How to Thaw a Wagyu Steak

At Snake River Farms, we take pride in our ability to freeze and preserve the perfection of our incredible American Wagyu beef. You will want to ensure the qualities of the rich marbling, texture, and taste of a Wagyu steak are fully retained from the moment they are delivered to when it comes time for preparation.

In this guide, the experts at Snake River Farms will go over the preferred method of thawing a wagyu steak to provide the best experience possible. 

THE BEST WAY: THAWING WAGYU STEAK IN THE FRIDGE 

A wagyu steak should be thawed in the refrigerator, as the cold temperature (typically around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) will best retain flavor, tenderness, and texture of the steak over time.

Not only is the refrigerator method the best way to safeguard the rich flavor of a wagyu steak, but it is also the safest. Thawing cuts of beef at low temperatures in the refrigerator will prevent the growth of bacteria, which would more easily form in less controlled environments.

Thawing steak in the refrigerator is also very straightforward:

If your steak is in a vacuum-sealed package, be sure to leave it in that package. Simply place the vacuum-sealed package flat on an open shelf in the refrigerator. Avoid placing the steak in a crisper or other drawer as temperatures may differ in these areas.

If you are dealing with a non-sealed steak, it’s important to elevate the meat above a plate or dish using some type of rack. The plate below is to catch any drippings so that the steak does not sit in its own juices, which might prevent you from achieving a nice reverse sear when it comes time to cook.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR STEAK TO THAW IN THE FRIDGE? 

The amount of time your steak needs to thaw will partly depend on the thickness of the cut of beef. You should leave steak in the fridge for at least 12 hours, while ideally you want to aim for between 18 and 24 hours. Particularly thick cuts may even need up to 30 hours to properly thaw.

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The amount of time your steak needs to thaw will partly depend on the thickness of the cut of beef. You should leave steak in the fridge for at least 12 hours, while ideally you want to aim for between 18 and 24 hours. Particularly thick cuts may even need up to 30 hours to properly thaw.

How do you know when your wagyu steak is thawed and ready to cook? Take it out of the fridge and use your finger to give it a poke. The steak should be firm, but still have a little give to it. Make sure you don’t see any visible icing on the steak, either.

Although using the refrigerator method is the slowest way to thaw steak, it truly is the safest method, as the steak will stay at a consistent, safe temperature before cooking.

FASTER WAYS TO THAW STEAK

THAWING STEAK IN WATER

A question we’re often asked is can you use water to thaw a steak? The answer is yes, but with a caveat. You may be tempted to use hot water to help speed up the process. However, you should always use cold water to thaw a steak. Yes, it takes longer, but it also ensures there aren’t rapid temperature changes to your beef which can cause bacteria to grow.

Place your steak in its vacuum-sealed package (or a leak-proof plastic bag) in a large bowl of cold water. The key to using this quick-thaw method is to check the water’s temperature every 30 minutes. Tepid water is the enemy. Change the water out for fresh, cold water.

By thawing steak in water, your cut of beef should be ready in an hour or two (3-4 hours for larger cuts of wagyu beef). Use the finger-poke test to check the steak for firmness. Again, you want it to be reasonably firm, but also offer some give.

Once it’s thawed, cook immediately.

THAWING STEAK IN THE MICROWAVE

Can it be done? Sure, most microwaves even have that useful ‘defrost’ setting. Should it be done? Only as a last resort, as in when you absolutely must eat as soon as possible.

By thawing a steak in the microwave, you run the risk of not just defrosting it, but beginning to cook the steak. Rapid changes in temperature promote bacteria-growth and potentially sickness. If you do use the microwave to thaw your wagyu steak (please don’t), check it frequently to ensure it is only defrosting.

Thawing steak on the counter may seem like a good idea, especially if you grew up with a parent who did just that. However, you should never leave a steak or cut of beef on the counter to thaw. This is the quickest way for harmful bacteria to grow and for you and your family to get sick.

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ALWAYS PLAN AHEAD WHEN IT COMES TO AMERICAN WAGYU BEEF

By planning out your meals in advance, you can take advantage of the safe and easy method of thawing steak in the fridge. This will minimize your chance of sickness, as well as ensure your steak is juicy, tender, and full of that incredible American wagyu beef flavor for a true ranch to table experience