A hair dryer is a great aid in defrosting your frozen meats.
Microwaving the meat on defrost, putting it in warm water or taking the meat out earlier in the day to thaw I would think would be much better... and you would use a lot less energy and less noise than standing and holding a hair dryer to the meat to thaw it out. A hair dryer would also dry the outside of the meat.
We've all been in the same boat like forgetting to take the meat out of the freezer for dinner! But it's important to remember about leaving the meat out on the counter to thaw. The ideal way, of course, is to thaw it in the refrigerator if we remember ahead of time. But using cold water instead of warm water will accomplish the same thing but be safer in the long run. Food spoils quickly when left in the 40 to 140 degree range, and even though it may look good, it may already have started to turn bad. I remember seeing the sink filled with cold water and chicken thawing several times when I was a child. My Italian grandmother and mother always cooked spaghetti sauce, with meat, the day before and would leave it on the stove overnight to have for Sunday dinner. According to today's cooking standards, we should all have died instantly. However, it is better to use safer methods when we are feeding children. Our systems can fight off the little "critters" better than a child's sensitive tummy. The microwave works great as well for thawing. The rule "when in doubt, throw it out" about food left out, is still the best rule to follow in the long run. Since this discussion is about thawing, remember the opposite is true. If you've cooked a large batch of soup or chili and need to refrigerate it, the internal temperature needs to cool to 40 degrees within a two hour period of time in order for the food to properly cool for storage. Putting the food in shallow containers to cool quickly works better.
As a Health Inspector, I get many questions such as this one. Defrosting meat with a hair dryer is not recommended. Here are a few tips on safe defrosting:
A. If you have time. slow defrost the meat in the refrigerator (make sure the refrigerator is 41F or below) is the safest method and retains the best quality of the meat. Make sure that the meat is wrapped or covered to prevent drying. If the meat is thick (2 inches or more) allow 2 or more days to defrost.
B. If you are in a hurry, microwave defrost, running under cold tap water (not warm or hot) for no more than 1 hour are good options. Remember, food must be cooked immediately after using this technique. Do not return back to the refrigerator for later use.
C. Another option is to cook the meat from a frozen state, such as an oven, grill, BBQ or smoker. Allow a little more time cooking for this technique. Use an accurate meat thermometer in the middle of the meat cut to check the temperature for doneness.
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