Thursday, November 17, 2016

It's The Night Before Thanksgiving and Oh My!, The Turkey Is Still Frozen

Has this ever happened to you.  You get out the turkey to prep it for an early morning date with the oven and it is still frozen solid.  Maybe the refrigerator was extra cold or you did not put it in the refrigerator to thaw early enough.  You know you can't leave it on the counter to thaw, so what are you going to do?  And you really don't want to try to put it in the microwave, even if it would fit.

My usual solution is to put it in the sink and fill the sink with cold water.  This method is not ideal, because the water must be changed every 30 minutes.  It also ties up your sink which stops any prep work you were planning to do the night before.  And you have a full day ahead of you, so do you really want to stay up all night changing the water?

The other disadvantage is that thawing poultry in water could cause bacteria to be spread throughout your kitchen from the splashing water.  This means all areas around your sink need to be cleaned with hot soapy water and then sanitized with a bleach solution.

There may be a better solution!  You can cook a completely frozen turkey or even a partially frozen one.  USDA FSIS, recommends giving yourself at least 50 percent longer to cook that completely frozen turkey.  If you cannot separate that giblet package from the turkey at the start, just remember to remove it carefully with tongs or a fork a few hours into the cooking process.  Putting the bird in the oven a little earlier than planned may be worth it.

Because you are not sure exactly how long to cook the frozen turkey, the only way to determine if a turkey is safely cooked and ready to serve is to take the temperature of the turkey with a food thermometer in three locations: the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing and the thickest part of the breast. The thermometer should read at least 165°F.

A bit of caution, many people like frying their turkey in deep pots of hot oil.  If you place a frozen turkey or even one with ice crystals in the cavity into the hot oil.  The oil will bubble up and over the sides of the pot, and then when it hits the flames in on the burner, the oil bursts into flames. 

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