If you have previously tried cutting frozen meat, you will agree that it is one of the most difficult tasks you can ever take up in the kitchen. If it’s your first time, you will quickly learn that even the sharpest of knives have a hard time digging into the frozen chunk of meat.
So with that said, this article illustrates how to cut frozen meat yourself at home. Once you master the trick, it will no longer be such an uphill task for you. Instead, you will get to enjoy the job every time you get to do it – well, not really..
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Cut Frozen Meat
- 2 Can You Partially Thaw The Meat Before Slicing It?
Before I Start, Can I Thaw And Refreeze Meat?
Thawing and refreezing the meat has always been a solution for some people. However, this is not recommended with the main concern being the dangers of microbial growth that can make you sick, and I would never do it myself.
Another issue is that every time meat is frozen and thawed, it affects the texture and flavor, and not for the better. There is also a greater risk of freezer burn each time the meat is put through the defrosting process, then unwrapped and wrapped again.
For the above reasons, learning how to cut frozen meat is of the utmost importance with regards to maintaining good health and good tasting meat.
The fact that you probably want to use only a certain piece of it without messing with the rest of the meat makes it even more difficult. Even experienced chefs in top rated restaurants face the same problem when working with frozen foods, not only meat. Not that any top restaurant would admit to having any frozen food of course!
How To Cut Frozen Meat
Now, here for the most part, we are talking about cutting the thicker meat portions, such as an entire tenderloin or maybe a large roast that is too big for one meal.
The first thing that you should always put in mind is the tools that you are using. As I’m sure you are aware, frozen meat is one of the most solid items that you can attempt to cut. The frozen chunk is barely penetrable. But with the right tools to use, it is possible.
First of all, don’t forget cut resistant gloves, regardless of what method you use.
Electric Kitchen Table Saw
This electric meat saw will make cutting frozen meat an easy task and will give you a better result, but is an expensive solution. It is designed in such a manner that it can pass through the toughest frozen meat in a matter of minutes.
So provided that you can afford it and justify the significant cost (I couldn’t), this will go a long way towards saving a lot of time for you in your kitchen. It is fine for commercial establishments but most of us will rarely need one at home.
It also takes up more space, which is an issue for some of us. The saw has to be handled by someone familiar with, and comfortable with, using this piece of equipment, because the machine could be very dangerous if handled improperly.
Screw up operating this and you may not be able to count up to ten anymore unless you use your toes as well as the remaining fingers on your hands, especially if you forgot those cut-resistant gloves we mentioned.
If you do go this route, remember safety glasses as bones may splinter on some meats.
I know people that use the table saw they keep in their garage or workshop for cutting wood. Proper cleaning before and after using it must be a tedious task but I suppose it’s possible, more versatile and cheaper.
In days gone by, you may have been able to find butcher shops that would do it for you but I imagine health regulations these days make it almost impossible.
Basically a hand-held electric saw. An excellent option that is cheaper than the Electric Table Saw described above. A little awkward due to having a powerful tool in one hand while trying to control a frozen, slippery, large piece of meat in the other. Safety glasses and gloves are a must here.
The benefits are that it is easily storable, can also be used for other tasks and the blades can be quickly changed.
Here is an excellent video demonstrating this tool.
Manual Butcher’s Saw
Basically a hacksaw with bigger teeth and, depending on the thickness of the meat, this can be a challenging process. They come in various lengths but don’t go for one that’s too long. Make sure the handle is comfortable and gives you a solid grip. The leverage you gain will make cutting the frozen meat much easier than using a butcher’s knife. This is also a great way for slicing through bones.
Probably the best alternative to an electric saw and a good way to cut.
The Butcher’s Knife
A butcher’s robust, durable, steel heavy-duty knife can also be used to cut the meat, but this is hard work. Place emphasis on the heavy duty aspect of the butcher’s knife. It has to be a sharp knife with a serrated edge, such that each and every stroke made on the frozen meat digs in deeper and deeper.
If possible, run the part of the meat that you are going to cut under running cold water for a couple of minutes; this will soften the edges of the meat a little, enabling you to “dig in” so you have a nice firm starting point.
A dull knife will make this a near impossible task. Don’t use a bread knife or a vegetable knife to cut the meat as their cutting blades cannot handle the task. The butcher knife will always give you an easier time of it than a regular knife due to its sturdy and reliable nature.
In some instances, the meat chunks could have bones, and even the strongest of butcher knives will not come in handy. In this case, you need to have a butcher’s saw or a sterilized hacksaw to cut through the bones.
As you may have noticed, frozen meat can be quite slippery. In light of this, you have to ensure that the frozen meat is well placed on a flat surface such as a cutting board. Maintain a firm grip so that the meat doesn’t accidentally slip from your hands and you end up chopping off more than a piece of the roast.
Always ensure that the cutting board is well grounded and is firm. You can achieve this by placing a towel or piece of paper towel beneath the cutting board so that it doesn’t move while cutting.
Always start cutting from the point of the knife, slicing away from you while applying direct pressure in a bid to dig deeper into the chunk. Don’t use excessive force as it may give a higher chance of an accident.
This may sound stupid but make sure you remember where your fingers are at all times, especially if you didn’t buy the cut-resistant gloves. In fact, you shouldn’t even think about cutting frozen meat without them.
Manual Meat Slicer
You can use a manual meat slicer, which can make life a whole lot easier if you mainly cut thinner meat slices and the piece is not too bulky. Good for stir fries or anything where thin slices are required. Not recommended for slicing off that thick, juicy roast.
Can I Use An Electric Meat Slicer?
If the meat is completely frozen, no. You’ll end up damaging the blade. If the meat is still slightly frozen, they are however probably the best option of the whole lot for slicing off a nice steak or thinner cuts.
If the piece of meat to be cut is not particularly thick, a simple whack with a solid meat cleaver should do the trick!
Can You Partially Thaw The Meat Before Slicing It?
Yes, you can and if you have enough time this is the best thing to do if you have large pieces of meat but only want to cook smaller portions..
You can hold the meat under running water (not hot water, or it will start to cook) for a few minutes and it will soften the outside. Slice off the ends, and the middle will still be completely frozen, so you can return that portion to the freezer.
Remember To Keep It Clean
As always, the cutting tools must be clean before use and should be washed in warm soapy water and sterilized if possible. The cutting surface also has to be clean.
Meat is a very good harbor for microbial pathogens, so your hands should be thoroughly washed before and after handling the meat in a bid to avert any contamination.
With everything we mentioned here, you will agree with me that cutting frozen meat is not rocket science but it’s also not easy.
It’s also clear that the best way is to use an electric saw and at the other end of the scale, that an ordinary knife will not do the job.
If you are able to keep the above in mind, then cutting frozen meat doesn’t have to be such a challenging task anymore