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This probably has an obvious answer I'm missing. To make a long story short, my mother helped us out with an event several months back involving having to serve breakfast to a large number of people including breakfast sausage, a mix of links and patties. Afterwards, as is her habit, she packaged up the leftovers in a plastic bag and handed them over to us. We set them in the chest freezer and frankly forgot about them for some time. We now have about 3-4 lbs of precooked sausage in a single frozen lump. I've tried breaking them off and cooking then in my cast-iron skillet in the mornings, but the patties break apart more than break off of the main mass, and when the patties are just about to turn into hockey pucks, the links are still frozen on the inside.

I'm a bit hesitant to thaw the mass because we'd just be refreezing it again, and my understanding is that it's a bad idea to repeatedly thaw and freeze meat. Is there a better way to handle this that doesn't involve us trying to eat a few pounds of processed meat at once or risk wasting it?

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One option: reheat slowly in the microwave and until it is barely unfrozen enough to break apart. Then break it down into meal-sized portions, take the part you want for now and wrap the remaining bits in cellophane so they don't freeze together again. (My advice as a self-judged microwave expert is to heat it up at low power in 3 minute increments at first, then 2 minute increments. Fairly early, you will find that some parts thaw faster than others. Once this temperature difference becomes apparent, you can wait like 5 minutes in between bouts of heating it up to allow the heat to even out over the lump.)

Given that the freezing and thawing will probably not do anything good for the texture, you might consider breaking the sausage up and adding it to something like sawmill gravy or strata (or just scrambled eggs) where you won't be eating it in large chunks.

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I would do my best to break off a good-sized lump, and defrost that in the fridge (which might take a couple of days but the outer parts should be usable before that). Then plan on eating that over a few days. If you pick a time when you've got more mouths to feed for at least one meal, that will alleviate the boredom. Chunks of cooked sausage can be used up in a casserole with lots of veg, where they won't be so similar to eating sausages.

I wouldn't mess about with microwaving as that seems like a recipe for getting some parts warm while the rest is still frozen, and sitting warm isn't good (that's when the bad things breed). It would probably be better to defrost the whole lot in the fridge and refreeze some, rather than warming. The texture of sausage shouldn't suffer too much, unlike pieces of meat.

You've learnt a lesson by the sound of things: freeze in manageable portions.

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Despite what you may have heard, multiple thawings and refreezings are safe, as long as the cumulative time spent at over 4 Celsius stays within the 2 hour limit. Also, the quality loss in thawing ground and cooked meat is much less pronounced than the quality loss in refreezing something like a steak.

So, I would defrost the whole lump in a bowl in the fridge (to avoid entering the danger zone at 4 C). Then repackage in single portions and freeze again. Then defrost single pieces as needed. It's not as great as it would have been if single-frozen from the beginning, but it is the best you can do now, and will still be quite good in quality.

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