Thanksgiving has been postponed until tomorrow
November 26, 2020 9:47 AM   Subscribe

I mis-remembered how long a turkey needed to defrost. It's been in the fridge defrosting since midday yesterday. ("An hour per pound" -- NOT.) For a 12-lb turkey, it apparently needed three days to thaw! I have many questions about this!

All the guides to cooking a frozen turkey say to put it in the oven, then remove the giblets in an hour or two. How do I know the giblets aren't wrapped in plastic in a way that wouldn't be good to be in an oven? Maybe some hot air will get in there? Seems bad. This makes me really worried and I'd like to avoid it if at all possible.

Anyone know how Diestel Turkeys wrap their giblets? This is the kind we have.

Anyone know a way to get the giblets out without the whole thing thawing? I've been trying to run cool water into the cavity and it hasn't really gotten me anywhere.

I've already removed the turkey from the plastic wrap so it seems like the "cold water" method won't work? Plus I used a thermometer and can tell you that the water temp was about 60 degrees, so that was in the over-40-degree bacterial danger zone. I had it in water for maybe 45 minutes. Right now the bird is back in the fridge.

We don't have guests so food safety is a higher priority and I'm open to some unconventional options like breaking the drumsticks off if necessary.

Also any tips to getting the plastic truss off would also be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by slidell to Food & Drink (19 answers total)
Only 12lbs? Let the turkey sit in cold (not 60F!) water for a couple hours.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 9:52 AM on November 26, 2020 [6 favorites]

Could you face butterflying it, also called spatchcocking? Definitely gets the giblets out, makes it a shape that thaws more quickly, many cooks prefer it for flavor.

But also: my giblets have always been wrapped in paper, and as I understand it you’re being more careful than needed with the running-water defrost, though I might call a hotline to check.
posted by clew at 9:54 AM on November 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I don't know how to get water colder than 60 degrees. I used the cold water tap (and it sure feels cold!) and put the frozen bird in it, and that's what the temperature gauge measured.

Also, can I use the cold water method if I've unwrapped it?
posted by slidell at 9:56 AM on November 26, 2020

You can use the cold water method on an unwrapped turkey. You can toss some ice into the bath to lower the water temperature.
posted by Mitheral at 9:59 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think an unwrapped turkey will be fine in cold water (just be sure to pat it dry before cooking).

If possible, leave the drain slightly open, with the cold water tap on at the same rate… this will help speed the thaw slightly, while keeping the water cold.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 10:00 AM on November 26, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: The best I can feel, it seems like the giblets might be unwrapped? Is that possible?
posted by slidell at 10:03 AM on November 26, 2020

Sometimes some are wrapped and some not, even!

If you’re thawing it in water in a bucket the water then potentially carries bacteria, but that’s a totally manageable risk. Before hauling the turkey out of the water, roll up your sleeves and have a bowl of hot soapy water with a sponge in it for promptly cleaning up splashes.

This is a part of the holiday I hadn’t realized I missed, the kibitzing over a kind of cooking we hardly ever do.
posted by clew at 10:04 AM on November 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

I just did a quick brine and added some ice, then put the whole mess in the fridge. A cooler would be better for a big bird. Salt + cold + submergence will keep it safe.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:09 AM on November 26, 2020

Response by poster: Victory! I got the giblets out! I watched a video to see if it showed how they were packaged and -- ha! kinda hard to remove them when you're looking in the wrong place!! (They were wrapped in paper for future askers.)

Anything else I should overthink before just throwing this bad boy (girl) in the oven?
posted by slidell at 10:15 AM on November 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Possible things to overthink:
- The neck inside the body: is that okay to leave in for the moment?
- This plastic truss: how the heck do I get it off?
- There aren't more giblets or anything else in the main body of the bird behind the neck?
posted by slidell at 10:21 AM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just a warning. Spatchcocking a partially frozen turkey is a serious PITA. Trust me. I ended up getting scrapes from bone ends on my hands. I disinfected them later.
posted by Splunge at 10:24 AM on November 26, 2020 [3 favorites]

Also, if you don't have the space in the refrigerator and depending on the current outside temperature, you can do the cold water defrosting outside in a cooler (or whatever you have to soak the turkey in - I once brined a turkey outside in a plastic bag lined trashcan).
posted by ShooBoo at 10:26 AM on November 26, 2020

The Diestel turkey website says:

The Nylon Truss

The nylon truss that comes with your turkey helps to keep everything together during roasting. It’s oven and microwave safe up to 450º F. To remove it, simply lift the ring and pull it over the drumsticks. To put it back, do the same in reverse.

posted by theatro at 10:42 AM on November 26, 2020 [5 favorites]

To get water colder than 60 -- add ice to cold tap water bath. Not sure if this is still helpful!
posted by countrymod at 11:47 AM on November 26, 2020

You can roast a frozen turkey. It just takes longer.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:04 PM on November 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Things could be worse.
posted by kate4914 at 1:21 PM on November 26, 2020

Giblets are usually in a sturdy paper bag, because many people forget and roast the turkey without getting them out.
If you leave the neck in, it will add a little to the cooking time. The neck has a lot of connective tissue, and is an excellent addition to the stock pot. I got @ 1/3 c. meat off it, which went in with the giblets and stuff strained from the gravy which will delight the dog for the next several days.
Good luck.
posted by theora55 at 3:54 PM on November 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the comments, everyone! As I mentioned, I managed to pull out the giblets once I figured out where to look! That plastic doohickie came out of the bird (not just off the legs) with some jiggling and pulling. After about five minutes of cooking, things warmed up enough that I could pull out the neck, so then we were good to go! I probably overcooked it (because I was a stickler for getting everywhere up to 165 like the FDA tells you to), but hey, it tasted like turkey! Thanks for all the help!
posted by slidell at 1:02 PM on November 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

For future, this thawing chart is more realistic. I try to budget 4 hours per pound.
posted by Miko at 5:42 AM on November 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

« Older Assume that I am isolating/masking and encouraging...   |   18 and vegetarian in London Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments