Can I Use Meat That Was Left to Defrost on Counter?

I accidentally started to defrost spare ribs on the counter and they sat out about 5 hours. They were still partially frozen when discovered. Are they OK to use?


By Katie from Chicago, IL

May 16, 20100 found this helpful

I have always heard that partially frozen meat is OK, even for refreezing.

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May 16, 20100 found this helpful

Yes, they're fine. Obviously if you're not going to cook them now put them in the fridge.

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May 16, 20100 found this helpful

Probably not..check this out:

Even though the center of the meat may still be cold, the outer layers likely are warmer after five hours than the 40 degrees or below the meat needs to be so bacteria don't go hog-wild.

Partially frozen meat is ok to refreeze--but only if it's been under refrigeration the whole time.

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May 18, 20100 found this helpful

No. If it is over the absolute 2 hour rule, out of fridge after being cooked, think of how quickly the bacteria/Ecoli, etc. only needs a little time for encouragement to become full blown. It is not within the safety of your own life to chance it. Look at the lawsuits in our world due to unsafe food. Don't do it in your own kitchen. Cargill just settled a case here in Minnesota because of the bacteria in the meat, the young gal is paralyzed for life. The bacteria ravaged through her body. She will never be able to do anything on her own again.

Refreezing: if you have a frozen meat out for a short time, like less than an hour it can be put back. Always thaw in the fridge. I take a couple days of meats out at the same time, put into Tupperware, on a plate, etc. so the juices don't touch anything.

My mother would tell you go to ahead and eat it, but then my mother 'is always sick to her stomach from something. The flu, when I tell her it must be something she ate. Drastically said: Better safe than dead.

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May 18, 20100 found this helpful

You mean there is another way to defrost meat? Just kidding, but if that would be harmful, my family would have been dead long ago.

I've been cooking 40 years, so far, no one has gotten sick. Take care and good luck.

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April 2, 20110 found this helpful

No when this happens you can cook the meat then put it in the freezer for another time. It is a law of averages thing. Most of the time it might be alright but there is that chance someone will get sick. Never take a chance with food. There are enough problems with our food as it is.

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