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when do i take it out of the freezer?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
i've got a 7.5 lb bone-in picnic shoulder in the freezer. i intend to smoke-cook it this saturday, possibly sunday, depending on the weather.

when should i take it out to start thawing it in the fridge? tonight?

in case you couldn't tell, this will be my first shoulder!
post #2 of 20
Personally I'd do it now
post #3 of 20
Now. Let it sit outside the fridge for a few hours to knock the deep chill off it, then put in the the top shelf of your fridge. Monitor it tommorrow, you may have to pull it out again for an hour or two. Don't worry about it going bad or creating bacteria. It's already got them (its raw meat) and they usually take anywhere from 8 to 13 hours at around 60 F to begin to be a potential problem. It takes this much for them to demonstrate a measurable growth (1 log, on the scientific scale).
post #4 of 20

Agree with Rivett

Would do exactly what Rivett stated, now is the time for this weekends smoke. Immediately if not sooner.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
sounds good, guys - will do ~ thanks!
post #6 of 20
It will take 2 or 3 days (closer to 3) to thaw in the fridge. If you want to thaw it faster then put it, still wrapped, in the sink under a trickle of cold water just like you would a turkey.

I would not let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours. Unless you bought it freshly killed and put it straight in the freezer after purchasing it, you don't know what condition the meat was in before you bought it. You'd also need to take in to consideration whether it was frozen when you got it, how long it was sitting in the store before you bought it and many other unknown factors.
post #7 of 20
Well I'm totally confused now cause I thought the rule was Max 4 hours in the 40-140 range?
Maybe you can explain this alittle more for us beginners, and what's a "1 log ,on the scientific scale" mean anyway?
post #8 of 20
That's for cooked food or salads or items that don't require cooking like milk, mayo....

I wouldn't leave uncooked meat out for too long as there are other bugs not just salmonella and e coli that can produce toxins that heat won't get rid of. I would hardly think a rock solid frozen hunk of meat would even get to the 40* range on the surface while on the counter for a couple of hours. Best to start early and just go from freezer to fridge but I've had a 4 lb chicken take 3-4 days to thaw.
post #9 of 20
I used to be the Food Safety Supervisor (HACCP)for a meat and poultry corporation for years- There is a scientific calculator where you calculate how long the fresh, chilled or frozen meat can be exposed to higher temps before it becomes a safety issue and cannot be shipped from the plant and must be destroyed. This happens all the time in plants (where meat is left out in transit from one end to the other, or on the shipping dock, or whatever), they just don't want you to know it. The USDA is well aware of this and THEY use this calculator to help determine the safety of the meat (pork, beef, poultry). When this situation arises the plant Food Saftey Supervisor will communicate with USDA on site, and will use the calculator to arrive at a consensus.

To have a scientifically measurable impact, the bacteria have to begin to grow to a certain level before it is even considered a hazard. The baseline is 1 Log. A Log in this case is a microscopic count that demonstrates the colony is viable, and replicating, and left unchecked will become a hazard. The variables are time and temperature of course. The hotter and longer the meat sits, the better rate of incubation you will usually get. A baseline temp is 60 deg F; all meat packing plants are kept at or below 45 F.

So, sitting out on the counter for a couple hours is doing nothing measurable to your meat other than thawing it.

It takes at least 4 hours for the bacteria to even begin to stir from their cold sleep and begin replicating.

I know this goes against a lot of what we are led to believe, but it is fact, and our USDA and meat processing industry follows this scientific model.

Hope this helps!
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
makes sense, rivet ~ according to weather report, it looks like sunday will be the best day for this anyway (44 degrees+snow on saturday, 49 degrees and sunny on sunday), i agree about getting the hard chill off it, so will let it sit on the counter for three hours or so (or at least till my wife gets home from work) then move it to the fridge.

thanks to all for advice!
post #11 of 20
Well thanks Rivet...I think. do you have a site that I can read alittle about these USDA standards cause this goes against all i was taught. no disrespect implied
post #12 of 20

Hope this removes any confusion

Take out now and let it sit on the counter for only 1-2 hrs. The size you have it should not be anything to worry about. Put in fridge and monitor how its doing. If it needs a boost on thawing put in cool water in its wrapper. Change the water after an hour or so. Monitor and repeat in water. What you are wanting is to have it thawed so you can put your rub on it and let it absorb the flavors. You have time for saturday but it should have been defrosting last nite or early this morning. Just plan for sunday and you should have ample time to prep it and be ready to smoke. We all have had to speed up defrost many times for many reasons. You will learn that anticipation and preparation is the key to successful smokes with a minimum of stress. You are fine,, just go for it. but get it out now or leave it until next weekend with a bit better planning. We have all been there. You could still begin smoking even if it had not been completely thawed out. Been there,, done that,, just dont like to if I can avoid it.

post #13 of 20
DITTO! I agree totally.
post #14 of 20
Of course, frozen isn't always the same as 'frozen.' It really depends on the freezer. Our deep freeze runs between -10° and 0° F. It takes a lot longer to thaw from there than it does from the wimpy freezer in my fridge.

You will need to adjust your thaw time for the initial temperature, too.
post #15 of 20

No worries!

Hey, no worries! I'll be glad to get you the link and further info. In order not to clog the thread or the forum I'll forwad via PM. I know this goes against what the public is taught, and grind my teeth at how two faced the USDA is when it comes to Food Safety. I understand they are trying to keep the public informed and safe, but it has gone well beyond anything rational and they've created fears where there shouldn't be any.

Okay, done. Thanks for letting me vent! biggrin.gif
post #16 of 20
Thanks Rivet. It's good to get some information from behind the scenes. These days with liability the way it is no one will tell you anything that might expose them to litigation.

My mom use to start making dnnner in the morning and the food sat out all afternoon. No one got sick. She would thaw food on the formica counters and no one got sick. I like my granite counter for quick thawing food but large cuts of meat I just as well let thaw slowly in the fridge. Less fustration that way. Just need to plan ahead
post #17 of 20
I assume you'll be using the new smoker? Good luck! I haven't forgotten about posting photos of my coal "strategy." Like almost everyone, I only have time to smoke on the weekends.
post #18 of 20
Another thing along idea RIVET was getting at-is around time of the Jack in the BOX case where the kids died from hamburger contamination- they upped finish temps for meat 10 degrees in all cookbooks etc.High end restaurants still serve rare at same temps as old days and good cookbooks tell you too disregard-to extent- these higher internals.Safe is safe without all the paranoia of modern society.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
>>>I assume you'll be using the new smoker?<<<

since i only have the pork shoulder and a 2-lb. fatty to do, i was considering using the ECB on this smoke as i am more familiar. i guess this would make a good question as well - should i use my ECB (with mods) or give the new SnP (no mods) a try?

any and all opinions and advice would be welcomed.
post #20 of 20
Well............. Since the new cooker won't be filled with foods in uneven temperature zones, I would probably play with my new smoker.

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