Read This Before Buying Frozen Steak

Fresh versus frozen is an ongoing debate regarding the foods we eat, and steak is no exception. Produce and packaged foods are often frozen quickly to avoid losing quality and nutrition, but can the same be said for a frozen steak?

It's a no-brainer that a fresh steak will be juicier, more tender, and overall better when compared to its frozen companion. However, although fresh meat initially ranks higher than a frozen flank, it tends to spoil more rapidly as fresh meat faces oxidation, contact with bacteria, and a significant loss of nutrients (via Meats and Co).

While there are even significant benefits of frozen steak, like its price point and the ability to last longer, quality takes a reasonably big hit when it comes to incorrect storing and thawing, according to chefs interviewed by The Daily Meal.

Frozen steak holds water, making it more susceptible to freezer burn, but once defrosted, it can also seriously affect the texture and juiciness of the meat. According to Eater, this is due to the muscle fibers expanding and shrinking as it freezes and thaws — unless steak is flash-frozen to minimize ice crystals and moisture loss.

Tips for Thawing Frozen Steak

If you opt to buy frozen steaks when grocery shopping, make sure you choose good cuts from a good butcher. They should also be vacuum-sealed to avoid discoloration and loss of flavor. Usually, bone-in or bigger, leaner cuts of meat are good frozen options (via Steak School) based on texture and ability to retain shape.

Always thaw your meat. By letting frozen steaks thaw slowly until they reach room temperature, your steak will cook more evenly later. According to Cooked Best, you can thaw your meat in several ways — sealed in the refrigerator overnight or sealed in a cold-water bath for a few hours on the countertop. If you're in a real pinch, you can defrost it in the microwave. Just make sure you pay close attention so that it doesn't cook. Then, grill, fry or roast the steak to your liking.

Remember that if your steaks have been stowed away in the back of your freezer for more than six months, you should probably think twice. But the FDA notes that an adequately packaged cut of meat can last up to one year until it's deemed unsafe.