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Question about defrosting a whole chicken

  • gmm Feb 2, 2010 03:59 PM
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When chickens go on sale, I always like to buy at least a couple and throw the extras in the freezer. How long should it take to defrost one the "safe" way in the fridge? I'm talking about whole chickens about 4-5 lbs in size. I had one in the fridge for about 36 hours and it was still frozen completely solid, frost still visible inside the package. I don't keep my fridge abnormally cold or anything, but I always end up having to defrost under cold water because I don't have the patience to wait and see how many days it will actually take in the fridge.

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  1. The lowest shelf and two days time defrosts the chickens enough for me where a simple rinse under water,,,,and the chickens are good to go for whole roasting or for cutting up into a different application for a recipe.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      This is what we do here and have been doing it that way for nigh on to 50 years.
      OMG. That's a long time.

    2. Personally, I don't defrost my meat in the fridge...There will probably be criticism from others (and they are entitled to their opinions, but it I don't care)

      I learned from a chef a long time ago and I follow the same method...I defrost poultry in a sink of cold water..the same goes for turkey, chicken or duck. If it's a particularly large piece of meat like a turkey, I turn it and change the water after a few hours during the thaw process.

      Let me be clear, I thaw it during the day for as many hours as it takes, and if by my bedtime it's not completely thawed, I put it in the fridge until the next day. If it's still not thawed, I put it back in cold water until it is. I haven't gotten anyone sick and no one's died from it yet.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cherylptw

        You are exactly righght Cheryl! I've been doing it like you do (on the job) for ever. I've never poisned any one.

        1. re: Cherylptw

          The cold water method with the water running at just a trickle is an acceptable method. I do both. A 4# chicken will take at least 2 days to deforst and a few hours in the cold water.

          1. re: Cherylptw

            Yes, I've been there too. I realize it's not recommended to let poultry "soak" in cold water but I also don't care. I do not use lukewarm water, however. I let the water trickle a bit over the chicken when I'm feeling guilty about the whole thing. Otherwise, I defrost in the frig for however long it takes.

          2. I'm currently using a dry brining recipe, so 2 days for defrosting, plus 2-3 more days for the brining? Sheesh, that's way too much planning ahead for a simple roast chicken. I guess I'll stick to the cold water method. Thanks all for your input.

            1. If you are in a hurry, prop the frozen chicken up in the sink so that lukewarm water from the tap runs into the opening where they took its insides out. Just let the water run in a slow but steady stream, not a drip or a gush. The chicken will thaw in 20-30 minutes. (Yes, this method uses water.)

              1. If it is frozen solid just leave it out overnight; it will be fine. Seriously.

                1. For "dry brining" you can actually brine during the defrost period. There was an article in the LA Times over Thanksgiving about this exactly. Cuts down on time :-)