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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Raw pork ribs can be refrigerated in their original packaging. The meat typically stays fresh for three to five days, but can last even longer if it remains unopened.
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Overwrap pork ribs in their original packaging with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Ribs can last from four to six months in the freezer.
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The fastest way to thaw ribs isn't necessarily the best. You can always use the defrost setting on your microwave and determine thawing time based on weight, but this may start to cook the meat. Alternatively, you can place the frozen ribs in a freezer bag and allow them to sit in a bowl of cold water. Continue to replace the cold water every 30 minutes. The most effective and time-consuming option is to place the ribs in the fridge, though a rack may take up for three days to fully thaw. Plan ahead!
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Using cola in this short ribs recipe helps balance the spicy rub, but don’t expect the sticky-sweet oven-braised version of this dish. These ribs are rubbed with a spice mix and browned in the pressure cooker; then cola, soy sauce, and Worcestershire are added to make a flavorful, balanced cooking liquid. Just 30 minutes later, once the ribs have become fork tender, the sauce is thickened to make a beefy, savory gravy. Serve the ribs and sauce over mashed potatoes with an escarole and mushroom salad on the side.
What to buy: Look for the common English-cut beef short ribs, which are about 2 to 2 1/2 inches thick. Because of the thickness of short rib bones, have your butcher cut them crosswise into 2-1/2-inch-long pieces. Do not purchase Korean-style beef short ribs, which are about 1/4 inch thick with three rib bones attached.
Game plan: Though the CHOW Test Kitchen prefers a stovetop pressure cooker, this recipe can also be made in an electric model. Use the brown setting for steps 2 and 3, then proceed with high pressure cooking. Return the pressure cooker to the brown setting to finish the sauce in the last step.
This recipe was featured as part of our story on pressure cookers.