As a professional chef with experience from dozens of restaurants, I know a thing or two about the usage of meats in restaurants and how it is done. I have heard so many times from my family and friends that I really don’t know about it: ”do you think this burger patty was frozen” and something similar within those lines.
This is why I decided to spit my word out there because I can imagine that my family and friends aren’t the only ones wondering the same question. This article will teach you about meat usage in restaurants, among other facts about meat, but first, we need to understand whether restaurants use frozen meat or not?
Restaurants use frozen meat all the time because it is easier to preserve; therefore, the life of restauranteurs and the food suppliers become much easier. Another reason restaurants use frozen meat is that it is more hygienic to maintain because ”fresh” meat isn’t always fresh.
That is the short version of it all, and there are more to it, so if you really want to know the truth about why restaurants use frozen meat, you should definitely stick with me! Let’s see all the reasons why restaurants use frozen meat.
Why do restaurants use frozen meat
The first and most obvious benefit of using frozen meat is the convenience. When the meat is frozen, you can store them for months in the freezer without them being of less quality than fresh meat if the thawing process is done right.
However, restaurants usually have a great idea on how much of the meat will go each day, so they don’t just over order meat to the freezer, but it is a good option. In addition, quality steak, beef, and meat of that sort aren’t purchased frozen, whereas burger patties and seafood can be. In fact, frozen shrimp is far better in taste and texture when it is prepared from frozen conditions!
Read also: Why Is Seafood So Expensive?
Another big reason for buying frozen meat is the hygiene aspect. Think about it, if the restaurant that is buying frozen seafood is in the mid land, hundreds of miles away from the sea it is quite challenging for the food suppliers to deliverr the seafood fresh without freezing it. Bacteria will become to multiply really easily if the cold chain is broken in any point, especially when meat is considered.
When talking about meat in general, if it isn’t attached to a living organism or preserved in the right way from the moment the organism stops living, it starts to rot. Therefore some meats and seafood are just better to freeze.
This doesn’t by any means mean that you shouldn’t purchase or order meats that are labeled as non-frozen because, in most cases, they are perfectly safe to eat.
Lastly, frozen burgers are usually more nutrition-rich than fresh ones because the cattle are slaughtered at their peak time when they have consumed the most nutritional foods, and the time is usually summer. Beef that has been slaughtered at the right time and frozen immediately has the most nutrients in them, containing good linoleic acids, omega 3 fatty acids, and additional nutritional benefits.
When the meat is bought frozen, it is easier to decide how much you need of it because you can. It isn’t like that with fresh meats because it needs to be used within the next 5 days max (on average). This often leads to overpreparing, which results in food waste that should be reduced.
Read also: Why Restaurants Throw Away Food?
Last but not least is the cost. Many restaurants purchase certain frozen meats and seafood for their price. They are cheaper because transportation and storing fresh foods are costly compared to frozen meats. When combining the other benefits of certain frozen meats, the price pushes them to use that because restaurants are always trying to save money. Keep in mind that not all meat should be frozen by any means!
What meats you can and shouldn’t freeze
Your next question is probably what meats you can and what meats you can’t freeze, and I totally understand that you want to know the specifics because of all the generic ”meat” talk. Below I have listed meats that are sometimes frozen in a restaurant.
- Hamburger patties
In general, all meats can be frozen, but we are now talking about restaurants and there are meats that restaurants don’t want to freeze to ensure the highest quality possible. The freezer will treat the 5 types of meat above very well, but let’s look at what meats usually aren’t found in the restaurant’s freezer.
- Steak meats
- Lamb chops
In many cases, if you were to freeze these meats, nothing really wouldn’t happen to them, but when the meat is frozen, it will create ice crystals within the structure of the meat that will rupture when the meat is thawed. Therefore, the texture might not be the same. Because of this, restaurants usually don’t freeze the high-quality steak meats and other premium cuts.
Why is frozen meat cheaper
Generally, frozen meat is cheaper because it is easier to transport and store which is easier for all parties such as the slaughterhouses, logistics companies, food suppliers, and restaurants. This way all the stages from the slaughterhouse to the restaurant table are stress-free and cheap.
Does freezing meat change the taste
In short, freezing meat won’t change the taste if it is done right. However, if the meat is affected with frostbites, this will create ruptures to the water cells within the meat, and the meat’s texture will expand. This could result in lost flavor. However, with modern-day freezing technology, the flavor is easier to preserve.
Do restaurants use frozen vegetables
Restaurants use frozen vegetables constantly because of many reasons. First of all, frozen vegetables are available throughout the year because of the year-long shelf life. In addition, they are cheaper, easy to store, cheap, and as nutritional or even more as fresh ones. Also, the portion control is far superior.
Do restaurants use pre-made food
As a rule of thumb, f 99% of restaurants never offer pre-made food to customers, although they may use certain premade sauces, broths, and condiments. Also, restaurants might use pre-breaded or seasoned meats; however, this isn’t considered pre-made food.
How do restaurants thaw meat
Restaurants thaw meat by anticipating the need and placing the meats well in advance to the refrigerator, so they are fully defrosted and ready to be prepared when the need has come. Sometimes chefs forget the need, and meat can be defrosted with cold water or simply cooking them from frozen.
There are also some additional ways to do it, and I have an in-depth article about the matter that I encourage you to read!
When it comes to frozen meat, there are many rules of thumb to keep in mind to get the best result of the product. I hope that this article was valuable to you and that you learned a lot about the restaurant’s practices and using habits when talking about frozen meat, among some additional information about it!