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Anyone have any tips on thawing large cuts of frozen meat?
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SgtNickFury



Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:48 pm    Post subject: Anyone have any tips on thawing large cuts of frozen meat? Reply with quote

I have a couple of frozen turkey's in the freezer that will have to be thawed for me to smoke them in the pitt.....just wondering does anyone have any tips for speeding up thawing for large pieces of meat like large birds?

As it stands I'll probably have to have them thawing for 3-4 days.
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SirSpice



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 95

PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fill the largest container you possibly can procure with cool water, and than drop the turkeys in (if it isn't securely packaged, find a waterproof bag big enough to seal them in). If you can get that water moving it will thaw even faster.
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socal_chris



Joined: 02 Oct 2006
Posts: 49
Location: Southern CA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to Alton Brown, and his defrosting experiment with ice duckies, the fastest way to thaw any meat is by putting it in a deep sink or large container of cold water and turning the faucet on to just a trickle. Currents created by the running water expedite the process.

That's what I do...works great.
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IndyRob



Joined: 17 Dec 2006
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would cold water be better than warm water? I suspect there's a good reason, but why not get the meat through the danger zone via a quicker route?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1606
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IndyRob wrote:
Why would cold water be better than warm water? I suspect there's a good reason, but why not get the meat through the danger zone via a quicker route?

Using cold water should result in less of the meat entering the danger zone as it thaws. With warm water, the exterior of the meat will quickly warm up and rise well above 40°F while the rest is still frozen, then by the time the rest of the meat thaws, the exterior has been sitting at around 70°F or higher for a while. Using cold water, the exterior of the meat wamrs up but not as quickly, so the cold interior has more time to exchange heat with the exterior lowering the exterior temperature. Is it >40°F? Probably, but it's still fairly cold by the time the interior thaws. The bacterial accumulation would not be as much as if thawed at a hotter temperature. Or so the books tell us.
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Guest






PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

place the item in the frigerator. Then TURN OFF the frig for say, 3 hours. Then turn it back on for 3 hours. Cycle until totally thawed.

Recovers the energy you payed for, in freezing it in the first place, without entering the danger zone.
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SirSpice



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 95

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That does not sound like a practical method.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about all the other food in the fridge when you turn it on and off--and suppose you forget?

Alternatively, you could place the turkey in a closed cooler. The mass of the turkey is it's own ice pack and it defrosts slowly and evenly. This is good at holiday time when the refrigerator is full with other things.
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cloud_swift



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 10
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Turkey in the cooler is my preferred method, but in my experience this doesn't produce the speed that SgtNick is after. We have the Coleman "Steel Belted" ice chest. I used this method 2 weeks ago with a 15 pound turkey.* I put it in the cooler on Friday. When I checked Sunday afternoon, the turkey was almost defrosted and I threw an ice bottle in. Monday morning the turkey was ready to use. Cold water bath is the way to go for speed.

I like the turkey in the cooler method because it is very low effort and because it ensures that the whole turkey stays cold. As Gary suggested, this is particularly handy at holiday time. Sometimes I put other items that don't fit in the fridge in the cooler with the turkey as ice block. If the turkey thaws before we are ready, an ice bottle (old soda bottle filled with water) can be put in with the turkey.

*Coleman says our ice chest keeps ice for 3 days in 100 degree F weather. When we bought the chest I tested it with a 10 pound block of ice and it did take more than 3 days to melt (ice chest at room temperature, not 100 degrees F). I expect a less insulated ice chest might cut the defrost time down some but this method probably still takes more than a day.
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Guest






PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> what abaout all the other food in the refrigerator when you turn it off.

Let's see. I have this large mass of frozen water in the frig. It is slowly warming up.... it does that by taking heat from it's surroundings - the other food in the frig.

I guess it comes down to, how piss-poor is your reefer's insulation and door-seal (this is an engineer's board, so please quote numbers. The first is dimensioned in BTU/Hour/degree-delta. The second is dimensioned in Air Changes per Hour. Industry standards. Can we agree to use industry standard measurements? If you have a tight box, that frozen meat will keep the other items cool.


> what if you forget to turn it back on?

what if you forget to look both ways when you cross the street? Hey, Darwin at work.
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Thor



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Camp Hill, PA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:14 pm    Post subject: Thawed Bird Reply with quote

Quote:
what if you forget to look both ways when you cross the street?


I've been trained to look both ways before I cross the street. I do so without thinking. Left, right, then left one more time. I have NEVER cycled a refrigerator on and off. The likelihood of me performing this task successfully the first time is low. Plus I can find more interesting things to do for 3 hour increments than sit in front of an unenergized fridge worrying my way thru thermo problems.

If I had a single basin sink, I would probably try the cooler idea. But I hate cleaning coolers, and I have a double basin sink. I do mine in the sink. If your bird is not already injected full of junk it's also a good time for brining.
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youngcook



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 97
Location: GA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guest, what the heck is that? That won't help period. You risk spoiling your other food. The cold water bath is what i do. Big smile
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Guest






PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

> i've never cycled a refrigerator on and off

I realize that an on-off switch is a VERY complicated peice of equipment.





> I've got better things to do than sit in front of a refrigerator, waiting
> for three hours to pass.

I had this brain transplant done, I am able to multi-task. Maybe you
stood in the wrong line when they were giving that talent out?
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Thor



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Camp Hill, PA

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 9:43 pm    Post subject: Switch Hitter Reply with quote

Quote:
I realize that an on-off switch is a VERY complicated peice of equipment


There’s an on/off switch on my fridge?

Quote:
I am able to multi-task. Maybe you stood in the wrong line when they were giving that talent out?


I did in fact stand in the “multi-tasking” line. I queued for a bit, got distracted, and moved on to the “beer and loose women” line, which oddly, I managed to navigate even though it was very long. I also survived the “know my limitations” line. Even though I did subsequently read Multi Tasking for Dummies, I have not developed the ability to successfully multi task with long drawn out processes that involve passive down time, especially when mixed with readily active projects. So if tasked with making a salad, stirring a marinara sauce, boiling pasta, and watching paint dry, I will ultimately eat a nice meal without knowledge of paint moisture content. Hence my limitation is recognized and can thereby be avoided: screw the paint, let’s eat; or leave the fridge on, defrost in the sink. The fridge method, no matter how ingenious or technically sound, will never work for me.

Never heard how SgtNickFury's smoked birds turned out???
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JOAT
Guest





PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 6:01 am    Post subject: Use a large teflon pan Reply with quote

I posted this previously under the "Freezing Meats" article.

Subject: Thawing in a Teflon pan
Hi all. I got hooked on this site from the chef knife comparison. Great job!! Anyways.....

I got this idea from an infomercial that touted a quick way of thawing frozen steaks "in minutes". It involved buying what looked like a large, square metal skillet and placing the meat on the thing. The solid pieces of frozen meat would miraculously thaw and turn supple (i.e. room temp) in just minutes. You didn't even have to plug this into an electrical socket. Somewhere in the internet I found out that it was just basically a large metal teflon coated pan. So I wanted to test this.

I took a solid, frozen steak and placed it on a large teflon skillet on my range with no heat. I was amazed to find that the meat actually thawed very quickly to refrigderator tempurature in just 15 minutes or so. It has been a while since I took physics but I think it has to do with the skillet acting like a heat (or in this case, cold) sink and dissapating the cold in a larger surface area, and drawing out the cold (or infusing the warmth) more efficiently.

I have used this techique ever since without failure except when the frozen meat is shaped in a way where only a mimimal amount of it is in physical contact with the skillet thus decreasing the amount of potential temperature exchange.

I honestly think this is the best way to defrost frozen meat. I HATE using the microwave. It ends up being a balancing act of frozen, cooked, and rubberized meat.

JOAT
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