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how can i quickly defrost a chicken without a micro wave any suggestions?

patrisha Kay Feb 6, 2009 08:38 AM

any suggestions on a quick way to defrost a quartered chicken for dinner tonight?

  1. thew Feb 8, 2009 01:49 PM

    put it in cold water, submerged. let a trickle of cold water run into the bowl so that it overflows slowly

    fastest safest best way

    1. greygarious Feb 7, 2009 11:07 AM

      Agreed, the baggie in cold water method is the way to go, but I don't think the trickle is necessary, and it wastes water. Instead, use a metal pot or if using plastic or glass, put that on a metal pan, preferably setting the metal atop a cooling rack. The cold will dissipate into the metal, while the additional air circulation provided by the rack will remove the cold from the metal so it keeps on removing it from the water.

      8 Replies
      1. re: greygarious
        hannaone Feb 7, 2009 02:57 PM

        Not disagreeing with you, but the reasoning behind the water trickle is to keep the water temperature from rising into the "danger zone" by constantly supplying a fresh supply of cold water. In the case of uncovered meats in running water (local Health District recommended), the running water also dilutes any forming nasties and rinses them down the drain.

        1. re: hannaone
          NVJims Feb 7, 2009 03:46 PM

          If the water gets warm enough to be in the 'danger zone' your chicken was defrosted hours ago......

          1. re: NVJims
            hannaone Feb 7, 2009 04:58 PM

            I agree.
            Just need to get health districts to recognize this.

          2. re: hannaone
            Karen_Schaffer Feb 7, 2009 09:27 PM

            The thing that's never made sense to me about the running water advice is that cold tap water is likely to be warmer than the water with the frozen chicken or whatever in it. That lump of frozen meat takes the water temp way down (think ice water), definitely colder than tap water unless your pipes are nearly freezing.

            1. re: Karen_Schaffer
              hannaone Feb 8, 2009 08:18 AM

              I'm fairly sure that the health district came up with this recommendation because of those who let the meats sit in still water long past the defrost point.
              These agencies are pretty good with developing policies and rules to protect us from ourselves and our unsafe ways. ;-P (said very much tongue in cheek)

            2. re: hannaone
              Pylon Feb 8, 2009 10:16 AM

              I don't think your assertion is entirely correct. While the trickling water may wash some nasties away, it's more about thermodynamics.

              The movement of the water will pull the cold out of the food faster. Leaving it sit in water will thaw it, but not as fast. The air flow Grey mentioned is a similar concept, except that water will pull the cold much faster than air due to density. (The air is less dense, and takes less energy to change it's temp. Water requires more energy due to higher density, and therefor pulls cold faster.)

              1. re: Pylon
                gfr1111 Feb 8, 2009 01:40 PM

                I agree with Pylon. This is the principle known as "convection." Running air or water or whatever delivers heat (in the case of a convection oven) or pulls it away (it the case of our dripping water baggie-enclosed chicken) remarkable efficiently.

                1. re: Pylon
                  Karen_Schaffer Feb 8, 2009 04:35 PM

                  In addition to the thermodynamics, though, the tap water will almost certainly be warmer than the water it's displacing, so it's working on two levels to thaw the food faster.

                  But if maximum speed isn't the issue, then I'd go with the still water bath because it keeps the food cooler, which is safer. It only takes 20 minutes in a cold water bath to thaw frozen shimp and doesn't waste so much water (says the drought aware Californian).

            3. d
              dmd_kc Feb 6, 2009 10:32 PM

              What they said, with these details: I'd separate it further than quarters. Keep them as flat as possible. Put in a plastic bag and smoosh out every bit of air you can, then use the cold water trickle in a big bowl method.

              I've never had it work in 20 minutes, but 45 will do ya.

              1. ipsedixit Feb 6, 2009 10:02 PM

                Place the meat uncovered in an aluminum pan.

                Works like a charm.

                Aluminum is a great conductor of heat.

                6 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit
                  Sam Fujisaka Feb 7, 2009 01:05 PM

                  Dang, 'xit ,never heard of that but am going to give it a try. Thanks!

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                    greygarious Feb 7, 2009 02:41 PM

                    Almost any metal will do - there used to be a TV infomercial for a "magic" defroster that was really just a slab of metal, and the subject of many a consumer reporter's exposé. SImple matter of using anything that's a good heat conductor.

                    1. re: greygarious
                      Sam Fujisaka Feb 7, 2009 02:46 PM

                      So if i throw stuff down into the SS sinks it'll defrost "like a charm"? That is what I usually do.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                        ipsedixit Feb 7, 2009 09:57 PM

                        Works on a granite countertop, as well.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          Sam Fujisaka Feb 8, 2009 04:27 AM

                          I've got granite countertops, but the water injected frozen chicken here would mean ugly pink - red bloody water all over the counters and floor.

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                            ipsedixit Feb 8, 2009 12:43 PM

                            Put the chicken in a plastic bag.

                2. o
                  ozhead Feb 6, 2009 03:16 PM

                  Put the pieces in a ziplock bag, in a single layer. Put them in a tall, relatively narrow container (e.g., a pitcher) and put something on top -- a can of tomatoes, whatever -- to weigh them down. Fill the pitcher with COLD water, then leave it under the spigot with a tiny trickle of cold water running into it -- just a TINY trickle. Boneless breasts will thaw in 30 minutes, thicker pieces a little longer.

                  1. a
                    addicted2cake Feb 6, 2009 02:42 PM

                    I, too, submerge my chicken in a big bowl, protected in a zip lock bag, but in warm water. Chicken pieces defrost in about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken.

                    1. chef chicklet Feb 6, 2009 01:31 PM

                      I also submerge the chicken in cold water, leave it in its wrapping,and a plastic bag, then submerge. It doesn't happen fast, but it will cut some time down. As others said, don't microwave it though....

                      1. s
                        susan1353 Feb 6, 2009 09:26 AM

                        I put the chicken in a zip lock bag, then do what others have suggested. I find that the chicken doesn't get as waterlogged.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: susan1353
                          amela Feb 6, 2009 11:26 AM

                          I do the same (in a zip lock) but weigh it down so that it is completely submerged. I never use the microwave to defrost as this method allows for even defrosting.

                        2. i
                          italianagambino Feb 6, 2009 09:17 AM

                          or just run a constant stream of hot water over it.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: italianagambino
                            Pylon Feb 6, 2009 04:00 PM


                            Running cold water is fine, and will thaw the bird faster than you would think. Hot water gets it into the bacteria breeding zone and puts you in danger of some nasty bugs.

                            Yeah, the odds are slim, but its a risk you just don't need to take.

                            1. re: Pylon
                              scubadoo97 Feb 7, 2009 04:06 AM

                              Have to agree. I think Alton Brown did a clip on defrosting and running water was the winning method. Hot water will not only increase risks of illness but can spot cook the surface of the meat.

                          2. d
                            DGresh Feb 6, 2009 08:47 AM

                            put the pieces in a big bowl of cool water. Replace the water every half hour or so so it stays cool.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: DGresh
                              patrisha Kay Feb 6, 2009 09:02 AM

                              thank you.

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