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Can meat freeze from the inside out?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

We received a turkey recently which was meant to be 'fresh'. When it arrived it was frozen on the inside. We are told that the fridge was probably set a bit low so the turkey froze on the inside.

I'm not rocket surgeon, but I would have thought that meat would always freeze from the outside in, and then thaw from the outside in. Meaning in this case that the only way for the turkey's inside to be frozen would be for the whole turkey to have frozen and then partially thawed.

 

So, is it possible for meat to freeze on the inside first or is by butcher pulling a fast one?

post #2 of 13

I've never heard of meat freezing from the inside out.  I think your butcher is not being up front about the source of your bird.

post #3 of 13

The specified temp for frozen meat is well below the temp for frozen water.  So for a fresh turkey there will likely be some frozen water inside.  Ask Alton Brown - he did a TV show that explains the details, I believe in Series 1.

post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

The specified temp for frozen meat is well below the temp for frozen water.  So for a fresh turkey there will likely be some frozen water inside.  Ask Alton Brown - he did a TV show that explains the details, I believe in Series 1.

My thoughts exactly Brian.
If anything the ice may have slowed, if not completely stopped bacterial growth.
Of course as soon as the ice melts it starts back up so as you already know , stick the bird in the coldest part of your fridge UNDER all the other contents.
Any dripping on the lettuce or leftovers may cause some unpleasant side effects.

mimi
post #5 of 13

From USDA regarding labeling of turkeys:

 

[quote]

What Does "Fresh" or "Frozen" Mean on a Turkey Label?
The term "fresh" may ONLY be placed on raw poultry that has never been below 26 °F. Poultry held at 0 °F or below must be labeled "frozen" or "previously frozen." No specific labeling is required on poultry between 0 and 26 °F.

This poultry label rule addresses a truth-in-labeling issue, not food safety, because most pathogenic bacteria do not multiply or multiply very slowly at normal refrigerator temperatures. The Agency concluded that the term "fresh" should not be used on the labeling of raw poultry products that have been chilled to the point they are hard to the touch.

 

Why is 26 °F the lowest temperature at which poultry remains fresh?

Below 26 °F, raw poultry products become firm to the touch because much of the free water is changing to ice. At 26 °F, the product surface is still pliable and yields to the thumb when pressed. Most consumers consider a product to be fresh, as opposed to frozen, when it is pliable or when it is not hard to the touch.

[/quote]

 

... or in more detail:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/487e1e26-1421-4ac1-a86c-c8e65f6ce885/Poultry_Label_Says_Fresh.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

 

... or hear it straight from Alton's mouth:

post #6 of 13

What Brian said. Fresh only means down to 27 degrees. 

 

I think there might be more to the pliability thing with the flesh though I have no sources. This is only anecdotal opinion. "Fresh" seems to me to be juicier when cooked compared to "Frozen". There does not seem to be as much cell damage from Fresh temps to the flesh of the bird. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 13

On a turkey you have all the bone lining the inside of the cavity, bone that will conduct cold better than fat and skin so I could see it freezing inside.

post #8 of 13

I buy a fresh Amish turkey each year. There is a ball of ice on the inside. Butcher says the turkeys are placed in a very cold warehouse where ice can form in the area that they are held is cooler than the rest of the room. It happens.

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFlibble View Post
 

-------

 

So, is it possible for meat to freeze on the inside first or is by butcher pulling a fast one?

 

Yes,

 

If the turkey has been "brined" the outer layer of meat will be saltier.

 

Salt will freeze at a lower temperature. The meat inside will get frozen first.

 

 

dcarch

post #10 of 13

This is called Frosted Poultry held on the borderline of freezing. Most chickens are held this way today in the supermart.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

This is called Frosted Poultry held on the borderline of freezing. Most chickens are held this way today in the supermart.

I thought so.
Just too much of a coincidence for every whole chicken to be at the same stage of frozen/defrost.
Question... say I am buying a Chicken and some are frozen and some are not.
Which should I chose?
Is the frozen bird an example of partial frost refrozen by accident?
Will it be of lesser quality or do you thing it just never made it to the partial defrost zone?
Fairly busy supermarket........

mimi
post #12 of 13

Thanks for clearing that up Ed - I learn something new every day.  

post #13 of 13


They are almost the same buy whichever cost less

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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