The game-changing trick that makes defrosted meat taste better

If you are in the habit of keeping a stash of meat in your freezer at all times, you are probably familiar with the slight change in flavor that occurs once the meat is defrosted. Meat the Butchers explains when meat is frozen, sharp little ice crystals form within the flesh, causing some of the fibers to weaken and break down. Once the meat is thawed, these weak spots allow some of the meat's inherent flavor to seep out.

This is frustrating, of course, because you paid for that flavor and it feels a tiny bit like you're being punished for planning ahead and buying in bulk, right? Fortunately, there's a solution and it's probably sitting in your pantry right now. According to The Kitchn, adding a splash of balsamic vinegar to your meat as it defrosts will add subtle flavor to steak, pork, or chicken and the acid actually helps tenderize the protein, making you forget it ever spent a minute in the icebox. Here's how to put this game-changing trick to work in your kitchen.

Add balsamic vinegar to your meat as it defrosts

Before we get into how simple it is to bump up the flavor of defrosted meat with balsamic vinegar, let's cover some ground rules. Unless you want harmful bacterial cooties, do not thaw your meat on the counter or in hot water. According to The Kitchn, the proper way to defrost meat is either in the refrigerator for as long as needed or, if you're in a hurry, under cool running water. The microwave works, too, but that doesn't leave time for the balsamic vinegar to work its magic, which is the real reason we're all here.

To put this trick into action, The Kitchn recommends adding one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar per pound of meat to a zip-top bag along with your frozen meat. Thaw in the refrigerator or under cool water; as the meat defrosts its natural juices will combine with the vinegar to create plenty of liquid for the meat to marinate in. The meat will be infused with the balsamic's sweet, complex flavor, and the acid will tenderize and preserve the protein (via the Institute of Culinary Education). Once the meat has thawed and you're ready to cook, remove the steak, pork, or chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Cook the meat as you normally would – just be sure to add oil as needed to prevent sticking. With this game-changing trick in your back pocket, you'll never be stuck with bland, boring meat again.