General Question

tedibear's avatar

Will it be better, in terms of quality, to cook and freeze this meat, or to simply refreeze it?

Asked by tedibear (18964points) November 23rd, 2014

I defrosted a beef brisket in the refrigerator. When I looked at the size of it, versus the size of my slow cooker, I knew that the whole thing wouldn’t fit. I put the barbecue rub on the whole piece of meat, put half of the meat in the slow cooker and half in a freezer bag. The half that is in a freezer bag is currently in the refrigerator.

In terms of taste and texture, would it be better to cook that piece and freeze it like leftovers, or simply wrap it correctly for the freezer and make it some other day?

Best answer gets to come over for dinner!

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15 Answers

jca's avatar

I have always heard that you should not refreeze meat. I did ask this question once when I first came to Fluther and a lovely elderly member’s response was “google.” (you can research my questions to see which lovely elderly member I am referring to). Anyway, I would say cook and freeze, rather than refreeze raw.

janbb's avatar

I think I’d be inclined to cook pieces in separate batches and keep the second in the fridge to be eaten later in the week. However, if it is made with a fair bit of liquid, i.e. gravy, you could cook it and freeze it.

canidmajor's avatar

I have refrozen meat often in this type of situation with no I’ll effects. I like the taste and texture better if it is refrozen raw, then cooked after thawing. Be mindful of the meat, don’t let it sit out for a long time at room temp before refreezing (duh, you know this) and cook thoroughly and completely when you do use it (and, duh, you know this, too.)

ibstubro's avatar

I’m totally with @jca on this one. I have been told all my life that you should not re-freeze raw meat, and I never have/do. It’s a treat to find in the freezer meat that has been cooked, portioned, and frozen! I have a vacuum sealer that makes sure the meat stays good.

Hamburger is great this way. 5–8 pound of hamburger makes about the same mess as one pound when cooking/crumbling. Afterward, open as many freezer bags/containers as you had pounds of burger, and portion each one equally. Use one, freeze the rest. You’re now mess-free minutes away from that burger dish!

marinelife's avatar

Cooking it first would be better for taste and texture.

tedibear's avatar

@jca and @ibstubro – In terms of food safety, you can re-freeze meat as long as it was thawed correctly. Unless you meant texture and taste, in which case, what issues have you found with doing this.

I agree with @ibstubro about having meal portioned and waiting in the freezer. That’s part of the reason for the question. I just wasn’t sure which way would lend better texture and taste.

janbb's avatar

@tedibear Why not conduct an experiment and do some of it each way?

ibstubro's avatar

Strictly anecdotal, @tedibear. I was always told I could not re-freeze food that had been previously frozen, and therefor I’ve never tried it.

I’m a hoarder’s hoarder. If one is good, 2 is twice as good. Were I in your place, I’d simply break out some more slow cookers and cook the lot at the same time.

BTW, as much as I hate advocating cooking in plastic, are you using a liner in your slow cooker? Minor miracle.

gailcalled's avatar

Cooking the second half of the brisket in a heavy pot on top of the stove for several hours at a simmer (with sliced onions and some broth) is easy. Then slice and freeze in several different packets with a little gravy. Brisket is a very forgiving meat.

My mother, a mediocre cook, had two company dishes…one was brisket.

janbb's avatar

Forgive us, Brisket, for we have sinned!

jerv's avatar

Personally, I’ve found the refreezing (and often just freezing it in the first place) affects most things in unpleasant ways. I’m not so sure about brisket though, as most of the brisket I’ve ever had was my stepfather’s, and he’s from the “low and slow” school (marinate for a day or so, then smoke on a wood grill at 220-ish for 16–18 hours), which pretty much erases all traces of mistreatment that the meat has been through by the time it’s ready.

RocketGuy's avatar

I’ve done both and never got sick. Texture of raw, refrozen meat after cooking is not as good, but taste is the same. If you cook it in a recipe then freeze, you can thaw and eat conveniently. Texture is ok.

Haleth's avatar

Consensus seems to be you shouldn’t re-freeze raw meat. I’ve cooked and re-frozen meat before, and for some reason that isn’t so great either. For best taste, you should probably make another dish with the second half of the meat, and then freeze the whole thing together. Soups and stews freeze really well.

ibstubro's avatar

I try not to freeze any meat that has air in the package. My freezers burn it too fast.
Raw or cooked? Meat is vacuum packed for freezer life.
And no, I cannot offer you any advice on vacuum packing. My system is obsolete.

StaceyD's avatar

I find no matter how well you seal the package, meat that is refrozen never tastes as good and tends to get freezer burn. I would cook it and freeze or refrigerate it to eat later in the week, it is sure to taste better.

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