How to Cook a Frozen Steak (Without Thawing First)
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How to Cook a Frozen Steak (Without Thawing First)


This steak recipe is brought to you by Skillshare,
a website where you can learn how to do almost anything. There’s more than 25,000 courses
to choose from for less than $10 a month. Sign up with my link in the description you’ll
get a two-month trial for free. Yes, you can cook a frozen steak without thawing
it first. It is not quick, but’s very easy, and the results are arguably better than conventional
cooking. Several sources suggest that you start by searing your frozen steak in oil
in a super-hot pan. But if your steak has lots of ice crystals on it, they’re gonna
explode in the hot oil. Very messy and dangerous. America’s Test Kitchen addresses this problem
by using a special freezing procedure to minimize ice crystal formation. But when I cook a frozen
steak, it’s because somebody else already froze it. Specifically, I’m working with these
beautiful ribeyes from cattle reared by students at Berry College. They aim for choice beef,
but that almost looks like prime to me. Gorgeous, but they’re already frozen. I’m not gonna
refreeze them. Food science writer Nathan Myhrvold has a
different solution to the exploding steak problem: sear the steak with a blowtorch.
That works. But you probably don’t have a blowtorch, or if you do, you probably have
one of these little ones. I use this for making creme brûlée, but it’s a little under-powered
for this job. Takes a long time. No, to me, the best way of cooking a frozen
steak with a normal home oven is to use the reverse searing method that all the cool kids
are into. Set your oven to its lowest temperature. Mine
is 170 F, but this is not precise. Home ovens are bad at holding very low temperatures.
Just get yours as low as it says it’ll go. You can cook the steak on anything, but a
rack on a baking sheet helps the outside tp dry up, which makes for a better crust later. In it goes, no oil, no seasoning. Frozen solid.
Feels weird, right? While we’re waiting, let’s do a little experiment.
Let’s thaw the other Berry College ribeye using what I think is the best home-thawing
method — submerging it in trickling cool water. That took about half an hour to thaw. It’s been an hour since I put the unthawed
steak into the oven. A thinner steak would be done by now, but I can feel the tip of
the thermometer hitting ice inside this monster steak. It’s gonna need more time. I’ll grab
the thawed steak and get it cooking too. Unthawed steak is on the right. OK, after an additional hour and a half, these
are both temping at about 115 F. For medium rare, that’s what you want at this stage,
because it’s gonna go up another 10-15 degrees when we sear them in a very hot pan of oil. I’m just seasoning them traditionally, salt
and pepper, and starting with the unthawed steak. This goes very quickly. Maybe a minute
on side A. Flip it, give side B 30 seconds. Then throw in some butter, rosemary and garlic,
and baste with a spoon. I usually do one more flip to get both sides nice and basted. And
as soon as the outside looks done, it’s done. While that one rests, I’ll sear the steak
that we thawed. Same method. By the way, the key to this butter-basting technique is to
save it until the last 30 seconds, otherwise the butter will burn. OK, unthawed steak is rested. Let’s slice
it up and have a look-see. If that looks a little over-done to you, remember that I’m
getting tons of natural light in my kitchen. That sunlight is on the cool end of the color
temperature scale, which makes reds look way less intense. I think that steak came out
perfect. A little crunchy finishing salt on top, and that is insanely good. Perfectly
cooked, super tender. Let’s try the other steak. Same cut, probably
from the same Berry College cow, same reverse-searing method. All we did differently is thaw it
first. That is delicious, but it is no better than
the unthawed steak. If anything, the unthawed steak seems a little bit more tender to me,
perhaps because of the longer slow-cooking time. Conclusion? The only reason to thaw
your steaks before cooking them is to save time. If you can wait a couple hours, throw
them right into the oven. Oh, real quick, see this thin boarder of gray
right underneath the crust? It doesn’t bother me, but I wouldn’t call it ideal. Theoretically,
searing your frozen steak before slow-cooking the interior prevents the gray band from forming.
Basically the meat underneath the crust is too cold to get over-cooked during the searing
stage. If you want to explore those options for searing your frozen steak at the beginning
of cooking, those links are in the description. You could also just do this whole thing on
the grill, if you’re that good at heat control. I am not. Cooking a frozen-solid steak. Who woulda thunk
it? Boy, you learn something new everyday, but
you can accelerate that process by signing up for Skillshare. Whether you’re looking
to advance your hobby or totally change your career, this is a great place to start. You
wanna get better at cooking cow? Take Pat LaFrieda’s Beef 101 course. Want to learn
how to take beautiful pictures of your steak? Take Fundamentals of DSLR photography with
Justin Bridges. Don’t want to blow much money on a real camera, like this one? I really
don’t blame you. Take the iPhone photography course from Dale McManus. Or learn how to
do web development, marketing, entrepreneurship. It’s not just like watching a video tutorial.
Skillshare is interactive. These are real courses, and they’re designed to make sure
that you’re gonna be up to speed by the end. Thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this video.
And because you watched it, you can get two months of Skillshare Premium for free. Just
follow my sign-up link in the description. Now excuse me, I have steak to eat.

About Earl Carter

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100 thoughts on “How to Cook a Frozen Steak (Without Thawing First)

  1. Q: Why did you season your steak and not your cutting board, like you did in this video? https://youtu.be/02tRxM_1VsE
    A: I try to only demonstrate or test one unusual technique at a time. This is a basic tenet of experimentation. You change one variable at a time. If you do two different things at once, you might not be sure which variable caused which result. I just didn't want to muddy the water or ignite people's passions by distracting them with the whole board sauce thing. One weird technique at a time. Also, I don't cook things the same way every time. I like steak lots of ways.

    Q: Would sous vide do a better job?
    A: Maybe, ask Guga! I, like most people, don't have an immersion circulator. But most people have an oven and a pan. Certainly sous vide would do it faster, but faster isn't always better. The very long, slow cooking seems to tenderize the steak. Kenji speculates this is the result of enzymatic action that is activated by the low oven temperature: https://www.seriouseats.com/2017/03/how-to-reverse-sear-best-way-to-cook-steak.html

    Q: Did you seriously just leave your sink water trickling for half an hour to thaw that steak?
    A: Yes. It was maybe a toilet flush worth of water. Fresh water is not scarce where I live. This is an ecologically insignificant amount of water, especially considering that it takes almost 2,000 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. If you want to do something good for the environment, eat less meat. I've been lowering my meat intake quite a lot for that reason. Barely trickling cool water is the best way to speed-thaw meat, for reasons discussed here: https://youtu.be/X0ahKON2vNY

  2. I just set the frozen steak on the counter just long enough to let the surface ice crystals melt. Then dry it off with a paper towel and grill or sear in the pan as usual. The cooler inside temp helps me not over cook it if it's a thinner cut while waiting for the nice crust to form on the outside. Takes all of a few minutes, no hours of waiting.

  3. 2:00 “Unthawed.” That word has always sounded weird to me when people use it to mean “thawed.” But AR uses it here as “frozen,” which makes sense.

  4. why i season the students at berry college and not the ribeyes i got from cattle reared by students over at berry college

  5. You should honestly just use an immersion circulator, Adam. You're basically just recreating the same cooking method but in an oven, which is messier.

  6. Um, torch the frozen steak slightly, just to remove any unnecessary ice and then sear it like you would normally do? PROFIT?!

  7. Why don't u put the steak in the fridge for 24 hours and let it defrost? It's been known that this method of thawing will taste the best, no?

  8. You're supposed the thaw meat in trickling water to prevent bacteria from possibly leaking juices from the steak contaminating it and getting you sick. The trickling agitates the water to stop bacteria and refresh all the water

  9. It's enjoyable seeing all this effort put into the theory of optimal thawing when my $20 microwave has a defrost setting and does the job perfect in a few minutes

  10. I've had good luck just rinsing the frozen steak in water to remove ice and then pat dry with a paper towel. Cook in a hot pan for a couple minutes on each side, then put in the oven for 15 minutes or so. Gets a nice crust and the inside is a very consistent medium rare.

  11. Temperature is too hot when putting butter in. It burned. Lower the temperature, butter needs to look foamy, not a brown sludge.

  12. To remove ice crystals, run the steak under warm water for just a few seconds so the ice crystals melt then dry it with a paper towel.

  13. 30 seconds into the vid he says this method is not quick. First thing that comes to mind is then just let the fking steak thaw then

  14. wait until he realizes that reverse searing literally invalidates the experiment. he even admits it at 2:16 ?????????

  15. I rather defrost it in a bag with hot water or for a couple of hours. Then season it Dominican style, then cook it in the oven from an hour to 30 min. While flipping steak. When he cook it for 30 seconds, it still look raw. I love mines with all juice inside. I dont believe in frying 😎

  16. Me:ah i think i dont have a blowtorch

    remembers my dad is a war criminal and he has a flamethrower in the basement

    P.S. this is just a joke we dont evena have a basement

  17. Hey Adam, would you consider doing some typically oven cooked recipes on the stove? I love your channel and have used your tips but I’ve recently moved and I really appreciate how accessible you make your techniques. Thanks in advance if you see this and proceed!

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