This is the safest (and easiest) way to thaw your venison, though it does require a bit of planning ahead. You’ll want to place your venison cuts in the fridge at least 24 hours before you’re ready to cook them. Larger pieces can take a little longer, so adjust accordingly. For more information on how long you can store thawed meat in the fridge before you’re ready to cook, check out the USDA guidelines here.
Cold Water Method
This is the fastest way to thaw your venison—it just requires a bit more of your attention. Leave your venison in its airtight packaging and submerge in cold tap water, changing out the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. Small cuts of meat weighing a pound or less can be thawed within an hour using this method, while larger cuts may take up to 2-3 hours. It’s important to note that meat should be cooked immediately once thawed.
In a Pinch?
You may choose to thaw in the microwave, though this is not our favorite option. Microwaves tend to thaw unevenly, partially cooking some areas of the meat while leaving others raw, which gives you less control over the final product. If you do choose this method, remove from packaging, place on a microwave safe dish, and plan to cook your venison immediately, as holding partially cooked food at room temperature is not recommended.
Never thaw your venison on the kitchen counter, in the garage or outdoors. These methods create opportunities for bacteria to grow, leaving your meat unsafe for consumption.
Next > Flavoring Techniques