I had bought six pieces of steak and forgot to refrigerate them. They were in a bag overnight and the next morning when I realized what had happened I quickly put them all in the freezer. They are not individually wrapped. How can I thaw one out and leave the rest frozen? Or should I thaw them all out and keep them in the refrigerator and eat them over the next several days?

  • If you left them overnight at room temperature, you probably should not eat them at all. I know that is not something you want to hear, especially for steak, which can be very expensive. See: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34670/…
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Oct 17, 2013 at 21:11
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    Under no circumstances should you eat these. Two hours is the limit for leaving raw meat at room temperature. Some may decide that they can tolerate some risk and stretch it to 3-4 hours, but overnight is just beyond the pale. There is no way they are still safe to eat.
    – Aaronut
    Oct 18, 2013 at 1:01
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    @Aaronut What temperature was it over night in B.C.? Temp and time just increase the risk, they do not by themselves make food unsafe. In many cultures people hang meat to age at 'room' temperature without issue. Sure cut meat has even more chance of bacterial exposure, but they were in a closed container. To say "there is no way" is a little over the top
    – TFD
    Oct 18, 2013 at 7:11
  • @TFD: They don't hang meat raw, it's cured. And it's also not room temperature, it's in a special cold-room. And it's also not small cuts, it's entire animals (small cuts are always put in a refrigerated, insulated "hot box" for aging). It's never safe to leave raw meat at room temperature for that long.
    – Aaronut
    Oct 19, 2013 at 1:37
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    @Aaronut, yes in modern over-processed cultures they cure it, many traditional cultures do not, and survived fine. For comparison a similar climate to B.C. is Mongolia, they open air cure "Borts" (cattle and sheep) in the Autumn months
    – TFD
    Oct 19, 2013 at 2:10

1 Answer 1


In your specific case I wouldn't eat them after being left unrefrigerated all night due to safety concerns.

However if I've frozen steak safely and later decided that I want single portion I've found found that a cold chisel normally used for metalworking does a good job of seperating them without defrosting the whole lot. The following image from Wikipedia illustrates what they look like:

cold chisel

I place the meat on a wooden cutting board on it's edge, press the chisel in between where the steaks are joined and give it a quick strike with a hammer. I've tried doing the same with a meat cleaver but the narrow edge on the chisel seems much easier and more effective.

Presumably the steel used may not be food grade in the usual sense but being tempered I can't see any realistic chance of anything nasty being transferred to the meat, assuming it's clean of course.

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