a package of frozen chicken legs

Is It Safe To Defrost Meat On The Counter?

a package of frozen chicken legs

We’ve all heard that it’s best to defrost meat in refrigerator overnight.  However, many times when you move frozen meat from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before, it’s still partially frozen the next morning.  Also, what if you forgot to remove the meat from the freezer the night before?  What if you spontaneously want to cook a meat dish, without planning ahead?  Is it safe to defrost the meat on the counter?

Defrosting meat on the counter is really tempting.  After all, we always hear of other people doing it, especially our parents and grandparents.  In previous generations, thawing meat on the counter was very popular.  They did it and were OK, so why can’t we thaw the meat on the counter?

Well, the answer is that defrosting meat on the counter is NOT safe.  Defrosting meat on the counter will take at least 2 hours, and during that time the bacteria can really grow on the meat to the unsafe levels.  That’s the official stance on thawing meat on the counter from the FDA.

Do you want to take a chance with thawing meat on the counter?  You might be fine after 100 times of doing it, and get sick after that 101’s time.  To me, the risk of defrosting meat on the counter is just not worth it.  If I’m in a hurry to defrost meat, I’ll do it in a microwave.  The “Defrost” setting in the microwave usually does a pretty good job of thawing meat, especially if you don’t forget to flip the meat over halfway during the Defrost cycle.

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