Best way to defrost a turkey: ‘Long thaw’ – how long to defrost for an even bird

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Keeping the turkey in the fridge enables you to keep your bird fresh before the big day. But, defrosting such a large piece of meat can be tricky

Defrosting a turkey is about more than just keeping the meat tender and even.

Danger lies ahead if a turkey is not defrosted properly.

Keeping the turkey raw for too long will increase the bacteria on the bird.

Defrosting too late, though, could result in a turkey that is not totally defrosted.

Uncooked meat in the bird is certainly one way to ruin Christmas dinner.

The best way to thaw a turkey

Defrosting your turkey in the fridge is one of the safest ways to do it.

Ligia Lugo, culinary expert, recipe developer, and co-founder of The Daring Kitchen refers to this as “the long thaw”.

She told “The best way to thaw a turkey that results in an evenly defrosted turkey is in the refrigerator.”

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How long should you leave to defrost a turkey in the fridge?

Ligia told “You need to allow for one day in the fridge (24 hours) for every four pounds of turkey.

“So three days for a 12-pound turkey, four days for a 16-pound turkey, and so on.”

For the long thaw, it is best to set your fridge to 4C.

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Tips to defrost your turkey

  • Turkey should never be refrozen once thawed
  • Use a thermometer to check it is thawed (not part of the turkey should be above 1C)
  • If thawed, the legs and wings should feel loose
  • The breast meat should feel soft

When you have finished your Christmas turkey, why not indulge with the “ultimate” Christmas sandwich recipe. 

MasterChef winner Kenny Tutt discussed his leftover Christmas sandwich.

Kenny said: “This sandwich highlights the joys of Christmas day leftovers.

“Giving you the very best fillings with very little effort. To be totally honest I actually look forward to all the flavours of Christmas neatly tucked between two thick pieces of bread more than the main event itself.”

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