Brining meat is a great way to impart flavour, lock in moisture and improve the texture of any meat… But it also takes a fair bit of time. So, can you brine meat days ahead of time?
Can You Freeze Brined Meat?
Yes, you can freeze brined meat for up to 3 months. The best way to do this is to freeze the meat within the brine in a freezer bag. Leave a little room for the liquid to expand into as it freezes, and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Does Brined Meat Freeze Well? Yes
Can You Refreeze Brined Meat? No
How to Freeze Brined Meat
Freezing brined meat can be a little tricky, especially when you consider that brine is liable to expand when it freezes. Follow our steps to ensure success in your home.
- Portion Out: You cannot refreeze meat under any circumstances, so making sure that you freeze the meat and brine in portions is a good idea so portion it out equally.
- Bag Up: Place each portion of the meat into a freezer bag first, and then place the brine on top of that. The reason is that it will allow you a much better visual understanding of the amount of space that you have left in the bag as you’re adding the brine and meat to it.
- Seal: Liquids can expand by as much as 20% in the freezer, so you must leave room for expansion as the liquid expands in your freezer. If you don’t do this, the water will burst the bag. Providing you have space in the bag, seal them up.
- Label and Freeze: Finally, write a clear label on each bag and then carefully pop them into the freezer. It’s worth keeping the sealed edge facing up to avoid any accidental spillages.
3 Tips for Freezing Brined Meat
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing brined meat to have the best results:
Freeze in the Brine
It might seem like a good idea to drain the brine from the meat before freezing it but this is actually not recommended. The brine will both protect the meat when it is in the freezer but will also flavour the meat at defrosts.
Don’t Expect It to be as Good
Unfortunately, frozen brined meat will not be as firm and well seasoned as freshly brined meat but this is often the case with freezing anything. However, it won’t be significantly worse so it’s still worth freezing it.
Freeze In Portions
You won’t be able to chisel away some of the brine to thaw some of the brined meat, so make sure you portion out the meat before freezing it so you can grab a portion at a time. Refreezing brined meat is a big no-no!
How Long Can You Freeze Brined Meat?
You can freeze brined meat for around 3 months.
Beyond that time, the meat should still be perfectly fine to eat, but it is unlikely to be at its best – freezer burn may have set in, damaging the protein and, in turn, the texture.
You won’t want to keep brined meat in the fridge for much longer than 2 days. The meat may go off, but the brine may also over season the meat.
How Do You Defrost Brined Meat?
The best way to defrost brined meat is to sit it in the fridge overnight.
This process will ensure that the meat thaws fully, leaving no ice left inside, and also that the meat itself is never stored unsafely.
Storing meat unsafely is the primary way that people get food poisoning, so make sure to avoid that by keeping the brined meat in the fridge while it thaws.
Can You Refreeze Brined Meat?
No, you certainly cannot refreeze brined meat.
It’s never safe to refreeze meat, no matter what’s been done to it. The reason for this is that during the thawing and standing process, some bacteria can settle on the meat and grow there, leading to meat that wouldn’t be safe to eat.
If you were to then freeze that, you would be preserving the bacteria for later and potentially spreading it throughout your freezer to other foods.
Does Brined Meat Freeze Well?
Yes, brined meat does freeze well. The main reason that brined meat freezes well is that the meat is kept within a small pocket of hard ice, which prevents any level of ice from forming directly inside the meat itself.
This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s the reason why soups and stews are among the best-freezing items that you can make! The brine acts as a great barrier.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing brined meat or brine in general, then these may help:
Yes, brined turkey can be frozen. It’s a good idea to stick to freezing smaller cut of turkey (and other poultry) so that it doesn’t take up too much room and so portions can be defrosted as and when needed.
Pork chops can be frozen in brine for around 3 months. Place two pork chops into a freezer bag, submerge in brine and then seal the bags up before popping them into the freezer.
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