We can try as hard as we want, but sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Cooking is a good example of this.
You can plan the perfect meal, but something could still go wrong. This is especially prevalent on occasions when one is making a big meal, like on Thanksgiving.
One problem that could occur on Thanksgiving is the turkey still being frozen. If this happens, then you’ll need to remedy it quickly. Luckily for you, we have some tips.
In this article, you’ll learn several methods on how to defrost turkey that is still frozen, what’s the proper internal temperature, and finally, the risks of eating undercooked turkey.
Steps To Take if Your Thanksgiving Turkey Is Still Frozen
The thing about mistakes is that you can’t always avoid them, no matter how hard you try.
So, if you end up with a Thanksgiving turkey that is still frozen for some reason, you can go forward and use one of three methods to thaw it.
They include cold water, microwave, and refrigerator method.
Cold Water Method
The cold water method is a great way to thaw your turkey. You can do this by:
- First, put the turkey into a waterproof plastic bag and then put the turkey in a sink that is full of cold water.
- You need to change it every thirty minutes because eventually, the water will become room temperature rather than cold.
- The turkey needs to sit in the water for a certain length of time, but this depends on how big the turkey is. If the turkey is 4 to 12 pounds, then it could take 2 to 6 hours, while it will take 10 to 12 hours if the turkey is 20 to 24 pounds.
- As soon as it is thawed fully, you need to cook the turkey right away.
The cold water method might take a while, but it’s very simple. If your turkey is on the larger side, then you might want to consider using a different method.
The reason for this is that not everyone has time to constantly change the water from 10 to 12 hours.
The microwave method is a quicker way of thawing your turkey. One big problem with this method is that it might now be heated evenly.
Some parts of it might still be frozen, but if your turkey is on the large side, then you may have to use the microwave method.
- Most turkeys will have some kind of instructions for thawing turkey inside the microwave. Follow the particular rules on whatever turkey you have purchased. Just make sure to check on it from time to time to make sure everything is working correctly.
- Once the microwave is done thawing your turkey, you need to cook it right away. The reason for this is that the more the turkey is exposed to room temperature, the more chance it is for bacteria to grow. So, once it’s done, pop it straight into the oven.
Finally, the last way to thaw a turkey is by thawing it in the fridge. Chances are you are going to be doing this anyway, but if it’s still frozen, then just put it back in the fridge.
It usually takes a few days for the turkey to be completely thawed in the fridge. They say 1 day for every few pounds.
This is the default method, but if it is still frozen, feel free to put it back in the fridge.
What Is the Proper Internal Temperature of a Turkey?
The two most common types of meat out there are white meat and red meat. For something to be considered red meat, it has to come from a four-legged animal and have red meat in its raw form.
If it’s white meat, then it usually comes from poultry such as chicken, duck, and turkey, as you’ve probably figured out.
If you are cooking turkey, then your turkey needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees lenient to be considered safe enough to eat.
Once the thermometer reads this, you are free to go on and eat your delicious turkey!
Risks of Eating Undercooked Turkey
You absolutely should not risk it and eat undercooked turkey. The reason for this is that it could lead to you getting a serious illness.
We’ve narrowed down three illnesses that could be caused by eating undercooked turkey. They include:
- Clostridium is a bacteria that often causes food poisoning. Food poisoning isn’t fatal, and most of the time, you’ll be fine with the except of spending a few days at home. The illness usually hits you a few hours in but could show up as late as twenty-four hours later. If it lasts longer or seems to get worse, then you want to seek help from a doctor.
- Campylobacter is a common bacteria that lurks inside turkeys. Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting/nausea, and fever. This illness will usually go away on its own, but a child, an elderly person, or someone with a compromised immune system could be at risk.
- Finally, you will also find salmonella in birds if you aren’t careful enough. Common symptoms include getting diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, cramps, and headache. Usually, it will go away on its own, but if it doesn’t, then you do have to seek medical attention.
These are the biggest risks of eating undercooked turkey, and the best way you can avoid them is by checking the internal temperature of the turkey.
Remember, it needs to be 165 degrees or higher. If it isn’t, then you need to cook it for a little longer.
And there you go, all your turkey and Thanksgiving lovers out there. Thanksgiving is a time of year that can be incredibly stressful.
A turkey that is still frozen is going to certainly add to the stress, but you can circumnavigate this by learning methods to dethaw it.
So, if this ever happens to you, don’t worry. There are things you can do to remedy the situation.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.