Tale of a turkey in 3 parts: Part 1 – Defrosting

I’ve decided to cook a turkey for my Christmas party this weekend. I know ham is also traditional and is a great way to feed a crowd, but if you get a few no shows, you’re left with a lot of ham. Turkey is leaner, there’s a bit less of it, but it can be a bit of a to do.

There’s a few steps to get from a big frozen bird to a roasted masterpiece gracing your festive table, so I’m breaking my post into two parts. All the better to not overwhelm you, my dear.

First you need to defrost your bird. The basic rule is:

Fridge Thawing

Cold Water Thawing*
1 day per 2kg turkey

30min per 500g turkey

* If thawing in cold water, make sure to change the water regularly to keep the water cold (it should stay below 4ºC). Weigh the bird down to ensure it is completely submerged.

Now we need to have a little chat about food safety. Thawing a turkey is not a fast process (my turkey at 5kg will take 5 days to defrost in the fridge), so you need to follow some basic rules to make sure no-one gets sick, because that’s a great way to ruin Christmas dinner.

  1. Don’t defrost at room temperature

    – No matter what, a big bird like this is going to take time to thaw (as I’ve already said). Problem is, the outside will defrost first, whibarface1le the inside remains as hard as permafrost. Eventually, the outside temperature could get up to over 4ºC, which provides good breeding conditions for your friendly neighbo
    urhood staphylococci or camphylobacter bacteria. Nice.
  2. Don’t pour hot water all over it
    – Refer point 1, but speed up the time frame to bacteria heaven.
  3. Don’t use a microwave
    – How you have a microwave big enough to hold a turkey is interesting to start with (unless you have one of those new fangled combination ovens). The reality is that it’s an inconsistent approach, which takes you right back to point 1 and vomiting family members.
  4. Don’t use a hairdryer
    – Yes, you may be able to get to the inside and thaw it evenly, but really? Firstly this sounds like an accident waiting to happen, and secondly point 1. At point 2 speed.

Go forth and thaw safely.



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