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How to defrost solid frozen thick steak - Microwave Ovens

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If you are using a microwave oven that does not have a "Defrost" program, you should run it a low power setting. This cycles the magnetron on and off and gives the heat energy a chance to disperse evenly through the steak instead of starting to cook some areas while the rest is still frozen. Put the steak in a pie plate or similar rimmed dish with a loosely fitting microwave-safe cover (plastic wrap is often used). My mother often puts an upside-down saucer under the meat so any liquid would drain off.

The next question is how long it will take to defrost. If you are up for some arithmetic and you know the power rating of your oven, we can calculate it. (If your oven has a defrost-by-weight feature, it does all of the figuring for you and you can skip the following if you want.) I'm used to doing this in metric units since I was raised as a physicist, but I'll give you conversion factors.

Numbers:
M = weight of steak in kilograms (multiply pounds by 0.4536). I'll assume you have a one-pound steak in my example calculation.
Tf = Temperature of frozen steak in degrees C. For a typical home freezer at 0°F, this is -18°. The conversion formula is subtract 32 from the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit, then multiply this by 5/9.
P = Oven power at the Low power setting. If you have your owner's manual, this is probably listed in the specification. If not, you can make a good guess by dividing the full power rating on the label by the number of power steps, e. g., if you have a 1000 watt oven with five power steps, the lowest power setting will be 200 watts and the next one will be 400 watts. Since this is a thick steak, I'd pick the 400 Watt setting.
Other numbers: Specific heat of water is 4.375 kiloJoules/kilogram per degree C (this accounts for the energy needed to bring the steak up to the melting point), and Heat of Fusion (energy needed to finish thawing once the steak gets up to 0 degrees Celsius) is 334 kJ/kg.

Formula: Defrost time in seconds = M * ((0 - Tf) * 4.375 kJ/kg/ °C + 334 kJ/kg)/P *1000 Joules/kJ.
The last part converts kiloJoules to Joules, which is a factor of 1000. Watts = Joules per second, which is where we get the time we want to calculate.
Example using a one pound (0.4536 kg) steak starting at 0°F (-18°C) in an oven on a 400 Watt setting:

T = 0.4536 * (18*4.375 + 334) /400 * 1000 = 468 seconds per pound = 7 minutes, 48 seconds

Notes: you can assume your freezer temperature is fairly constant, and the power setting you use will also be fixed, so you calculate all of this once, including the 0.4536 kg per pound conversion factor and write the number down on a note to stick on the refrigerator or wherever you like. Then all you have to do is multiply the weight of whatever in pounds by this number to get the defrost time. For thin items, use a lower power setting and adjust the formula's power value accordingly.

This is necessarily not an exact calculation because steak is not all water. That means it won't absorb the microwave energy with 100% efficiency, and the specific heat won't be the same either. However, it will get you close enough to set a reasonable time on the oven.

Posted on May 19, 2011

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Try this video which will help you defrost foods safely. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS6mRtRKG8Y
If you have extra time though, defrosting food in refrigerator is still the best way.

Posted on May 19, 2011

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You can set your microwave to defrost or 50% power to defrost steak
if this was helpful please give it a thumbs up to help others too

Posted on May 19, 2011

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