Food & Drink

Does a Defrosting Tray Really Work Miracles on Frozen Meat? We Tried One to Find Out.

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I’m usually in opposition to one-trick ponies within the kitchen (no person wants a hard-boiled egg slicer), however I’m prepared to bend my guidelines for actually environment friendly cooking instruments. If a utensil performs a singular activity with such superiority that no different software can replicate it, then I’ll chunk. So after I heard about defrosting trays, which have been round for many years however are again within the highlight thanks partially to this video on TikTok, I figured it was price giving one a attempt. 

Within the video, TikTok person Emma Corridor sings the praises of her mom’s steel defrosting tray, claiming that “it actually defrosts something in half-hour.” She demonstrates it by including an ice dice to the tray which instantly begins to soften (a “management” dice on the counter was nonetheless rock stable). Was this magic? Or science? Or all a hoax? I made a decision to search out out.

What Is a Defrosting Tray?

The TL;DR explainer of how defroster trays work: They’re constructed from heat-conducting steel — like aluminum — that effectively switch the hotter temperature of your kitchen to the colder temperature of no matter you’re defrosting. The chilly temps within the meat (or different frozen meals) are then transferred to the tray. In different phrases: Science!

Might a easy steel plate, with no fancy electronics or batteries required, actually thaw meals faster than leaving it on the counter? I ordered an aluminum defrosting tray from Amazon and put it to the check with three completely different gadgets.

Right here’s How I Examined the Defrosting Tray

For my first check, I positioned an ice dice on the tray together with a management ice dice on my picket chopping board. The dice on the aluminum tray started to soften so shortly I couldn’t even get an image earlier than it began puddling! All instructed, the ice dice was utterly liquid inside three minutes, whereas the opposite one was stable and left solely a tiny quantity of water on the chopping board.

My second check actually demonstrated the validity of this tray’s efficiency: I thawed ice cream bars. Whereas I can’t think about any state of affairs by which I’d need to soften ice cream on a steel tray, I figured it might be a great way to essentially quantify the distinction between a “common” thaw and one utilizing the tray. The bar melted utterly inside 20 minutes and was just about a puddle midway by. In the meantime, over on my chopping board, the management bar had simply solely begun to melt. Good. I washed the tray with cleaning soap and water and ate the still-frozen ice cream, then ready for my last check.

The third check was crucial: Chicken. These trays are actually made for thawing meat (as a result of once more, who must soften ice cream?), so I used to be curious to see the way it stacked up in opposition to my standard technique. Usually, I thaw meat within the fridge, which might take as much as 24 hours. For the aim of this check, I used two boneless, skinless rooster breasts that had been wrapped in plastic and frozen. I unwrapped them each immediately from the freezer and positioned one on the steel tray, the opposite on a daily dinner plate.

After quarter-hour, I turned each items of rooster over. The one on the defrosting tray was thawing quicker — the center was a bit of squishy — however there was no approach it was going to be able to cook dinner in one other 15. After half-hour, I flipped them once more with related outcomes. After a full hour on the tray, the rooster was nonetheless about 75% frozen. I began to get nervous about meals security, and transferred the rooster and defrosting plate to my fridge to complete thawing. 

The rooster was lastly prepared after three hours (the primary hour on the counter, and the ultimate two within the fridge). Means quicker than my standard tactic however with one massive downside: The defrosting tray doesn’t have a “juice trench,” which meant that because the rooster thawed, its juices ran off the tray and into my fridge. Fortunately, I had put it on the underside shelf and I’ve Lysol wipes. 

Is a Defrosting Tray Well worth the Buy?

As dazzled as I used to be by its efficiency with the ice cream and ice dice, I don’t suppose this tray is well worth the buy. It doesn’t work miracles — deeply frozen meat gained’t thaw in half-hour just like the TikTok video says. My rooster was thawing at a quicker charge than it might with out the tray, however not quick sufficient to maintain it on the counter and threat a temperature dip into the hazard zone. Meals security is unquestionably a possible challenge right here since meat doesn’t thaw tremendous quick. And, like I stated, it’s undoubtedly a single-use software, so there’s no justifying it as, say, a makeshift cheese-and-charcuterie tray (until you need the Brie to start out oozing).

Arguments for shopping for it: It quickens the thawing course of for positive. I wager it might undoubtedly thaw fish fillets faster than my rooster, and it might be helpful for ending an almost-thawed piece of meat earlier than cooking it. It’s additionally thinner than cardboard and really light-weight; I saved mine nestled in proper subsequent to the baking sheets. It’s simply $15.99, which, let’s be actual, is lower than I pay for my month-to-month streaming companies. 

All in all, I feel the defrosting tray works finest as a celebration trick. However as for a staple in my kitchen? Not a lot.

Rochelle Bilow


Rochelle Bilow is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, the previous social media supervisor at Bon Appétit Journal and Cooking Mild Journal. She has additionally labored as a cook dinner on a small farm in Central New York, and a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York Metropolis. Join along with her @rochellebilow.

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