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Cooking Frozen Meat Sous Vide


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Concur. If you have met the 10D (or whatever number of decimations you want to insist on for the resident bacteria), then you really don't need to freeze. Just be diligent and practical. If you are considering a re-freeze  because your guests missed their flight, I would just toss it in the refrigerator.  If it will be a few months before you revisit it then re-freezing might be the best option.

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I think there are reasons for faster growth of bacteria in cooked foods after thawing (lack of competing microflora that limits bacteria growth after cooking, and maybe some others). This happens when entering the growth zone of each bacteria. Given that often foods are thawed at room temperature (or even fridge temperatures but at temperatures that allow slow growth of some pathogenic bacteria, i.e. above -1ºC), the recommendation makes sense for the general public as pasteurized food does not mean that all vegetative forms of bacteria were killed, and likely spores were not killed at all.

 

On the other hand, if the thawing was done safely at very low temperatures, so that pathogens does not have a chance to start growth, it has been found that repetitive freeze-thaw cycles are indeed a safety measure as they can reduce bacteria counts.

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I feel the need to address this topic since it is related to sous vide. So, I sous vide alot of chuck roasts for italian beef sandwiches. I freeze them in 2 ounce portions. I make really concentrated beef stock from roasted neck bones (there cheap and gelatinous) and i flash chill in ice water and freeze. When i am ready to make an italian beef sandwich i boil the stock, let it cool down to around 140F and dip the frozen pre sliced beef into the juice in my sous vide vessel. It may sit for a few hours and while this is sitting, that stock is building flavor. After i serve the sandwiches i flash chill and refreeze. Each time i repeat the process, that stock gets better and better and nobody ever gets sick.

 

I also "Top" this stock with "new" stock when it starts to get low from the sliced beef absorbing the juices.

Edited by FeChef (log)
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3 hours ago, FeChef said:

I feel the need to address this topic since it is related to sous vide. So, I sous vide alot of chuck roasts for italian beef sandwiches. I freeze them in 2 ounce portions. I make really concentrated beef stock from roasted neck bones (there cheap and gelatinous) and i flash chill in ice water and freeze. When i am ready to make an italian beef sandwich i boil the stock, let it cool down to around 140F and dip the frozen pre sliced beef into the juice in my sous vide vessel. It may sit for a few hours and while this is sitting, that stock is building flavor. After i serve the sandwiches i flash chill and refreeze. Each time i repeat the process, that stock gets better and better and nobody ever gets sick.

 

I also "Top" this stock with "new" stock when it starts to get low from the sliced beef absorbing the juices.

 

That has nothing to do, from a safety point of view, with the question raised by the original poster. Here you are re-pasteurizing your stock (in fact boiling it, which gives a level of pasteurization much higher than normally used in sous-vide cooking of meats) between each freeze-thaw cycle, which ensures safety. Whereas the original question was about several freeze-thaw cycles without any cooking/pasteurization between cycles, if I understood it correctly.

 

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7 hours ago, EnriqueB said:

 

That has nothing to do, from a safety point of view, with the question raised by the original poster. Here you are re-pasteurizing your stock (in fact boiling it, which gives a level of pasteurization much higher than normally used in sous-vide cooking of meats) between each freeze-thaw cycle, which ensures safety. Whereas the original question was about several freeze-thaw cycles without any cooking/pasteurization between cycles, if I understood it correctly.

 

Maybe i misunderstood the original post. I assumed the poster meant to pasteurize then refreeze. If the poster meant to thaw to safe temps 40F and below, then refreeze in a short amount of time then i dont see why that would not be safe. I suppose if the food was above 32F for a few days it will eventually spoil if kept refreezing.

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