The only reason to defrost food before cooking is because the outside will be overcooked by the time the middle reaches doneness. So the temperature you want the meat at before cooking depends entirely on how you're cooking it and what you're cooking. If you're cooking a steak in a frypan, you might even want to let the steak reach room temperature before you start to cook it, so that it takes less time for the middle to reach the desired doneness (and so less of the meat is overcooked).
Originally Posted by ozone
So defrosting meat only matters if you're using a dry cooking method (some part of the meat exposed to hot surface, oil or air, where it can burn). Wet cooking methods are temperature controlled, such as if you were stewing the meat (won't ever go above boiling temp unless it boils dry), using a crockpot (won't go above a simmer) or a sous-vide water oven (will stay at whatever temperature you set it, between room temperature and boiling). So you can put frozen meat in directly and the outside won't burn or be overdone while the inside defrosts.
Last edited by Doddibot; 08-17-2011 at 10:19 PM.
"Thanks to the combination of meat, calcium-rich leaf foods, and a vigorous life, the early hunter-gatherers were robust, with strong skeletons, jaws, and teeth." - Harold McGee, On Food And Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen