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Thawing out a frozen chicken

highpresshighpress Posts: 694
edited 7:09PM in EggHead Forum
I've got a 5lb frozen chicken i'd like to cook for dinner tonight. Currently it sitting on the counter. What's the best way to thaw it out so i can cook it tonight? Normally i'd take it out a couple days in advance and just stick it in the fridge....


  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,383
    I would use an ice water bath, adding ice as necessary.
  • I have heard that you can thaw meats more quickly by putting them in warm water (in their plastic wrapping or a plastic bag) in the kitchen sink. Or you could always try the microwave on the defrost setting, but that never seems to be a very even way of doing it. Your microwave might work better than mine, though.

    The main problem for me always is getting the packet of giblets out of the cavity, if it's a commercial bird. That seems to stay rock hard and be impossible to extract unless the bird is thoroughly thawed!
  • yeah but wouldn't the ice keep it too cold?
  • RipnemRipnem Posts: 5,511
    It can be cooked frozen :huh:

    The Regional distributers rep cooked a large Turkey at our fest that was frozen like a rock when he put it on. Golden brown and delish when it came off.

    Who'da thunk it?

    I don't remember any of the details, other than indirect. I'm guessing 350* or so.
  • yeah, i hate using the microwave to thaw meats. I might try the water bath. Do you think it'll hurt if i just leave the chicken on the counter?
  • Never would have guessed that. I guess i could leave that as an option, as long as i can still get the little plastic bag out of the cavity...
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,383
    I guess it depends on the environment and how closely you're tending to it. I just wouldn't allow the water temp to rise much above 40F.
  • I think the warm water bath is faster than leaving it out on the counter, and you'd also have to unwrap it for faster thawing if you just let the air do it. It might dry out a little that way, but probably not seriously.

    You could cook it frozen if it didn't have the bag of gizzards inside. When I process my own chickens I leave the gizzards in a plastic bag outside the bird just because of that.

    Good luck!
  • RipnemRipnem Posts: 5,511
    You can also cook it with the bag-o-stuff inside....Ask my wife :laugh:
  • I guess you could do that, since the bag is usually just some kind of paper, not plastic. Of course, then you couldn't stuff it. Or, you could cook it for a bit and then remove the bag and stuff it, but I don't know if the stuffing would get up to a safe temperature if it weren't in there the whole time. Stuffing on the side is always an option, with some nice drippings on top.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,776
    Alton Brown did a demonsteration that showed the fastest way to defrost frozen meat was to put the package under running water. I believe it was cold water.

    I've been using pots of cold water for years, with no ill effect. My tap water is about the average 65 degrees. I swap the water out every 45 min or so. Once the water stops cooling down from the colder meat, and the meat becomes a little soft, I move it back to the fridge.

    Just this last Saturday I took a rock hard 4lb chunk of pork loin out of the freezer around 9 a.m. By 11-ish, it was softened enough that I figured all but the core was defrosted. Put it in the fridge. When I took it out at 3, was completely defrosted.
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 8,942
    Everything I've ever read says DO NOT leave it out on the counter. I defrost in a big pot of cold tap water, never the nuker. That said, I don't think a 5 lb chicken will be defrosted in time. Could be wrong there, but if it were me, I'd put it back in the freezer for another time and go buy another one for tonight.

    If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.    Julia Child

    Central Connecticut 

  • I don't believe it is recommended to thaw anything using warm water due to bacterial issues.

    I would not due this. If you have to go buy an unfrozen chicken and save the frozen one!
  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 7,971
    If it was my chicken, I would toss into the spa @100F for 1-2 hours depending on size. Do my turkeys that way also, just longer.
  • Thanks. I think i'll try it. Right now it's sitting on the counter. I'll move it to cold water and swap it every hour or so.
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,670
    If I'm in a hurry I'll just fill the sink or cooler with cold tap water or if I have most of the day I'll fill the cooler with ice and water and by the time I get home from work it will be ready for cooking.
  • BigTBigT Posts: 385
    I submerge in cold tap water, then place in the fridge.
  • I don't believe it is recommended to thaw anything using warm water due to bacterial issues.

    I would not due this. If you have to go buy an unfrozen chicken and save the frozen one!
  • Adam,




    Caledon, ON


  • CBBQCBBQ Posts: 610
    At any given time you can go into the kitchen of many restaurants and see cold running water being used to thaw. I put the meat in a pot or bowl and fill it up. But instead of changing it every once in a while I just let the tap run slowly into the pot to keep the water moving and fresher. If the meat is vacuum packed I just let the water run over the package. Things like beef and pork I put into ziplock bags and run water over them.
  • cold water.
    water at say 38 degrees will thaw faster than 200 degree air, because it transfers heat so well.

    warm water will accelerate the multiplying of bacteria
  • Rolling EggRolling Egg Posts: 1,995
    If it were me I would toss it back into the freezer and go to store and spend 4 or 5 bucks on a thawed one. If you don't want to do that then the cold water trick does work.
  • Ok well i'm trying the water trick! Looks like it'll be ready for dinner tonight. I'll post pics later. Thanks for the tips! :P
  • cold running water. cold as possible from the tap.
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