We all get over-excited at times. In our excitement, maybe it’s a special celebration or an extended family dinner, we tend to cook too much meat. Throwing out our steak leftovers is not economical and downright wasteful so we try to preserve it.
Freezing is the best and most commonly used form for preserving food. Freezing keeps the quality of your food by deactivating enzymes that can cause a change in color or taste in your food. It isn’t a permanent solution though, as freezing cannot keep the quality of your food forever. Freezing delays the spoiling effect that those enzymes present in your food has and keeps the nutrients intact.
However, freezing for too long causes “freezer burn”. Freezer burn occurs when your frozen food has dehydrated and undergone oxidation. To avoid this, most frozen foods have a limited shelf life of 2 to 3 months.
With all that being said, do you have some leftover cooked steak and were wondering if you could freeze it? Yes, you can freeze a cooked steak. According to the USDA, meat kept frozen at 0° is good for a long while. Freezing your cooked steak can help it keep its taste, quality, and nutrients. You should, however, let the cooked steak cool down to room temperature before wrapping each meat in foil or airtight bags for freezing.
Also, be sure to scoop in some of the juices with the steak so that it retains some moisture when you thaw and defrost.
Cooked steak is not a common leftover and most people do not have an idea of how to preserve it. But, you do not have to let it go to waste anyway.
Freezing Cooked Steak
Freezing your cooked steak can extend its edibility for about 2-3 months. But you have to be careful and keep checking for signs of freezer burn. The size of your steak can determine how long it lasts or how long it would stay frozen without getting freezer burn. Please note that your cooked steak is in no danger of losing its flavor, taste, or texture after you properly freeze it. You still have the same texture of steak before and after defrosting. You cannot use freezing to soften your steak.
How to Properly Freeze Cooked Steak
Cooked Steak, if properly stored, would last about 3-4 days in the refrigerator and 2-3 months in the freezer and would probably still be safe to eat a while after that. Meat contains a lot of water so freezing turns the water in it into ice crystals. Thawing and reheating your cooked meat repeatedly could result in an overcooked or dry meal. These are steps through which you can ensure that your cooked steak is properly stored.
Step 1: Allow the Cooked Steak to cool down
You need to allow your cooked steak to cool down to room temperature before storage. But, you should freeze or refrigerate your cooking steak at most two hours after cooking.
Step 2: Store in Airtight Freezer Wrap or Aluminum Foil
Airtight freezer bags, freezer wrap, or heavy-duty aluminum foil come into play here. Take each piece of meat and wrap them separately in your airtight bags or foil.
Ensure that you try to squeeze out as much air as you can from the bags or foil before sealing it off.
Step 3: Store Safely in the Freezer
When placing the wrapped or sealed meat into the freezer, ensure that you place it on the lowest shelf or compartment so that fluids that might drip from it would not contaminate other food items you have stored in the freezer.
Also, ensure that you don’t stack them on each other. Place them separately with enough space in between them so that air can go around and freeze it uniformly.
Knowing how to properly freeze your cooked steak is very important because it doesn’t only help you avoid freezer burn, it also helps you prevent “flavor taint”.
How to Reheat Frozen Cooked Steak
There are various ways to thaw your frozen cooked steak, you could transfer it from the freezer into the fridge so it would thaw slowly.
There is another option of using room temperature water to thaw it. You get potable water that is at room temperature into a bowl and place your frozen cooked steak into it without removing the foil or airtight bags. You can change the water when it gets cold and keep turning the frozen meat so it thaws evenly.
As there are numerous ways to thaw your frozen meat, there is no single method of reheating your frozen cooked steak. You could use the easy and fast method: microwaving. In 45 seconds, your cooked steak is ready to eat again. But, it would be best to reheat in a shallow pan rather than a microwave as it helps you retain moisture.
Does Freezing Cooked Steak Affect the Taste?
The microwave can make your cooked steak taste different by drying out most of the moisture. But, if properly wrapped while freezing, and take the appropriate measures to reheat, it will taste just as good as when you first ate.
How to Know if Leftover Cooked Steak is Safe to Eat
How can you tell if your cooked steak has already gone bad? You should be able to tell by its appearance or taste. Spoiled meat does not smell right and can also have a slimy texture. However, if you notice that your cooked steak has a sour smell, please do not taste it first, that should be a clear sign that the steak is no longer good to eat. You can check for the presence of a slimy texture or procure the help of an extra nose.