As with most meat, the safest way to thaw beef is in the refrigerator. Small cuts of beef can take up to 24 hours, while larger slabs can take a few days. If you’re in a pinch, frozen beef can be thawed in a bowl or container of lukewarm water. Place the bowl or container in the sink and leave under a running faucet. Never allow raw beef to thaw or sit on a counter or cutting board. Since it takes longer to thaw than most meats, it is more susceptible to bacteria growth.
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In order to effectively freeze beef, you’ll want to limit its exposure to air. This not only prevents the production of freezer burn, but also extends its shelf life to three months or longer. The best way to package beef is to wrap it tightly in freezer paper or plastic wrap. You should then wrap the meat in a layer of aluminum foil or place it in a plastic bag.
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For ground beef, keep refrigerated and use within one to two days. It can stay in its original container if the packaging hasn’t been opened. Steaks follow the same protocol, but can last a bit longer at three to five days. It’s actually best to allow a little airflow with stored meat, as tightly-adhered plastic like Saran wrap can make meat sweat and, as a result, less tender. Meat can be transferred to plastic containers, but should be covered loosely.
Never refrigerate raw meat if it’s been sitting out beyond two hours.
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Next: How to Store Flank Steak
How to Store Flank Steak
It is important for flank steak to be stored in the coldest part of your fridge and maintain a texture that is firm to the touch. Its original packaging is okay, but it will only keep for three to four days before you must consume or freeze it.
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Next: How to Thaw Flank Steak
How to Thaw Flank Steak
Since flank steak is red meat, the the best way to thaw it is in the refrigerator. You’ll want to avoid a microwave, since it may cook the edges before the center and give you very uneven textures.
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Flank steak is delicious when it’s marinated and then broiled or grilled. The combination of bourbon, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire in this marinade makes for a boozy, savory sauce that enlivens the meat. Whip it up for a quick dinner and use the leftovers in our Bourbon Steak Sandwich, with a Whiskey Sour or Old Fashioned cocktail.
Game plan: We tried this steak marinated for both 30 minutes and overnight—it grilled up juicy and tender in each instance, with not much flavor difference. So if you are planning for tomorrow night’s dinner, go ahead and marinate the meat today.
Read more about grilling or see Chowhound’s pan fried steak recipe for more.