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Old 03-08-2016, 09:23 AM   #1
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Thawing turkey - inside and out

I know this is the wrong time of year for this subject, and yet here I am.

I usually buy fresh turkeys, but I like turkey year round - not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once you get away from those times, turkeys are in short supply, and can be pretty expensive. So when frozen birds were on sale for 59 cents/lb, I bough six of them. But I'm having problems defrosting them.

I'm trying to go by the rules. I take a 13 pounder out of the 0F freezer and put it into my 37F fridge. After about a day and a half, the outer edge is soft. After four days, I take it out to bake. But once I get it out of the plastic wrapping, there is still ice in the center, and some areas are still a little on the semi-frozen side.

So should I be leaving it in the fridge longer? USDA says not to leave a thawed turkey in the fridge for more than two days. But the outside edge has been thawed for three days, and if I have to leave it in longer for the inside to completely thaw...

I put the current turkey in the fridge four days ago. As I write this, it's morning, and I won't be putting it into the oven for another five hours, but I decided to take it out of the packaging now and prepare it. As usual, the center had lots of frozen liquid. I pulled out the neck/giblets and hosed down the inside with warm water to get rid of the ice. Then I warmed up some of the still frozen areas under the wings and legs. Finally, I put it onto a platter and back into the fridge where it will stay till roasting time.

How do others handle this? Seems to me that all turkey should be treated equally, and if "thawed in the fridge for over two days" is bad, doesn't that make it bad for the outside of the turkey that was thawed after the first day?

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Old 03-08-2016, 09:54 AM   #2
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That's the way it is with turkeys. If it's mostly thawed with a little ice inside, go ahead and roast it. Around Thanksgiving, I usually buy a frozen turkey for parts and thaw it in the fridge until it's ready. That can be 4 days later.
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:10 AM   #3
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I ask that question every Thanksgiving!

I take out my 12-14 pounder and thaw it in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, it always has snow in the cavity. I just rinse it well and roast it as directed.

If I forget to take the turkey out of the freezer early enough to wait the full 4-5 days I sometimes finish thawing it overnight, in the original wrapper, in a sink full of cold water with a towel over it. The USDA is probably against this method, I learned it from my mother and grandmother. Usually the bird is still cold in the morning and the cavity still has some ice and snow in it.

Next time you are in the market take a look at the "fresh" turkeys in the meat case and look at the expiration/sell by dates on them to see how far into the future they go and then add 2 days in your home refrigerator. That should give you an idea of how long you can hold a turkey prior to cooking.

Good luck and welcome to DC!
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:51 AM   #4
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My turkeys always are still a bit frozen on the inside, even after 4 days in the fridge. No issue. Just clean out the giblet packages and ookies from the neck and cavity and roast.
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:07 PM   #5
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Yeap, 3 days at least for a large turkey in the fridge. Not everything USDA says is right.
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Old 03-12-2016, 08:32 PM   #6
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I've always put mine in a sink full of cold water overnight, and change the water often (until I go to bed) and usually it's thawed well but still slightly frozen inside. Never had an issue personally.
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