T-Minus 5 (Time To Thaw The Turkey)
Posted by Caveman Cooking on November 16, 2012
If your Thanksgiving turkey is chillin’ in the freezer, you are going to need to make some plans in the next several days to start defrosting it. The method you choose, and the size of your bird, will determine when you need to commence the thawing process in order to guarantee you won’t be left with a turkey-bowling ball on the big day.
When defrosting your bird, it is critical to follow strict guidelines so as to not poison yourself and your guests with some bacteria borne illness. Personally, I don’t like the microwave method because the turkey usually starts to cook in the process. So, I try to follow one of two thawing procedures, the Refrigerator Method (the slow, and best way) or the Cold Water Method (the quick way). Whichever way you choose to do it, DO NOT just let it defrost on your countertop … you’ll be inviting food-borne illnesses to your Holiday meal.
Refrigerator Method (Recommended)
For this procedure it is important to really plan ahead. You need to allow about 24 hours for every 5 pounds in a fridge set to 40 °F. Here are the approximate times to thaw a whole Turkey:
8 to 12 pounds -> 1 to 2 days
12 to 16 pounds -> 2 to 3 days
16 to 20 pounds -> 3 to 4 days
20 to 24 pounds -> 4 to 5 days
Cold Water Method (Acceptable)
Make sure the turkey is in leak-proof packaging … they absorb water like a sponge. Cover the turkey completely in cold water. Be sure to change the water every so often and allow about 30 minutes per pound when thawing a turkey this way.
8 to 12 pounds -> 4 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds -> 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds -> 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds -> 10 to 12 hours
Either brine or cook your turkey immediately upon completing one of the above defrosting methods. By following these simple steps your bird should be safe to eat and, next year, your guests won’t be making up strange excuses as to why they can’t join you for Thanksgiving.
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