The Best Way To Thaw A Cut Of Bison Meat

You've found a fantastic recipe and gathered all of the right ingredients. Now it's time to execute the rich bison rib roast you've been dreaming of for days, there's just one problem — that cut of bison that's been on standby in the freezer is an icy block in need of some serious thawing. While you might assume that applying heat would be the foolproof method to defrost things efficiently, this isn't actually the best way to go about thawing. Instead, exercise some patience and take a cooler approach.

The reality is that thawing bison is best done slowly, which requires some planning on your part. The best way to defrost really any meat, but particularly bison, is to do so in the refrigerator. Depending on the size of the cut, this could take anywhere from 1 to 2 days, but it's a method that effectively preserves the meat's texture as it gradually turns back to its original form.

Should you need to reduce thaw time, you can go from days to hours by submerging the packaged meat in a bowl of cold water, and changing the water frequently until it has softened up. 

Defrosting bison correctly is in your best interest

Nearly always, bison needs to be thawed before cooking; it should be malleable, particularly if you plan to form it into patties, crumble it into bison chili, or are planning to bread and fry it. Yet there are times when it's acceptable to cook a cut of bison from frozen, say for slow methods like braising or stewing. The only issue is that, even then, differing cuts can cook at different rates, raising the potential for pieces that end up dry on the outside and undercooked on the inside.

The biggest risk in not taking the time to properly thaw bison relates to safety. As opposed to defrosting on the countertop or in the microwave, bison should be thawed in the fridge or in cold water as chillier temperatures present less of a health risk. According to the USDA, bacteria that were present prior to freezing can multiply when left at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which can lead to food poisoning. Because of this, once meat is adequately defrosted, it must be cooked, not refrozen. Stick to these basic tips, and you'll find thawing bison is a breeze.