How Do Restaurants Defrost Meat: The Wrong Methods Crushed

When it comes to defrosting meat in a restaurant, you need to be extra careful on how to do it because there are strict regulations on which you shouldn’t cross because it could open up the chance for bacteria growth and contamination.

In this article, I will reveal how on earth do restaurants defrost meat in the proper way, and after you have learned that I will tell you how you shouldn’t do it and what could the consequences be if done wrong. Before we get into that we need to understand how do they thaw meat.

Restaurants defrost meat in many ways. The best way to defrost meat is to anticipate the need and place the frozen meat into a refrigerator to thaw, therefore it will be in safe temperatures and it will get defrosted on time. Some restaurants also defrost meats by running cold water on them from the tap.

The most environmentally friendly way is to do it by placing the meats in the refrigerator and it is true that you can defrost the ingredients under running water, however, this will waste huge amounts of water so it shouldn’t be done unless in absolute need.

Let’s take a step further and see different methods of defrosting meats and is it safe to do so.

Is it safe to defrost meat in the microwave

Defrosting meat in the microwave is perfectly safe, however, after you have thawed meat in the microwave you need to cook it immediately because parts of the meat may begin to cook. If the cooking isn’t started shortly after defrosting in the microwave, it opens the possibilities for quick bacteria growth because the temperature is now optimal for that scenario. In fact, according to USDA, this is the exact case so be mindful of that when defrosting meat in the microwave. In addition, you can defrost the meats again after they have been properly cooked.

Can you leave frozen meat out to thaw

This is a valid question because there are many restaurants that actually do this while you shouldn’t. The maximum amount of time you should ever leave perishable food like steaks, poultry, or other meats is two hours.

As we all know, from the time that the last employee leaves the restaurant from the night shift to the time that the first one arrives at the morning shift, there are multiple two-hour periods in that time and the bacteria has already started to grow.

A study made by the USDA shows that if the meat has been at room temperature for more than two hours, or if the outside temperature is over 90°F (32°C) it should be discarded immediately. This is because the bacteria has already grown so much that it isn’t totally safe to use anymore.

Takin into account, you shouldn’t defrost meat outside of the proper areas, for which a refrigerator is the ultimate choice.

Can you cook frozen meat

Everybody that has been working in a commercial kitchen knows that sometimes things just happen and it can be extremely hectic, therefore if you have forgotten to defrost meat and you should start cooking it immediately, but they are in the freezer don’t worry! There’s a way out of this!

Cooking meat that is solidly frozen is as safe as cooking it when it’s chill and well… Not frozen. If you are in a hurry, you can cook frozen poultry, blocks of steaks, and icy pucks of burger patties. As understandable, the actual cooking process will take longer amounts of time and the time extra time cooking is around 50%-100%, depending on what meat it is and how thick is the piece.

In addition, the final quality may not be as excellent as it would have been when cooked straight from the refrigerator, however, the final result isn’t as big as you might imagine. All in all, you don’t need to lose your mind if you have forgotten to defrost the meats earlier because it is safe to cook frozen ones (Do Restaurants Devein Shrimp?) (Do Restaurants Devein Shrimp?).

How do you thaw frozen meat quickly

As we can see there are many ways to defrost meats but if you are in a big hurry, and don’t want to cook frozen solid meats, then you will need to find the quickest way to do so.

The fastest way to defrost frozen meat is in the microwave and depending on the specific piece of meat, it looks usually around 10 minutes to defrost the piece to the point that it resembles one straight from the cooler.

I completely understand if you wouldn’t want to defrost frozen meat in the microwave or wouldn’t want to waste gallons and gallons of water. There is one method that I personally use which is the best choice for the speed, meat’s quality, and the environment.

The way is to fill a container or bowl with cold water and thaw the meat package there. Change the water every 20 to 30 minutes so the water will be optimal for defrosting the meat. Also, don’t use hot water in any circumstances because it can partially start to cook the meat, and it makes it possible for microbes and bacterias to grow. Defrosting the meat this way will uphold the meat’s quality while thawing relatively fast and saving recourses in the process.


This article was all about defrosting meat in a restaurant and there are quite many ways to do so. However, the only way you should ever need to do it is by giving it time to defrost in the refrigerator, therefore it will be of the best quality possible when starting to cook, and the customers will get only the best.

Of course, there are exceptions like in everything where you just may forget or need to think fast because somebody other has forgotten it. What it comes down to is that the restaurant staff is a team that should communicate and carefully reviews the upcoming day’s recipes in advance, so proper preparations can be made well before the need for them.

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS and while I love working in a busy restaurant, I also enjoy more peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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