Sunday, December 23, 2007


Mr. Debonair

Herewith an inquiry from a fellow Jawja Blodger:

Dear Mr. Debonair,

What is the simplest way of thawing a frozen turkey in the shortest time possible?... or do I just have to practice my Russian accent, open the fridge every so often, poke it with a trowel and pretend it's a Siberian mammoth?... the label lied, Mr. Debonair... so what's the scoop?...

Straight White Chef

Dear Straight,

Your question was especially timely, as I, too, faced a Thawing Issue this morning as I prepared to roast a goose - yes, a goose - to serve as one of the main courses at this evening’s Dinner in the Tradition of the Royal Navy.

I had purchased the goose several days ago, frozen as hard as a chunk of anthracite. I figured that four days in the fridge would soften it up...and it did, albeit incompletely. The thing was still rock-solid at the core, and it took a frantic cold-water immersion to get it to the point where I could yank the entrails out of its ass remove the giblets comfortably.

And thus, I share your pain. Here you were, ready to regale your guests with a succulent Roast Turkey, and instead, you found a bird-shaped cinderblock in your fridge. Bring on the porkchops! So much for following the directions on the package.

The fact is, thawing a large bird is tricky. You want the critter to stay cold, as bacteria multiply rapidly once the temperature gets much above 40°F. But you don’t want to be asking your dinner guests to wait until Christmas 2016.

The key - as at least one of your commenters has already noted - is to immerse the bird in cool water. Water has an excellent heat transfer coefficient, which means that cool water will thaw your turkey a lot faster than warm air...and the meat will remain safe to eat.

You’ll still need a few hours, but that beats waiting until the proverbial cows come home. Unless you eat the cows, in which case, who gives a shit whether your turkey ever thaws out?

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