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Do Frozen Steaks Lose Freshness?

Have you noticed how convenient everything has become these days? Sometimes it’s hard not to take it for granted – but if you look around, there are countless ways in which life has never been easier. From modern kitchen appliances to smartphones and wearable technology, people are always finding ways to save time. Food is another big one. Since people are busier than ever, they’re always on the hunt for simpler ways to eat well.

This is where frozen food comes in. When you don’t have time to buy fresh ingredients or research recipes, reaching for something in your freezer is quick and convenient. For a lot of people, this includes steaks. The idea that you can store steak in your freezer and reach for it in a pinch almost sounds too good to be true. People often wonder – do frozen steaks taste the same as fresh ones? Or is the freshness and flavor of the steak compromised in the process of freezing, transporting, and ultimately thawing the steak in order to cook it?

The answer may come as a surprise. Several recent experiments have taken two steaks from an identical (and reputable) source. One steak was frozen and the other refrigerated. Once the frozen steak had been completed thawed again, both steaks were prepared in exactly the same way. What did the experiments find?

Both steaks had about the same mass prior to cooking, and lost about the same amount of mass during cooking. Both steaks had the same texture and tenderness after cooking, and a cross section of both steaks looked almost identical.

So far, so good – right? But there was a big difference between the two steaks: Flavor.

Even though both steaks weighed the same, cooked the same, cut the same, and even had the same level of juiciness, the steak that had not been frozen carried significantly more flavor – as in beefy, buttery goodness. That’s not to say the frozen steak had no flavor at all, or was seriously compromised. But if you want to get the very best flavor out of the steak, freezing it is simply not the way to go.

As a matter of convenience, stocking up on steak and putting in the freezer can be great when you don’t want to run to the store for fresh steak, or when you need something quick yet delicious for your evening menu. But make no mistake – you will lose some flavor in the process of freezing and thawing steak.

When you visit a steakhouse, you should fully expect every cut of beef on the menu to be fresh. If the steak has been frozen, it’s not fresh – and you won’t get the full flavor profile, no matter how skilled the chef may be. Don’t hesitate to ask your waiter to make sure the steak you’re about to order is fresh and never frozen. Obviously there will be no way to know for sure – but if you’re in a reputable establishment, you’ll be able to trust that every steak on the menu is from a reputable source and has been transported fresh.

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