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Unread 09-21-2010, 12:24 PM   #1
joeysmac
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Question Anyone compared frozen vs non-frozen meats lately?

Good afternoon all. I was searching the forum to research opinions on smoking frozen vs. "fresh" meats, and whether or not anyone could taste the difference. I could not find many recent posts so I thought I would revisit it.

Assuming no freezer burn, safe handling of meats, and normal cryo-sealed slow freezing techniques, has anyone ever tested the theory that freezing meat makes no difference to the taste and texture once cooked/smoked? Thanks for you input everyone! This isn't for competition's sake either, just for smoking around the house.

(Also let "fresh" mean you bought the meat in a non-frozen form and you assume that it had not been previously frozen)
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Unread 09-21-2010, 02:38 PM   #2
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I have never noticed a difference - especially when smoking. Maybe on a prime dry-aged steak, but I've frozen those and never noticed a difference either. I suppose I wouldn't risk it in a national comp, but for most needs - may as well buy/freeze it when the price is right.
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Unread 09-21-2010, 03:48 PM   #3
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i read something somewhere that with pork and chicken there is no noticable difference, but with beef you lose natural moisture when the cells freeze they break open and that is moisture that is usually released on cooking, but now it just leaks out as the meat thaws. i dunno if there is any truth to that, but its what i read.
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Unread 09-21-2010, 04:08 PM   #4
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I've noticed a difference in Chicken - I buy fresh chicken from a local farm and it is incredible. Once I bought frozen, thawed, and cooked like normal and it was night and day.

I usually don't by the same cuts frozen vs fresh so I don't have any other samples to compare.
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Unread 09-21-2010, 06:11 PM   #5
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I have a Foodsaver vacuum sealing thing. I buy meat on sale, and freeze it for months.

Meat will dry out if not protected. Vacuum sealing removes all the air. I don't open the vacuum pouch until the meat is completely thawed.

Alton Brown did a Good Eats episode about freezing. He said to freeze food as quickly as possible. He gave his normal scientific explanation, which I don't remember, but it made sense at the time.
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Unread 09-21-2010, 06:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
I have a Foodsaver vacuum sealing thing. I buy meat on sale, and freeze it for months.

Meat will dry out if not protected. Vacuum sealing removes all the air. I don't open the vacuum pouch until the meat is completely thawed.

Alton Brown did a Good Eats episode about freezing. He said to freeze food as quickly as possible. He gave his normal scientific explanation, which I don't remember, but it made sense at the time.
You want to freeze as quickly as possible to get small ice crystals vs large ones - that's why blast chillers are used commercially.
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Unread 09-22-2010, 10:58 AM   #7
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No one we've ever smoked for notices the difference because by the time the meat gets to the smoker its well defrosted rubbed and injected with full goodness. Having said that I do prefer fresh but that doesn't happen too often
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Unread 09-22-2010, 11:12 AM   #8
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Larger cuts, I don't see a difference if I don't leave them in the freezer too long. I tend to trim pretty aggressively. The fat on the outside that can go rancid after a longer freeze is gone. Ribs don't spend as much time in my freezer and I still trim them up as well. Chicken I prefer to cook fresh, but will freeze and thaw if my cook is postponed for some reason.
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Unread 09-22-2010, 11:17 AM   #9
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The best chicken that I have ever made was in the freezer for about 4 months before I cooked it.
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Unread 09-22-2010, 11:55 AM   #10
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I've been thawing and cooking prime briskets all season without any problems.
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Unread 09-22-2010, 12:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_T_BBQ View Post
You want to freeze as quickly as possible to get small ice crystals vs large ones - that's why blast chillers are used commercially.

^^^ Big T has a point. Make sure to ask how it was frozen.

I was skeptical for many years and tried frozen butts and ribs for the first time this year. First try out, placed 1st in Ribs and 6th in Pork. Made me a believer really quick.
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Unread 09-22-2010, 12:39 PM   #12
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Everything we get here is frozen!
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Unread 09-22-2010, 07:12 PM   #13
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Buying Ribs and whole chickens from RD is a no brainer for us. It did take the damn chickens 2 days to thaw out. The Ribs they carry have been the best yet ive been able to get my hands on. $155 per case is not a bad deal for baby backs. Their membranes tear off real easy unlike Costco's Swift brand. Picked up a 20lb brisket there for $41 and i did a thread 2 weeks ago showing the results. We go through a lot of meat in our house, but the price break i get shopping at RD with the large quantities is a no brainer.
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Unread 09-23-2010, 12:41 AM   #14
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When meat is on sale I usually bulk up and freeze. I think virtually everything is a tad bit better when fresh. Perhaps a 10% improvement over frozen.
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Unread 09-24-2010, 11:09 AM   #15
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I freeze all meats and don't notice a difference as long as I thaw it properly (in refrigerator). Its when I forget to take the meat out and have to thaw it in cold water or something that I notice a lack of tenderness. In my personal opinion, fresh only makes a big difference when it comes to fish. With other meats, its the quality of the meat to begin with, not whether it has been frozen or not.
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