Thanksgiving emergency? Here’s how to fix common turkey problems
It’s the stuff of Thanksgiving Day nightmares: waking up to put the turkey in the oven and finding that the bird isn’t fully thawed — or at all.
Along with this nightmare, you may realize that there aren’t the three plus hours needed to roast a turkey the traditional way.
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Are dreams of leftover turkey sandwiches and turkey soup completely dashed?
A variety of food experts have shared tips on how to safely and efficiently thaw (and cook) a turkey in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
Here’s what they shared.
Cold water is the key to a safe and quick thaw
Although the preferred way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator, says Butterball’s website, there simply won’t be enough time to do it on Thanksgiving Day and still have a turkey on the table for dinner. .
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Oddly enough, the next best method is to use cold water.
Cold water will thaw the turkey « at about 30 minutes per pound ».
“To quickly and safely thaw a turkey, fill your kitchen sink with cold water and place the turkey breast side down in the water and submerge it,” said Matt Johnson, co-author of the food blog Cook Like A. Master.
Cold water, Johnson said, will thaw the turkey « at about 30 minutes per pound. »
« Refresh the water every hour to maintain a constant temperature and thawing progress, » he added.
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Another way to quickly thaw a turkey is to use a sous vide machine, said Dr. Bryan Quoc Le, a food scientist and food industry consultant based in Puyallup, Washington.
« The fastest way to safely thaw a turkey is to place the turkey, still in its wrapper or sealed in a plastic bag with most of the air removed, in a cold water bath with a machine vacuum, » he said. (Also known as water ovens, sous vide machines look like slow cookers; they heat the water in the pot.)
With the water high enough to fully cover the turkey, the sous vide machine « should be set to the lowest temperature possible, or 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and set to circulate. »
Doing this, he said, « will ensure that the heat transfer between the turkey and the outside of the container is maximized without raising the temperature beyond safe levels where bacteria can grow. »
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A thing not do, however, is to use heat to speed up the defrosting of the turkey.
« Thaw your turkey on your kitchen counter, at room temperature or in a sink of hot water – [these are] unsafe de-icing practices that should be avoided at all costs,” Eleonora Lahud, chief business officer at C&H Sugar, headquartered in Crockett, Calif., told Fox News Digital.
Lahud also recommends using cold water to thaw a turkey and suggests changing the water every 30 minutes to speed up thawing.
« Don’t forget to scrub any surfaces or utensils used to defrost your turkey. »
It’s important to remember good hygiene practices during this time, she said.
« Remember to scrub any surfaces or utensils used to defrost your turkey, » she said. « Washing them with soap and water will help you avoid contaminating other food, yourself and your future guests. »
The bird is thawed – now what?
With thawed turkey, there are several ways to get a delicious dinner on the table in a relatively short time. Turkey is safe to eat when it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, says the Butterball website.
A technique called « spatchcocking » will cook a turkey much faster than the traditional roasting method, food blogger Johnson told Fox News Digital.
« The fastest way to cook a turkey is to mash it, » he said.
This is done by removing the backbone from the turkey and pressing down on the rib cage to « butterfly » the bird and lay it flat on the roasting pan.
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« The whole bird cooks evenly at the same time » because every part of it is exposed in the oven, he said.
“The end product will be a juicy, succulent turkey that will cook in about an hour,” Johnson said.
Another way to speed up cooking time is to deconstruct the turkey entirely, Brian Nagele, CEO of Restaurant Clicks, told Fox News Digital.
It is located in the greater Philadelphia area.
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« A whole turkey can take hours to cook due to its thickness. However, cutting the turkey into separate pieces – thighs, drumsticks, wings – allows the heat from the oven to penetrate the meat more easily and cook it evenly » , did he declare.
Nagele also advised people to resist the temptation to open the oven door while cooking.
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This allows the heat to escape and slows down the time it takes to finish the bird.
Opening the oven door is « one of the most common mistakes cooks make, » he said.