Freezing, Thawing & Reheating Meats

how to freeze, thaw and reheat meats

I don’t know about how you cook, but I always cook more than I need.
There are two good reasons to cook more. Running out of food is embarrassing and I love leftovers.

The problem with this is that we have to freeze our leftovers and after that reheat them.

Storing meat for a day or 2 can be done by keeping it in the refrigerator, but for longer storage, we need to freeze it.

One of the things that can happen is that meat gets freezer burned or get rangy.
The reason is the so-called oxidation because there is oxygen trapped in our freezer bag.

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The best way to avoid this is by using a vacuum sealer like one of these nice starter vacuum sealer kits. I have no experience with using one of these, so do your research.

The second best way, but according to some people just as good, is submersing your freezer bag in water.
The water pressure will push out all the air and when you close the bag it is pretty much sealed like with a vacuum sealer.

I have no proof that the second method works just as well but many people use it.
Here is a video that explains it probably better than I can.

Before we can even think about reheating our meat it has to thaw out. I like to do that over a longer time in the refrigerator.

The reason is that I think compared to any other method, like warm water, out on the countertop (worsted idea ever) or even the microwave, it is a better food-safety way.
The danger zone for meat to spoil is between 40°F and 140 °F (4°C – 60°C).

Depending on the size of your frozen meat it can take a long time. The easiest way is to give it at least 24 hours per 4 pounds.

Smaller cuts like pork chops can be done with the water method, but keep your eye on it to keep it out of the dangerous temperature zone.

Now we have our meat thawed out safely, it is time to reheat it safely.

As I mentioned leaving meat in the 40°F and 140 °F (4°C – 60°C) zone is not good.
At this temperature, the bacteria multiply at a very fast pass.
Reheating can be done in several ways.

Indoor Oven

Your indoor oven is a perfect place to reheat your leftover meat, but you have to keep a few things in mind to do it safely and without drying it out.

  • Re-apply BBQ sauce
  • Wrap in 2 layers of aluminum foil
  • Add some water (or any other liquid)
  • Place it in a bowl or cookie sheet
  • Heat the oven to 225 °F (107°C)
  • Heat meat up to 155 °F (68°C) internal
  • Broil each side for about 5 – 10 minutes
TIP! When you turn to oven to broil, keep the over door open.
This will prevent the thermostat from shutting of the broiler


This is basically the same method, but you will need a good digital thermometer to make sure the grill is at 225 degrees.

  • Re-apply BBQ sauce
  • Wrap in 2 layers of aluminum foil
  • Add some water (or any other liquid
  • Place it in a bowl or cookie sheet
  • Heat grill up to 225 °F (106°C)
  • Heat meat up to (68°C) internal
  • Move over to the hot side
  • Grill each side for about 5 – 10 minutes
TIP! You need a good grill thermometer to make sure that the temperature is 225 degrees

Use indirect 2 zone set up to create a hot and cold zone.


In my opinion, you should only use the microwave to reheat meat in case of an emergency.
The reason is that a microwave heats any food by activating the water molecules in it.
That means you are steaming your meat.
The oven and grill method heats it from the outside.

The microwave can make your meat mushy if you go a little longer.
Reheating in a plastic bag should prevent it from drying out, but there are several publications that plastic leaches chemicals at higher temperatures.

If you have to use a microwave do it in short bursts and keep your eyes on your meat.

If you have a preferred way of freezing, thawing, or re-heating your meat let me know in the comments below.

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he can find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews he is doing. You can read more on the about page for Eddie van Aken

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