Thawing a steak can take anywhere from 24 hours to 10 minutes, depending on the method. The safest methods that also preserve the quality of the meat are thawing in the refrigerator, thawing in cold water and thawing in hot water.
Thawing in the refrigerator can take up to 24 hours; the cook should make sure that raw juice does not drip on other items in the fridge. Thawing in cold water generally takes 1 or 2 hours. Thawing in hot water of about 100 degrees Fahrenheit takes about 10 minutes; researchers determined that this method is so quick that it does not allow time for the meat to develop bacteria, the reason why thawing at room temperature without water is discouraged.