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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: 05-01-09
Location: Quitman, TX
Default Thawing turkey in water questions

I'm doing a test cook of a large turkey (20 lb) at some point this weekend and timing being what it is I'm having to do the alternate thawing method of submersing it in water and changing it every 30 minutes.

First question is, are there any tricks to telling if a bird is good and thawed without unwrapping it? It was purchased Wed night sat in the fridge til Fri afternoon (about 41 hours). I did the calculating and determined it would take about 5 days to thaw in the fridge alone and then decided to proceed with the cold water method to make sure it was thawed by Sat evening

Second, the usda guidelines state if you thaw the bird in the fridge you can let it sit in there thawed for 1-2 days before cooking, however if you thaw with the cold water method you should cook it immediately. Is that just a CYA safety thing due to the differences in temp of cold tap water in location/time of year? My ideal timing situation would be thaw with the water and put it in the fridge for about a day. Anyone had any experience doing it like that? Seems it would be about the same temp as people that brine and then toss it back in the fridge to firm up right? My initial thought is that if there was speedier growth of bacteria towards the end of the thaw putting it back in the fridge would knock it off and the eventual cooking should kill the nasties anyways. Am I right there?
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:21 PM   #2
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Join Date: 08-13-03
Location: Clearwater, FL

You gotta unwrap it and get the cavity cleaned out. The giblets/neck/etc. will keep the inside real cold.
I just did a 20# pounder Thursday. Bought it Saturday and kept in a cooler with a couple of ice bags and a 10# bird for frying. It's the same as using the fridge but I didn't have room in my meat fridge.
Anyway, I kept it refrigerated until Wednesday night when I cut off the plastic, cut the leg restraints, ran cold water into the cavity and neck to make sure the giblet bag and neck came out along with any ice chunks. I made sure the joints were moving to prove it was actually getting thawed. I then put back in the cooler with ice bottles to keep until Thursday morning when I roasted the 20 pounder. I did the same routine with the 10# turkey but injected it with creole butter and rubbed with cajun spice in preparation for frying.
This is pretty much my routine all the time with turkey. That cook immediately crap will almost guarantee you a raw bird at the center. You gotta open that cavity up. Your mileage may vary! Keep the bird cook and you'll be fine.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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Default Thawing turkey in water

The difference between thawing in the refrigerator and cold water method is that generally a refrigerator is set to a temperature of around 40F which keeps the micro organisms at a temperature that they either dont grow or grow very slowly. With the cold water method the temperature of the water is usually in a higher temperature range where these organisms will grow and the higher the temperature, the growth will be considerably faster and higher. This is why they feel you should cook the product ASAP. Taking the stuff out of the cavity gives more surface area for thawing and is a good idea.
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