Thaw, Smoke & Refreeze

Discussion in 'Fish' started by mofo, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. mofo

    mofo Meat Mopper

    I have some salmon in the freezer from a fishing trip last July. Would it be ok to thaw it out and smoke it and then refreeze it for later consumption? For some reason, I've always thought that it was not a good idea to refreeze previously frozen foods???


  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I do that all the time and it works just fine. I always stock up on meat that is on sale and throw it in the freezer to smoke at a later days. A lot of people do that here. No sense passing up on a great sale just because you can't smoke it right away.
  3. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Its ok to freeze thaw cook and refreeze. not ok to freeze thaw and refreeze.
  4. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you know any of the specifics behind if you were to cook a piece of meat what ever it may be then freeze it then thaw it to eat some then refreeze it then thaw it and eat some then refreeze it and so on and so on. I just had a debate with a guy I know the other day on this subject. He takes his summer sausage that he has made at a local locker plant and cuts it up in thirds and freezes them. When he goes fishing he takes a chunk with him (thawed out) and eats some then refreezes whatever he hasn't eaten so he can take it with him next time and continues to do this until its all gone. Its always kept cold in a cooler when its not frozen. Do you see any issue with the thaw/freeze/thaw/freeze/thaw of a piece of meat like that?

    If it was left out in the open above 40 degrees I can totally see the issue with bacteria and all that but lets just say if it was always kept below 40 degrees when it wasn't frozen are there any issues? I couldn't come up with a conclusion either way. What are you guys thoughts???
  5. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't see any problem with it, I haven't checked the FDA but I think it is just an ol wives tale. Maybe someone here can prove me otherwise.
  6. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    With fish especially I would be concerned about texture.  Everytime you thaw and refreeze the ice crystals reform furthering the break down of the structure of the fish.   By smoking the fish you are removing some of that moisture so it may not be to noticeable but I am very familiar with mushy fish that has been defrosted and refrozen.

    As far as the summer sausage and bacteria, if he is breaking off a chunk with his hands or grabbing a big ole bite while in the boat he is introducing bacteria.  Remember bacteria continue to grow in cold temperatures, just more slowly.  Toxins are not normally destroyed by freezing.  Every time that food comes out of the freezer and warms up just a bit the population of bacteria will get a jump start (compared to their rate of growth in the freezer).  Eventually, I don't know how long or how many times, the bacteria will grow to the point that the sausage could be dangerous.  If he is using a Nitrate cure the rate of bacterial growth is slowed even further but then why would he have it in the freezer.

    He would be better served vacuum packing single portions and not returning the unused portion to the freezer.

    As far as MOFO's original question.  How many times was the fish frozen and defrosted prior to you getting it?  Fresh off the boat or part of a pack from Sam's Club?   I would not refreeze the fish for any length of time.  2 or 3 weeks max after returning to the freezer, but we eat a lot of fish down here and I am picky about the firmness of the flesh.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I would be consered about the texture like Al has said. It could get mushy on youre too. Then Rbrans says he has done it many times so. So I would try it and see if you like it and then do the rest.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Last year my son brought me about 170 pounds of Salmon. I couldn't get it all in that darn little MES 30.

    First of all the safest thing you can do is freeze it to 0˚ for at least 30 days to be sure it is all free of parasites.

    Then smoke as much as you want at a time.

    Then freeze some if you want.

    If you are going to cook it to over 160˚, you don't have to do the freezing method I mentioned.

  9. mofo

    mofo Meat Mopper

    I am the first to freeze it. I caught it on Lake Michigan last summer.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  10. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I dont have any specifics but I have only one experience. When I was green to sausage making Good Kielbasa was not available here in nc so when I went back home to pa. to visit I would bring back some fresh and some smoked kielbasa. I would throw it in the freezer and then put it in an ice cooler for an 9hr drive. Well It happened. I believe the meat did not go above 40 degrees for the ride. cooked and ate it and it was the worst I ever felt. I boiled the fresh kielbasa for  ten minutes so I Know it was thoroughly cooked. I cant explain how the bactiria survived but it did and it kicked my ..........I would not recommend thawing and refreezing of fresh meat, poultry and seafood and I dont know of any establishments using this practice. I'll check with my local dept of agriculture and see what I can find. I will be applying for a meat handling license soon so I'll check on it...... That will be another thread
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would say it would go bad just after the point where it would only cause freezer burns.

    Back in the day I used to keep a 6 pack or two under my truck seat. Freeze thaw Freeze thaw freeze thaw...........

    That was some nasty tasting beer too!

    If you cracked it open while partially frozen, you'd have to stick your mouth over the hole (don't get excited) to keep it from spouting all over the place.

    Then the alcohol would separate from the ice---Yuck!

    But hey---Beer's Beer !   Grin & drink it!

    For you whipper snappers:

    This was during the days when drinking & driving wasn't near as big a deal as it is now, because there wasn't more than two or three other people on the road.

    And before you say the beer can would explode---They used to use heavy tin, not paper thin aluminum.

    I'm done,

  12. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    That was also in the day that finding a road that would allow you to get the car up over 50 mph was big news

    Bear is the only one I know that remembers hand cranking the car to get it started. 

    Back then if you wanted air conditioning you rolled the window down.  

    If you hit a deer or small cow you kept going because aside from maybe some scratched paint there was no damage.

    AM radio was a big deal.

    Powder blue paint with white trim was hot!

    I could go on but I'd just make him mad.
  13. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    8 tracks and partying in honesdale pa...............................those were the days..............
  14. bilder

    bilder Fire Starter

    I thaw, smoke and then freeze again all the time.  I average over 200 pounds of smoked or canned salmon a year and while fresh is best, it is not always possible to process all that fish at one time.

    If you really want a treat, try canning smoked salmon.  The canning process intensifies the smoke flavor and it makes an awesome dip. 

    Here is the USDA site on refreezing meats.  Should answer some questions others have posted.
    mofo likes this.
  15. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL---You got it exactly right, except the cranking part. 

    Believe it or not, I never even saw one of those, except on "The Waltons".



    And Honesdale is the place we always stopped for breakfast, on our way up to the Little Equinunk & The Dyberry for trout!

  16. mofo

    mofo Meat Mopper

    thanks for the link bilder.
  17. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Well I have to correct myself. according to the article from the usda, YES you can thaw and refreeze RAW meat as long as it still has ice particals and/or the temp didnt go above 40 degrees for 2 or more hrs.......

    It was not mentioned in the thawing and refreezing column but in the power outage in the freezer section.

    I personally would not use this kind of practice...............

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