Ground chuck is at risk of rapid bacterial growth between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. During thawing and cooking, ground meat cannot be in the "danger zone," between 40 and 90 F for longer than 2 hours or between 90 and 140 F for longer than 1 hour. To safely defrost ground chuck while cooking it, use methods that heat it from frozen (about 0 F.) to cooked (160 F) within these time frames.
Simultaneous Thawing and Cooking
Ground chuck may be safely thawed only by cooking it in the oven, on the stove top or on the grill. These methods all involve high enough temperatures to defrost and cook the meat quickly. Expect the estimated cooking time to go up by 50 percent when you prepare still-frozen beef.
Safe Thawing Methods
It's preferable to thaw meat beforehand so that it cooks more evenly and quickly. If you have time, defrost ground chuck overnight in the refrigerator. You can also submerse it in leak-proof packaging in cold water for 1 to 2 hours, replacing the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold. The defrost function of your microwave is safe, too, but it begins cooking the meat, often resulting in some overcooked meat. This requires cooking the meat immediately after thawing.
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