Freezing Meat for Optimal Freshness: Tips and Storage Times

By Edwin

Die Situation kennt sicher jeder: Für eine Grillparty habe ich mal wieder zu viel Fleisch eingekauft, oder der Metzger meines Vertrauens macht Urlaub und ich möchte Fleisch auf Vorrat kaufen. Kann ich rohes Fleisch einfrieren?

Die gute Nachricht vorneweg: Fettes Hackfleisch kann nur 1 Monat, mageres Schweinefleisch kann 6-8 Monate und Rindfleisch kann 10-12 Monate eingefroren werden. Dies setzt natürlich konstante Temperaturen im Gefrierfach von -18 Grad oder kälter voraus.

Wenn Du unsere folgenden Tipps und Tricks beachtest, kannst Du rohes Fleisch problemlos einfrieren.

How long can you freeze meat?

Even in the freezer, meat does not last forever. How long meat can be safely processed and consumed, even when frozen, depends largely on the type of meat. The consumer advice centre recommends freezing fatty minced meat for no longer than 1 month. On the other hand, you can store beef in your freezer for up to a year without any loss of quality.

How should you freeze meat?

When freezing meat, think about defrosting: pat the meat dry with kitchen paper and freeze pieces that are not too large. Steaks, chicken breasts or burger patties wrapped individually in cling film can be removed from the freezer bag piece by piece. The thinner the piece of meat is, the quicker it will defrost.

Only use suitable packaging for freezing: Freezer bags or freezer-safe tins. Make sure that as little air as possible remains in the packaging. If you don’t have a vacuum device, you can also ask your trusted butcher to vacuum seal the meat.

Freezing minced meat
Minced meat has a much larger surface area than meat “in one piece”. Therefore, minced meat offers germs a larger surface to attack and can spoil more quickly. Accordingly, minced meat should be frozen immediately after processing or mincing.

We also always freeze ready-made hamburger patties. You can add different seasoning mixes to the patties, freeze them separately and defrost the meat as required. This means that everyone at the barbecue party can have and enjoy their own personal favourite patty.

Which meat is good for freezing?

Storage time at -18°C
Beef 10-12 months
Veal 9-12 months
Pork, lean 6-8 months
Pork, fat 4 months
Minced meat, lean 1-3 months
Minced meat, fat 1 month
Chicken 8-10 months

Can you freeze marinated grilled meat?
Opinions differ when it comes to marinated meat: some advise marinated meat to be cooked through first and then frozen, while others say that marinated meat can be frozen without any problems.

If you have bought raw meat, then freeze it raw. After defrosting, you have the freedom to marinate your meat with whatever you fancy.

Personally, I freeze steaks marinated in oil by the butcher and only grill them after defrosting.

After defrosting, cooked meat must be reheated and reach a core temperature of 70-80°C. I only do this when I have meat with sauce.

Defrosting meat

It is best to defrost your delicious piece of meat very slowly overnight in the fridge. The second best option is to pour cold water into a bowl and defrost the meat in it. However, large pieces don’t defrost quickly enough this way. I defrost whole roasts at room temperature, 15°C is recommended.

In my opinion, grilled meat should neither be put in the microwave nor in the oven. Not even for defrosting! This turns the meat grey, dry and changes the taste.

Can I refreeze meat that has already been frozen?

That depends on what has happened to the meat in the meantime. If you have bought frozen meat and the cold chain has not been interrupted, you can put it in your freezer without hesitation. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If the cold chain has been interrupted, e.g. because your barbecue food has been lying next to the barbecue for an evening, then you should dispose of the meat.

These are certainly the two extremes, but one thing should be clear to you: The cold chain, hygiene during processing and ambient temperatures are key factors that influence the storage time of meat.

I therefore recommend not refreezing defrosted meat.

How long can I store raw meat in the fridge?

I have often asked myself this question: I bought some fresh meat before a long weekend and want to grill it in a few days. Do I have to freeze the meat or is it enough to store it in the fridge? You can find the answer here:

Storage time at +5°C
Minced meat, raw Preparation on the day of purchase
Goulash, sliced meat, kebabs (raw) 1 day
Offal, raw 1-2 days
Roasts, steaks, whole pieces (raw) 3-4 days
Poultry meat, raw 1-2 days
Scalded and cooked sausage 3-5 days
Prepared (fully cooked) meat 2-3 days