Your yearly reminder to start thawing that Thanksgiving turkey soon

Roasting (or frying!) a turkey on Thanksgiving isn’t nearly as hard as people make it out to be, but one thing that often trips people up is thawing the bird.

Frozen turkeys can take longer than you think to thaw. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Turkeys weigh upwards of 10 pounds. They are almost always sold frozen solid and thawed slowly over 2-4 days in a refrigerator. You can also thaw a turkey using the cold water method in the sink, but that requires far too much hands-on work and wasted water for this cook.

If you plan to brine your turkey, you’ll want to factor in an extra day so that the turkey can sit in the salt water overnight or at least 4 hours before you roast it. You don’t want the turkey in the brine for more than 12 hours, so plan accordingly.

What’s the lesson here? No matter how you’re going to do it, you should start thinking now about how you’re going to thaw the turkey now. If you’re using a fridge, you should put the turkey in there this weekend or no later than Tuesday.

It’s worth noting that the USDA says you can use a microwave to thaw a turkey, but many cooks don’t know that you can actually cook a frozen turkey, unthawed. The baking time will be at least 50 percent more than if you’d thawed it, so think 4 to 6 hours instead of 2 or 3.

RELATED: Read all USDA guidelines on thawing turkeys

Before you can brine a turkey, you have to thaw it, which can take several days in the fridge or a cooler with water and plastic bags of ice. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Which method do I use when I roast a turkey? Because I have a small fridge and the cold water method wastes too much water and it too tedious, I thaw turkeys in a cooler packed with water and ice bags three days before I plan to roast the turkey. When it’s time to brine the night before, I place the turkey in one of those big plastic zip-top brining or roasting bags and put the bag in an emptied vegetable drawer.

RELATED: Read all our Austin360 holiday coverage here

 

Reader Comments 0

0 comments