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Old 06-15-2016, 09:46 AM   #1
NCGrimbo
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Default Why defrost?

So I was talking to my brother at the grocery store last night and he was looking at the frozen ribs in my basket when he asked, "Do you ever smoke anything without defrosting first?"

I said, "No"

"Why?"

"I like to peel the membrane off the ribs before I cook them and I didn't think you could do that with frozen ribs."

Then he asked, "If that 10lb pork lion in the basket was frozen, would you defrost it first? After all, there's no membrane on it."

After thinking about it, I said that I would still defrost it. But it got me thinking.

Do we need to defrost meat before putting it in the smoker? Assuming the extra time it will take to cook isn't a factor, what are the upsides and what are the downsides of not defrosting before smoking meat?
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:50 AM   #2
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Putting frozen meat in the smoker will increase the time that it is in the danger zone (40-140 degrees) and could lead to food safety issues.
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:52 AM   #3
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But it would be in that range while you're defrosting it too right?
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:09 AM   #4
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But it would be in that range while you're defrosting it too right?
Not if you're defrosting in the fridge like we are supposed to.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Putting frozen meat in the smoker will increase the time that it is in the danger zone (40-140 degrees) and could lead to food safety issues.
For a thin cut like ribs that wouldn't be an issue at all, as for a Butt I really think you'd have to time it out and it would still be subject to cooking temp, I like to cook Butts at 300.

I haven't done it but I know I have read posts on people that have smoked fully frozen Butts on this forum.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:10 AM   #6
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Good question, haven't tried it but I may, not that many deg between frozen and thawed
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:10 AM   #7
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It will tale longer and seem too me like the rub might not go in as good , I'm just guessing at that. I have cook butt that is not completely thaw, turn out ok
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:23 AM   #8
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I cook frozen neked fatties they hold the round shape and are really moist.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:26 AM   #9
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Juiciest smoked chicken breasts I ever had were started still 25% frozen!
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:30 AM   #10
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Only one way to find out....
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:37 AM   #11
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1. You increase the time spent in the Danger Zone. If you defrost the ribs, you can do safely by keeping it in the Refridgerator that is cooled below 40 F.

2. More even cooking of meats. As the meat cooks if it is frozen, the outside will cook considerably faster than the inside. This makes more impact when cooking items like steak and poultry. On items like ribs, pork butts, and brisket (that are cooked till the interconnective tissue is rendered) this isn't super important provided you can get the meat out of the danger zone within 4 hours. But starting with frozen meat will increase your cook time considerably.
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:03 AM   #12
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Wouldn't be able to get a hook through it to hang in the PBC
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
Putting frozen meat in the smoker will increase the time that it is in the danger zone (40-140 degrees) and could lead to food safety issues.

That would be somewhat questionable. The meat is going into a smoker that is over 200 degrees, so the surface of the meat wouldn't be in the danger zone for very long at all. If it's an intact piece of meat, the danger zone rules don't apply to the internals. If it's not intact, it's frozen in the middle when it goes on, so a good portion of it's time initially will be at sub 40 temps.
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:28 AM   #14
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But starting with frozen meat will increase your cook time considerably.

It will increase the cook time, but will shorten the overall time of the cook once you take defrosting time into account.
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:36 AM   #15
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The idea that any part of the meat would spend more time in the danger zone sounds like bunk to me. I fail to see any physical mechanism for this. Sure it will take longer to hit 140, but the extra time is spent going from 0 to 40. I would love to see evidence that this is really an issue.

Uneven cooking is a bigger issue. The outside will defrost and start cooking much faster than the inside. The main argument for low and slow is more even cooking.

With a stick burner, you don't want cold meat because it will cause condensation to form like on your cocktail glass that sweats on a hot humid day, and that can also lead to creosote and bad smoke flavor.

Wood and charcoal are not free. Why waste all that fuel warming up a piece of meat when ambient temps and patience will do the job?
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