Let’s be honest. We’re all here because we accidentally forgot to take out the meat to thaw. Well, at least that’s happened to me and one stage or another. I mean, you should make some effort to partially thaw the meat first, and there are several easy ways to do so. But, when push comes to shove sometimes you just need it done.
Using the right knife for cutting frozen meat will give you the strength, confidence, and safety you need to finish the task and get cooking.
Best Type Of Knife For Frozen Meat
You may wish to utilize the advantages of different knives depending on the frozen meat you’ve got your hands on. For example, the way you hack chicken apart is different from the way you separate or slice up sausage. Although there are many useful knives, let’s take a look at the most useful types of knives for different frozen meats.
Check out the full guide to kitchen knives for a refresher on the best kitchen knives and how to use them.
A butcher’s knife is easily able to break down large pieces of meat into smaller pieces, like a butcher would, hence the name. This is the speciality of the butcher’s knife as it’s got a much thicker and sturdier blade and it’s got a sharp edge and point for puncturing.
It’s actually one of the most versatile knives to use for cutting frozen meats as it’s got the heft behind it for larger meats, but can also be used to separate frozen chicken pieces or sausages, and cut through a full chicken or cutting down the rib rack. If you had to rely on one knife for all your frozen meat cutting needs this would be the one.
Usually utility knives would come with plain-edges, and act like a smaller, easier to handle version of the chef’s knife. It’s particularly useful when you need a shorter knife, or require more precise control.
A serrated utility knife however, is perfect for cutting and sawing through smaller frozen meats, like chicken, sausage, or removing fat from red meat. It won’t do the same job as the heavy-duty butcher’s knife, but it will excel at preparing the smaller meats.
A meat cleaver is a beast of a knife, but it’s surprisingly versatile, and I often find myself preparing all kinds of food with it. Traditionally butchers used it to hack and chop up larger pieces of meat into smaller chunks, and it works particularly well at chopping through smaller bones without damaging the blade.
The meat cleaver is a heavy-duty option for chopping any frozen meat that contains bones. Such as when breaking down a slightly frozen full chicken. Due to its large blade, it’s also excellent for prying apart frozen meats that are stuck together, by wedging the large blade between the pieces and leveraging it, like when separating frozen patties.
Check out the best meat cleavers in the market in 2020.
Top 3 Best Knives For Cutting Frozen Meat
DALSTRONG Butcher’s Breaking Cimitar Knife
- Professional quality breaking knife built for power
- Curved, sharp blade, designed to maximize leverage and cutting capabilities
- 100% DALSTRONG satisfaction guarantee
- Premium product, but more expensive
- Less suitable for smaller meats & preparation tasks
If I’ve got frozen or partially thawed meat that I need to prepare I can always rely on my butcher’s knife. DALSTRONG Butcher’s Breaking Cimitar is made for home cooks and chefs but designed to be a professional-quality breaking knife. It’s full-tang and reasonably weighted which gives the strength you need to slice through most meats with ease.
Butcher’s knives are also perfect for any part of the meat to plate journey. So long as you wash it properly between use, you are able to use it to prepare the meat, trim the fat, and even carve the meat for the table. DALSTRONG’s butcher’s knife is high quality and one of the top picks in the market. Definitely a confident competitor in the market.
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Best For Smaller Meats
DALSTRONG Serrated Utility Knife
- Perfect for preparing smaller meats and for deboning
- Very versatile, you’ll find yourself using it for much more than smaller frozen meats
- Good value for money
- 100% DALSTRONG Satisfaction Guarantee
- Not suitable for breaking through larger frozen meats
The serrated utility knife excels at so many essential kitchen’s tasks, bringing the best qualities of a serrated knife, to a smaller, more nimble and precise blade. Overall, the DALSTRONG Serrated Utility Knife is a prime choice for all smaller meats and tasks. Whether you’re trimming fat off a frozen or semi thawed brisket, pork butt, off of ribs, deboning a rack of ribs, or preparing sausages or chicken.
You’ll be surprised at how many uses a good utility knife has.
Dexter-Russell 8 Inch Butcher Knife
- Quality at an affordable price
- Textured slip-resistant handle for heavy-duty cutting & chopping
- American-made, professional standard NSF certification
- Does the job, but nothing fancy
The American made Dexter-Russel 8 Inch Butcher Knife is one of the most affordable quality-made butchers knives easily available in the market. Its simplistic design works exactly how it ought to. Its fat blade is perfect for prying apart frozen meats, like chicken pieces, sausages, steaks, and any meat really. Its tip is sharp enough to puncture, and the blade is sharp and strong enough to cut through frozen meats more easily than most other knives.
A highly rated, popular, and affordable butcher’s knife.
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How To Cut Frozen Meat
Defrost Or Thaw First (If Possible)
If possible, it’s always recommended to try to thaw or partially defrost the meat before cutting. This is because it’s almost always easier, safer, and helps keep your knives sharper for longer.
But, defrosting doesn’t always mean it needs to take a long time. There are several different ways that work and can be used for different meats to better thaw them more quickly.
Best Ways To Defrost Frozen Meats
- Under Running Water:
one of the most common and easy ways to defrost your frozen meat is by placing it under running water. The water should be cold to lukewarm to avoid any of the meat from actually cooking.
The constant force of the running water works quickly and definitely helps the meat soften around the edge making it much easier to cut.
The modern solution made as convenient as possible. If you’re ever defrosting your frozen meat in a microwave oven, always make sure to use the defrost setting, and definitely don’t defrost it too long as you’ll find the edge actually starts to cook.
Because the meat can partially cook in some areas while defrosting in the microwave, it’s important to begin cooking the meat right away, as recommended by the USDA to prevent developing bacteria.
Leaving It Out:
If you’ve got time, the easiest and most controlled way of defrosting your frozen meat is to leave it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours depending on it’s size, or by defrosting it in a cool place in your kitchen.
- The Sandwich Method:
This involves sandwiching meat placed in a zip lock bag between two metal pots. The pressure of the pots pressing against the meat rapidly speeds up the thawing process.
This works particularly well for smaller, thinner meats, such as steak, chicken, or burger patties.
By pouring vinegar over your frozen meats it allows the frozen meat to defrost more quickly, as it lowers the freezing temperature. The acid in the vinegar also begins it’s work tenderizing the connective tissues too.
Using too much vinegar can make the meat taste, well, vinegary. If you’re not the biggest fan you can easily wash it off before use, or use a more flavorsome vinegar and pair it with what you’re cooking, such as apple cider vinegar on pork.
Using Your Knife
The time has come.
When you’re ready to start cutting frozen meat, whether it’s been partially defrosted or not, there are a few important techniques you can utilize to make it a safer and easier task.
One technique to break apart pieces of meat that are frozen together, such as chicken legs, steaks, burger patties, sausages etc. is to carefully use the point of the knife to cut into the edges of the meat where they come together.
Once you’ve got a bit of space, place as much of the edge of the knife as you can within the spaces and carefully pry the meat apart. You don’t need to use excessive force, so if it’s not budging cut slightly further into the meat and then repeat the process. If it’s still being stubborn, partially thaw the meat and try again.
If you need to slice some frozen meat down to size, or into pieces for a stew for example, depending on the thickness of the meat you can use the best tool for the job.
If it’s thinner meat, you can utilize your serrated utility knife and use it as a saw, applying pressure and carving through the meat.
If it’s thicker meat, and it’s been at least partially thawed, you can use your butcher’s knife and try slicing it by carefully placing your palm on the spine of the knife and pressing down slightly as you slice it for slightly more pressure.
Sometimes the meat is just too thick and frozen to physically cut safely. Sometimes the best thing to do is apply patience, and use a thawing method to quicken the process without sacrificing the quality of the meat.
If you can afford to wait and thaw the meat, then be equipped with your best knife for cutting raw meat ready to go.
Cutting frozen meat can be quite the task, and in most cases, the best thing to do is try one of the best and easier ways to quickly thaw the meat partially. However, being equipped with the right knife for the job certainly makes things easier and more manageable.
Overall, the butcher’s knife is the best knife for cutting frozen meat, given its versatility, strength, and heftiness. But remember, always be careful trying to cut frozen meat, and if you can’t safely cut it, it’s always best to take the loss and defrost it partially and try again!