Don't Refreeze Ground Beef After Doing This

Ground beef can be used to create meatballs or burgers, to enrich sauces, or even be used as breakfast, so naturally, it's a product that you'll want to keep stocked for lots of occasions. Things don't always work out as intended, though. You take the ground beef out for dinner, only to be distracted by takeout. Or maybe you're too full from lunch or have decided you're simply not in the mood for what you were making. But, if your ground beef is defrosted, you may want to be careful with what you do with it next. 

Ground beef can, and should, be defrosted in the fridge before use. As Allrecipes notes, this is the safest way to ensure it stays bacteria-free. The good news? If the takeout bug bites you while your meat is still in the refrigerator, you're in luck. You can take this hunk of beef from the fridge and freeze it again, says the USDA's Food & Safety Inspection Service.

What are best practices for refreezing beef?

While you can refreeze beef, it doesn't always mean you should. According to Southern Living, this beef won't be the tastiest, as the refreezing process can result in loss of moisture and a shift in texture. Soups, stews, and casseroles will be the best ideas for this meat — your cheeseburger will just have to wait.

However, if you used one of the multitudes of time-saving methods to defrost your meat, you may not be able to reuse it again. If you used a microwave or water to defrost it, according to Allrecipes, you'll have to cook it in order to ensure that there is no bacteria growth. But not all is lost: You can freeze the cooked meat to use at another time. It just has to be cooked completely through — no pink spots are allowed. So if you like your meat more on the rare or medium rare side, you may just be better off eating what you originally planned. 

There is a caveat to this rule, though. If you thawed your meat on the counter, The Daily Meal says that there is an increased risk of getting food poisoning due to foodborne bacteria, so then you should probably go with that takeout you were craving.