Is it necessary to pasteurize meats and poultry in sous vide before freezing it. For example, I see cook times for a thick lamb chop runs around 2 hrs at 131, but pasteurizes at 4.5 hours. Won’t that make it mushy? Is it unsafe to sous vide for normal cook time (not pasteurize) and then freeze meat?
Raina, Pasteurization generally isn’t necessary when freezing SV cooked solid pieces of meat for a few week’s storage when serving normally healthy people.
I always consider poultry to be contaminated and Pasteurize for chilled or frozen storage. Remember to always date and label each package for FIFO.
Baldwin (2004) cites findings in a study by Vaudagna et al. (2002) that beef could be held in the water bath up to 6 hours without significant effect. Lamb is sufficiently similar in composition so cook away.
As in my answer to your first question, it’s not necessarily unsafe to freeze un-Pasteurized solid meat items. When making your decision to Pasteurize, - or not, SV cooked meat destined to be frozen you might want to consider your planned length of storage and the probability of contamination.
In addition to consistent dating and labeling, best practices for freezing SV cooked meat and poultry include rapid and thorough 50% ice bath chilling, and limiting package thickness to a maximum of 2-inches or 50mm.
Stay safe and keep well.
Thank you so much for your answer. To make sure I understand:
Poultry should always be pasteurized if not being used right away. So, even if I wanted to use the chicken cold the next day, it should be pasteurized, but not necessary if I serve it hot right away.
If I cook the lamb chop even up until 6 hours, the texture won’t deteriorate.
As to the 2" thickness for freezing, I am assuming that with a large piece of meat, like a roast, the thickness doesn’t matter because the longer cook pasteurizes it.
Raina, yes, you’ve got it now, - mostly.
I recommend when SV cooking you forget all your conventional cooking experience so you won’t try to fit your SV technique to it.
Rather than following rule-based cooking i recommend you always think about what you are doing in terms of time and temperature and do so throughout your food preparation process. Aways being aware of time and temperature is as much a food safety as cooking essential.
I can’t imagine why anyone would cook lamb chops at any temperature for 6 hours, - but technically yes.
Thickness always matters.
When preparing a roast think about the time and temperature thing again through the process. Yes, Pasteurization means a longer cook, plus a longer chilling chilling time, plus a longer freezing time, plus a longer thawing time, plus longer reheating. In meat over 2" thick all those times are getting exponentially longer. It’s your choice.
You may want to consider the reason you freeze roasts. I generally don’t because i don’t want them hanging around in my freezer for months. If you thoroughly ice bath chill the roast (Baldwin 2004, Table 1.1) you can safely refrigerate it for up to a month. Just be sure to store it in the coldest part of your refrigerator, generally thats at the bottom at the back, and on a cooling rack to ensure air circulation all around it.
Happy cooking and keep well.