
So once that is done, grab a kitchen or hand towel so that you can grab the cold meat wrapped in the towel. Get a really good grip, and I mean really really good.
Place the whole thing onto a granite countertop or if you do not have that, a steady cutting board works just as well.
Now you are going to decide how thick of a piece you need to cut. Thinner slices will be a lot more work but they will thaw easily and be ready to cook a lot sooner.
Once you have decided, hold the meat firmly and place the blade of your knife on the surface and turn the knife on. You do not need to do a sawing motion as that is the whole point of an electric knife.
Be gentle but firm and take your time with it. Do not rush as that is just a recipe for disaster. And before you know it, your frozen ground beef will be cut to spec.
If you are wondering, a Sawzall blade works just as well if not better for this method. They have a lot more cutting power and get the same job done a lot faster.
Just be careful that you are using a food-grade stainless steel blade and not the painted ones you use on your toolshed.
Also Read: How To Cut Corned Beef (Easy 5 Steps)
How To Cut Frozen Ground Beef Using A Manual Knife?
First of all, you are going to need a heavy knife. Dollar store knives are going to break or chip on you and maybe even leave chipped metal inside your meat. So please for the safety of you and your family use a good quality heavy and sharp knife.
As I said before, serrated will work the best. Although, it can also be done using a regular old 8 or 9-inch chef’s knife.
Get your meat soft around the edges and place it on a granite countertop or chopping board. Much like the electric knife, we are going to need a sawing motion. Get a really good grip on the other end of your meat using a towel and start sawing.
The serrated knife will easily get a good grip on the meat and you can see through it in no time. A regular knife will need a little bit more pressure and finesse as if you try to strongarm it, the knife will slip.
Just be patient and see through the whole block of meat or however much you need. I promise you this will be the easiest, safest, and most accessible method you will ever find.
How To Cut Frozen Ground Beef With A Butcher’s Saw?
The principle here is exactly the same as the manual knife here. You are going to need to soften the meat up and then get a really good hold on it and see it away.
If you are using this method, I recommend wearing a good pair of cut-proof gloves as butcher’s saws can be pretty big and unwieldy for smaller pieces of meat.
Is It Easier To Cut Frozen Beef Or Thawed?
The answer to this question actually depends on your intended purpose with the meat. If you want to make jerkies or anything else that requires really thin slices, yes, it will be better to freeze your beef before you do that. Also you do need a meat slicer for these even and fine slices.
Because a really thin slice of meat can fall apart very easily on your hands, it is best practice to at least freeze your chunk of beef for 30 mins or a bit longer before doing thin slices.
On the other hand, if you are just looking to cut a regular piece for normal cooking, steak, or whatnot, you will want to thaw it beforehand. It is not super necessary to cut frozen or use fancy tools like meat slicers.
Just thaw your beef and use any knife you would normally use. It is definitely easier this way.
Can I Cook Frozen Ground Beef Without Thawing It?
Yes, you can cook frozen ground beef without thawing it first. However, since frozen meat will require a lot more heat energy to cook up to a safe eating temperature than regular meat, the cooking time of your dish will increase significantly.
You will need to make sure that the entire ground beef is separated as it normally would and there are no solid chunks that are stuck together. Please be careful to ensure this as without it you might catch a nasty food poisoning case.
What Is The Best Tool To Cut Ground Frozen Beef?
After explaining all of my favorite methods, I would like to reiterate the fact that among all these tools, the best one to chop up ground frozen beef is definitely a good old serrated kitchen knife or a butcher’s saw.
It will cut your frozen ground beef up without creating a mess and if you are careful, there are minimal chances for any injury.
Does Freezing Ground Beef Make It Tough?
While freezing any meat once or twice will not really alter its texture in any meaningful way, repeated freezing and refreezing will make any meat tough. And that includes your ground beef.
Because meat includes a high quantity of water, freezing causes ice crystals to form within the meat’s structure. When the meat is defrosted, the ice crystals break the fibers and cause bleeding.
It makes the meat lose a lot of juice that would otherwise make your cooked meat juicy and tender. So yes, freezing ground beef more than once can make it tough.
What Is The Fastest Way To Unfreeze Frozen Ground Beef?
The fastest and easiest way to unfreeze frozen ground beef is definitely the microwave. Most microwaves have a defrost setting and the manual will also tell you how long you need to run it for one lb of meat.
Following these instructions will get your frozen beef thawed in the absolute quickest way.
Another way to unfreeze frozen ground beef is to submerge it in a warm water bath. Make sure that the water is not hot or boiling and is just slightly warmer than lukewarm.
Finally, the last fast method is to just use a Sawzall, or serrated knife to cut thin pieces out. Thin pieces will thaw out a lot faster than big chunks and your entire block of meat will unfreeze a lot quicker.
What is the best way to cut frozen meat?
In my perspective, I like to cut the frozen meat with an electric knife, like a Sawzall. Because using it, you can cut the beef instantly while it has frozen.
You need not wait to thaw it to cut accurately. And you can keep the rest of the ground meat in the freezer without affecting any bacteria.
Can you cut frozen meat with a hacksaw?
You can probably use a hacksaw to cut frozen meat. But I didn’t do any experiments on it. Since it is equipment to cut the metal, you can cut the beef with a bone while it is frozen. But you have to use it slowly and steadily.
How long does ground beef take to thaw on the counter?
It is about 24 hours. You can thaw the frozen meat by keeping it overnight on the countertop. Then if you see the meat thawed, it is okay. But if it doesn’t work, then let the time flow and wait for 24 hours.
How long does ground beef last in the freezer?
When you store your ground beef in the freezer, try not to keep it for a long time. But it is temporarily okay to keep beef in the freezer for a maximum of 4 months. Do not cross the time limits, and if it expires, it will hamper your health.
Can you cut frozen meat with a Sawzall?
Yes. I personally like the trick to use Sawzall to cut the frozen meat. Because in most methods, you need to thaw the meat first to cut the beef in a good shape, but using this method, you can cut the ground meat while it is frozen.
How can you tell if frozen ground beef is bad?
Generally, the frozen beef becomes rot and it starts to change color. Basically, the fresh beef remains red, but it turns gray or brown on the outside when it is going too bad. You can identify the texture and smell of the meat, whether it isn’t good or not.
And there it is! Now you know all the best methods there are to cut frozen ground beef. Hopefully, this will save you a lot of time during busy workdays and you would not need to defrost entire chunks of ground beef only to refreeze more than half of it!