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Cooking a Frozen Roast Without Thawing


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#1 Pam R

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 03:36 PM

We get most of our meat frozen. There are just no alternatives. So this morning in the kitchen at work we had a discussion (argument maybe?) about cooking a frozen roast -- that is, pulling it out of the freezer, seasoning, placing in a hot oven and cooking it right away. So now there's a 10 or 11 lb. beef shoulder in the oven.

Have you done it? What were the results? Would you do it again? Any hints?

#2 NancyH

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 03:39 PM

My food-safety friends have said that the problem with this is that it is imposbible to get the inside of the roast cooked to a safe temperature without burning/destroying the outermost parts. That's why you have to defrost first.
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#3 Doodad

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 03:39 PM

We get most of our meat frozen.  There are just no alternatives.  So this morning in the kitchen at work we had a discussion (argument maybe?) about cooking a frozen roast -- that is, pulling it out of the freezer, seasoning, placing in a hot oven and cooking it right away.  So now there's a 10 or 11 lb. beef shoulder in the oven.

Have you done it? What were the results? Would you do it again? Any hints?

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I can't imagine the result would be pleasant. No ability to sear, the outside cooking long before the inside. Just sounds like a dried out piece of meat recipe to me.

#4 Pam R

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 03:50 PM

It's not dried out yet, but it's still cooking. It went into a 425 oven, and has developed a nice crust. The very centre was, er, chilly about an hour ago.

For the record -- I said don't do it. Mom/boss wanted to try it.

#5 mtigges

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 04:30 PM

I would much rather add 45 minutes and put it in a water bath.

#6 dougal

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 04:43 PM

It's not dried out yet, but it's still cooking. It went into a 425 oven, and has developed a nice crust. The very centre was, er, chilly about an hour ago.

For the record -- I said don't do it. Mom/boss wanted to try it.

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Ummmmm. Using a meat thermometer should show exactly how well this doesn't work.

Edited by dougal, 05 February 2008 - 04:43 PM.

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#7 Pam R

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 04:58 PM

OK. We took it out when the internal temp was 145. Cooked for 3 1/2 hours at 450 and 400 for another hour. This is a shoulder roast, not a rib roast and we're not looking for rare or even medium rare here. I didn't realize that she had covered it after adding some water to the pan.

We sliced a couple of slices off the end -- it worked. Really, really well. Moist and incredibly tender (could be one of the most tender shoulder roasts I've had). Lots of juice which will make a great gravy. I'm astonished.

#8 kbjesq

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 07:35 PM

If it's not too late, could you please post some pics? I am always confronted with frozen meat, and always at a loss as to what to do with it (after I get home from work at the end of a frustrating day). I've always wondered whether my pressure cooker might be of use here. Any thoughts?

#9 Smithy

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:11 PM

We sliced a couple of slices off the end -- it worked. Really, really well.  Moist and incredibly tender (could be one of the most tender shoulder roasts I've had).  Lots of juice which will make a great gravy.  I'm astonished.

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#10 Pam R

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:15 PM

Sorry, no pictures. I didn't have my camera yesterday and I ran errands on my way to work this morning -- by the time I got in she had sliced and packaged the roast (for frozen dinners). I've never used a pressure cooker -- maybe somebody else knows about it and frozen meat.

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#11 jackal10

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 02:28 PM

For long time low temperature sous vide cooking it makes no difference, so long as you go by temperature not time.
If anything i makes searing the outside easier if the meat id frozen.
That somewhat sterilises the outside. The inside is mostly sterile anyway.

#12 BryanZ

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 03:04 PM

What jackal10 said.

So the 450F cook seemed wayy high for me.

#13 Pam R

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 03:07 PM

Would seem so, but it worked really well. Very tender and not at all dry.

#14 ChefCrash

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 04:53 PM

Very cool Pam

I'll try a frozen eye of round on Sunday and report back.

#15 ChefCrash

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 10:33 PM

Last Sunday I bought a 6 lb eye of round roast. Cut it in half and roasted one half as we usually do.
Season, place in a 325*F convection oven and remove at internal temperature of 130*. Internal temp going in the oven was 44*. It reached target temperature in 1 hour 15 minutes (75 minutes).
It came out great as usual. This is what it looked like.
Posted Image

I wrapped the other (raw) half of the roast with plastic wrap, inserted the thermometer probe in it and placed it in the freezer.

Today, three days later, it was frozen hard. I took it out and seasoned it as I did the first. Rubbed it with a mixture of crushed garlic and olive oil and seasoned it with Thyme, Rosemary and lots of kosher salt.
I plugged the probe into the thermometer and hmmm... nothing. The stupid thing doesn't register below 32*F. Well, I know my freezer temp is -6* so I can assume the internal temperature is also that.
This thing was rock hard. It sat out only long enough to be unwrapped and seasoned.
Posted Image

Oven set to 325* and preheated, the roc.. er..roast went in at 12:35pm. I really wanted to monitor the temperature climb rate but all it read was "Lo".

My wife and I had nothing to do. We're buried in snow and it's terribly cold out. She made Arabic coffee. I sat across from her at the kitchen table, sipping coffee trying not to make eye contact with her. I didn't know how to explain why, what, I was doing. My wife just doesn't understand us (you and me) ok? One of her automated responses "Why don't you throw it in the trash now and save some electricity?"

Half an hour later the display still read "Lo" and the wife was getting restless. I set the target temp. on the thermometer to 32* and followed her upstairs. Did I mention it was real cold? :raz:
Sure enough, just as things started to heat up in the bedroom, so did things in the kitchen, the alarm went off. OK, I know what you're thinking, but the clock in the bedroom is not synchronized with that of the stove's.
The core temperature reached 32* at 1:41pm (66 minutes).

I programed the next set point to 60* this time. For sure that'll give me half an hour right? Wrong! The alarm went off after only 20 minutes, at 2:01.

From here on the temperature rose at the rate of 10* every ~5 minutes. Final core temperature reached 130* after a total cooking time of 122 minutes (2 hours) at 2:37pm.
The roast looked the same as the one above. The temperature topped off at 147* at 2:50pm.

Posted Image


Came back from grocery shopping at 6pm and started to slice the roast.
Posted Image

As you can see the roast is still red in the center. Very juicy with no juice running on the board.
Posted Image
Tomorrow at work, we'll be having roast beef sandwiches on pumpernickel with horseradish and watercress.

This is a chart of Temp vs. Cooking Time.
Posted Image

No data was recorded between t=66 and t=85. There is however a video recording of nothing lasting exactly 19 minutes. Did I mention I'm fast? :wink:

Next time Eye-O-Round is on sale I'll be stocking up and freezing individual 3 lb portions.

#16 MomOfLittleFoodies

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 11:33 PM

I've done it before in a slow cooker, but never an oven. Definitely looks like it's worth trying though, as I'm terrible about remembering to move things to the fridge to thaw.
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#17 wesza

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 01:15 AM

The way I learned about cooking roasts frozen was by watching it done on a regular basis by a restaurant in Honolulu, Hi. that often served as many as 60/100 whole prime ribs at their buffet daily.

They placed frozen whole rib roasts into large roasting pans on top of a metal open grate raised insert lifting the roast about 2 inches from the bottom of the pan that was covered with cut onions, celery, carrots, leaf parsley, garlic and immersed in water about a 1/2 inch from the meat. The pans each held as many as 3 roasts.

This was done after closing the Restaurant and the meat was covered with a dusting of Coarse Kosher Salt over the Fat Topping the Roast.

The ovens were set at 225 degrees and after a all night Roast the meat was checked in the morning with a probe to verify it's temperature. Generally it was about 90/95 degrees Fahrenheit. At that time the meat was Roasted at 425 for about 20/30 minutes, then turned around bone side up and roasted at 425 for 20/30 minutes.

This gave the Roasts a appearance of being seared and Allowed most of the fat to being breaking down.

The Roasts were then divided between anticipated Lunch and Dinner crowds.

The Roasts intended for lunch service from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM were placed into several ovens with 275 degree, 300 degree and 325 degree temperatures with the higher degree Roast being served earliest with heat being adjusted based upon the volume.

The evening Roasts were allowed to keep Roasting at a lower temperature of a little under 200 degrees where the temperatures were adjusted based upon dinner service starting at 3:00 PM until about 10:00 PM.

The ideal temperature was 140/145 for letting the Roast stand for about 30/45 minutes before serving. Temperature only rise about 5/8 degrees for slow cooked Roasts while setting.

All the vegetable left in liquid under the roasts with additional water added as required were put into a large steam kettle to simmer for at least 2 hours with addition of red wine then strained and brought to room temperature, placed under refrigeration with fat removed from the top where it had solidified to be utilized for the next days "Au Jus".

They almost never received any complaints about their Prime Rib. (well done was simply provided to patrons after being placed into a simmering pot of au jus until the meat lost its color or served as a end piece.

This works with any meat Pork, Lamb, Beef or even Frozen Turkeys especially at homes with a electric probe in their ovens. Low and Slow break down the collagen naturally tenderizing while keeping it juicy.

By the way they used New Zealand or Australian Beef or American Grass Fed Beef which was no problem with the Rib Roasts since there was enough natural fat. Kept their prices reasonable with the place always being busy.

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#18 Fat Guy

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 05:53 AM

Not exactly the same, but I never defrost anything I'm going to braise: brisket, short ribs, etc. They go in frozen and I just add some extra time.

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#19 kbjesq

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 06:11 AM

I didn't know how to explain why, what, I was doing. My wife just doesn't understand us (you and me) ok?

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I have the same problem at my house. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Chefcrash, thank you for posting your results. Now, I will just have to remember to put a thermometer in the roast before I freeze it.

#20 jackal10

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 06:20 AM

if you can't insert the thermometer the beef is not yet cooked

#21 Pam R

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 10:32 AM

This works with any meat Pork, Lamb, Beef or even Frozen Turkeys especially at homes with a electric probe in their ovens. Low and Slow break down the collagen naturally tenderizing while keeping it juicy.

I didn't want to alarm anybody in my original post, but Mom also put a turkey roast (rolled boneless breast, skin on) into the oven that day -- frozen. It also turned out beautifully.

#22 wesza

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 11:00 AM

Not exactly the same, but I never defrost anything I'm going to braise: brisket, short ribs, etc. They go in frozen and I just add some extra time.

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It's always important to consider when Roasting, Braising or cooking in any manner how the product was frozen.

With Poultry it's sometimes frozen with additional fluid being injected. (check your labels) With meats if the item was factory frozen it may also contain excess fluids that would have been drained by being kept under refrigeration longer, like meat being delivered chilled to retailers. Products frozen are done quickly by producers to enhance the weight.

Flash Freezing, Cryovac Freezing or simply bagged and wrapped at home all result in different effects with cooking.

Have you ever tried cooking a steak on a griddle or pan and wondered where all the fluid or juices were coming from ? Sometimes even under high heat the meats look grey, until the serum is cooked of and they start to brown. The Meat may have been shipped at a lower temperture causing it to become frozen, then thawed in the retailers refrigerator before being butchered. Often so called fresh poultry in retailers cases is semi-frozen to the touch even when locally produced.

Sometime when this occurs I start heating another pan to transfer the meat into after it begins browning. I then glaze the original pan reducing the liquid and reserving it to enhance the meats when finished.

Sometimes when you try Roasting a Frozen product you end up with a real puddle. Thats why I always raise the meats above the bottom of the pan so they can have air circulation while roasting without steaming.

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#23 racheld

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 02:33 PM

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#24 dockhl

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 02:43 PM

Why do I keep thinking of Mary Maloney?

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:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
OK, we should try it with lamb. Rachel, you're up !

#25 dockhl

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 08:17 PM

Well, [Monkees] I'm a Believer! [/Monkees] :hmmm:

Frozen, presalted and -seasoned (pepper, garlic, thyme rub) tritip, 2lbs, 6 oz.

Preheated oven 325*, 5:35 PM

@ 7 PM, roast read 100*

pulled @ 7:20, 130*

Rested until 7:45, 140*

Uniformly juicy and pink, well seasoned (I love preseasoning before I freeze) and delicious ! I sometimes find tritip hard to cook because there seems to be a small window between too rare and overcooked (anything more than med rare) . I may never do a fresh one again, it was THAT good !

Perfect for sandwiches.... :wub: :wub:

#26 Pam R

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 08:23 PM

Has anybody actually tried lamb? I have several lamb shoulders in the freezer . . .

#27 dockhl

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 11:20 PM

Pam~
I have to say that I am so impressed with the results (and I LOVE pink lamb so much, hate grey lamb :sad: ) that I would try it in a sec.

Truly, more uniformly pink (inside to out) and juicy and tender...... I am amazed.

#28 Abra

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:01 AM

Ok, I'm convinced. I have a chunk of wild boar in the freezer that I'm going to submit to this test. I'm not sure exactly what cut this would be called - it was shot in the street of a nearby village and the person who gave it to me called it a leg. But it's really sort of lump-shaped, so I'm going to think of it as a shoulder. I think there's still a bone in there, so that might make some timing difference.

I've never cooked boar, so if anyone has advice, I'm all ears.

Edited by Abra, 07 May 2008 - 05:03 AM.


#29 Marlene

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:48 AM

Not exactly the same, but I never defrost anything I'm going to braise: brisket, short ribs, etc. They go in frozen and I just add some extra time.

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No browning of the meat first then? How do you get the complex flavours that come from the fond if you're cooking from frozen?

I didn't want to alarm anybody in my original post, but Mom also put a turkey roast (rolled boneless breast, skin on) into the oven that day -- frozen.  It also turned out beautifully.

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I always cook those turkey breasts from frozen. I seem to recall it says cook from frozen on the package.

I've never cooked a beef roast from frozen. I may have to give this a try.
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#30 Shalmanese

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 11:43 PM

Wow, this is a revolutionary technique. I just tried it tonight with a 3lb chuck roast. Took it out of the freezer and into a 425F oven for a few minutes, just to soften up the outsides, then I took it out and rubbed it with a mix of dried morels, sesame, salt, pepper & ancho. Back in for maybe an hour and a half and it was done. I pulled it at 130F and carryover took it up to 150F which was not what I was expecting. Seems like this method produces more carryover than usual.

Tasted some tonight and it was amazingly tender and juicy. Closer to sirloin in tenderness than a chuck and a bright, uniform pink. Only thing I would change is take it up to 450 or 475F next time to develop a better crust.

I don't know if it was worth cooking it a bit first before seasoning, my reasoning was it would help the seasoning adhere better. I think next time I see chuck on sale, I'll buy 3 or 4 and season them before I freeze them. Then I can have an easy roast dinner with ridiculously minimal prep work.
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