Cooking large cuts of meat such as pork roast takes a bit of planning ahead, especially when the roast ]currently is frozen solid. Tempting as it may be to leave it on the counter to thaw overnight, this method is too dangerous. Instead, use one of several safer options for defrosting a pork roast, whether you need it in a few days or a few hours.
The Dangers of Thawing at Room Temperature
Any type of frozen raw meat, including pork roast, never should be left at room temperature to thaw. As soon as the outside of the pork roast reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria can grow and multiply; the bacteria continue to thrive as the pork thaws, increasing the risk of food-borne illness and cross-contamination.
Preferred Thawing Method: Refrigerator
The best way to thaw pork roast -- both for safety and quality purposes -- is to leave it in the refrigerator. This method takes the most time but preserves the flavor and texture of the roast better than any other method. A small roast takes three to five hours per pound to thaw in the refrigerator, while a large roast takes four to seven hours per pound. If you decide not to cook it, it is safe to refreeze the roast after thawing it in the refrigerator.
Cold Water Thawing
If you're pressed for time, try the cold-water method for thawing your pork roast. Keep the roast in its original packaging or place it in an airtight resealable bag, then submerge it in a large container of cold water; change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold. Roughly speaking, a pork roast should take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw using this method. If you choose to defrost your pork this way, you must cook it immediately once it is thawed; do not refreeze.
Thawing a pork roast in the microwave is the fastest method; however, this may result in a change in the texture of the roast -- particularly in the outermost parts, which may partially cook during microwave defrosting. To preserve the texture of the meat as best as possible, use the defrost setting or reduce the power to 50 percent. As with the cold-water method, do not refreeze pork roast thawed in the microwave; plan to cook it immediately.
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