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slicing a turkey while it's still frozen--how can I do it?

french roast Mar 14, 2012 12:16 AM

I'm single and live alone with a fairly tiny freezer. For Thanksgiving, I was given a lovely but very large frozen turkey, which we didn't need to use over the holidays. So now I have this enormous frozen turkey, and it's taking up way too much of my freezer space. But there would be no occasion where I could cook it all and eat it at one time. What I'd like to do it see if it can be sawed in half while still frozen, allowing me to cook half, while leaving half in the freezer for a later date. Any ideas?

  1. b
    brucesw Mar 18, 2012 06:32 PM

    This was demonstrated in a thread on eG in December using a reciprocating saw. One commenter said that his father, a retired butcher, used a hand saw to cut a frozen turkey in half at home. There was no illustration of what was meant by 'hand saw' - i.e., an ordinary carpenter's saw???? Obviously, butchers did not always have the option of an electric band saw.

    Personally, I'd have the butcher do it or do like others here and cook it, then freeze portions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: brucesw
      Puffin3 Mar 19, 2012 05:55 AM

      Take the turkey to a butcher. Tell him you want the bird cut into two inch slices like they do with roasted duck in China town. That's side ways slices like you'd slice a frozen leg of lamb. He'll look at you like you're crazy but you'll have a stack of nice sized frozen 'turkey steaks'. To cook just wrap the 'steak' in tinfoil and slow cook it in the oven

    2. a
      acgold7 Mar 14, 2012 11:21 AM

      Yeah, as mentioned above, the *only* safe way to do this is to take it to a butcher and have him use the band saw. There is no safe or effective way to cut up a frozen Turkey at home.

      But all those prohibitions against re-freezing meat are just myths and old wives tales. I would thaw it, cut it up, brine it, and then re-freeze in Ziplocs in sizes that are more convenient for you.

      I have three 30-pounders in my chest freezer that I got for 19 cents a pound last November, so I'm set for the year.

      2 Replies
      1. re: acgold7
        janniecooks Mar 14, 2012 12:36 PM

        I thought that the argument against refreezing meat was less a food safety issue and more of a texture issue. That is, the meat degrades in quality, both texture-wise and taste-wise, from the freezing, thawing, refreezing and rethawing cycle. Sounds like your experience is contrary to that. You've detected no off-quality?

        1. re: janniecooks
          acgold7 Mar 14, 2012 01:54 PM

          None, if it's thawed and re-frozen properly. Also the brining in between helps.

          I wouldn't do it repeatedly, but once I think is fine.

      2. w
        wyogal Mar 14, 2012 07:30 AM

        I agree with others that say to cook it, then freeze leftovers. I thaw mine, then cut it up. I like to grill the legs and thighs, seasoned with cumin, smoked paprika, ancho chili powder, garlic. Then use it for tacos or enchiladas, a lot like pulled pork.
        Then for the breasts, I like to simply roast them, and slice for sandwiches. Last time I did it, I roasted them with Meyer lemon infused olive oil, s&p, a bit of rosemary.
        I use the carcass for stock.

        1. ttoommyy Mar 14, 2012 07:22 AM


          1. Chemicalkinetics Mar 14, 2012 03:16 AM

            "What I'd like to do it see if it can be sawed in half while still frozen, allowing me to cook half, while leaving half in the freezer for a later date"

            Probably.... but definitely not with a hand saw. I can see some safety issues with that.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              pine time Mar 14, 2012 07:49 AM

              Yup, short of a chain saw, agree. Cook it, then repackage.

            2. gmm Mar 14, 2012 03:13 AM

              I definitely would not try to cut it up myself. If you have a butcher anywhere near you, you might want to call them and see if they could saw it in half for you.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gmm
                TeRReT Mar 14, 2012 05:25 AM

                Definitely a butcher with a bandsaw is the only option.

                If it was just a frozen turkey breast you might be able to manage, but you should definitely not try to slice through an entire turkey on your own.

              2. v
                virtualguthrie Mar 14, 2012 01:44 AM

                I think you would be better off cooking the whole thing and then freezing the leftovers in tightly sealed individual packets.

                1 Reply
                1. re: virtualguthrie
                  melpy Mar 14, 2012 04:38 AM

                  I agree. Cook, repackage and freeze is te best bet. Last time I had this issue I had a dinner party and served turkey. Miseno's it was gone by the end and I kept/sent home leftovers.

                2. DuchessNukem Mar 14, 2012 12:35 AM

                  Ooof. I don't know about slicing, sorry.

                  But I have had turkeys in freezer taking up space. I roasted one, slow-cooked the other, and stripped the meat and re-froze in small packets. (I also made stock from bones each time but not necessary if your freezer is too small.)

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