Is it OK to cook a partially frozen turkey?

Roast Turkey

Well with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, it’s time to roast a turkey. I love love this season. And how can you not? You can’t turn the TV on without seeing a Christmas movie on and I just can’t help myself, I watch them all. I can watch Christmas movies all day long. 

So have you roasted a turkey before? Don’t be scared, it’s just a big bird. Over the years, I’ve watched my mother roast turkeys over and over again. I love everything about roasting a turkey. The smell in the kitchen, the holiday atmosphere all around and of course, eating that delicious turkey.

This recipe here for a roast turkey is quite simple. I stuffed the turkey with an onion, quartered, garlic cloves and lemon. I brushed it with a lemon flavored butter, generously and I mean generously and seasoned it with salt and pepper.

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Can you refreeze a thawed turkey?

Roast the turkey uncovered at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to dry out, but this is preferable to temperatures that are too low which may not allow the interior of the turkey to cook to a safe temperature.

Do you cook a turkey at 325 or 350?

Roast the turkey uncovered at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to dry out, but this is preferable to temperatures that are too low which may not allow the interior of the turkey to cook to a safe temperature.

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Should you inject turkey?

Advantages of injecting turkey:

Injecting works faster than brining. You can inject the bird immediately before cooking. Because the liquid is delivered under the skin, the skin tends to come out darker and crisper than that of a brined bird.

How do you cook a frozen turkey overnight?

How to Cook a Turkey Overnight

  1. When you’re starting to think about going to bed, preheat your oven to somewhere between 170-180ºF. …
  2. Roast the turkey while you sleep and get ready in the morning (as long as 9-11 hours). …
  3. Remove the foil and take the turkey’s temperature with an instant-read thermometer. …
  4. Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes.

Which is better dry or wet brine turkey?

You can inject just right before cooking it. But, if you pull the turkey out of the package now and prepare it, you will have a couple of days refrigerator time to season it and help dry the skin some. If you were brining you would inject after the brine period.

Can you cook a partially frozen turkey?

It’s perfectly safe to cook a frozen or partially frozen turkeyyou just need to allow some extra cooking time. Estimate 50 percent longer cooking time for a completely frozen turkey and around 25 percent longer for a partially frozen turkey.

There are no quick ways to defrost a turkey

You might be thinking, it’s ok, surely there’s a way to speed defrost my turkey before I smoke it.

Unfortunately not.

Defrosting a full turkey takes around 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Unfortunately, there is no fast way to safely defr
Unfortunately, there is no fast way to safely defrost a frozen turkey

To make matters worse, you can’t throw a frozen turkey into hot water to defrost it quickly either. This can increase the bacterial mass of the meat by up to 20-times because it leaves large sections of the meat in the danger zone as sections towards the center continue to defrost.

A microwave isn’t the answer either.

It can take up to four hours for a frozen turkey to fully defrost in the microwave, and, because of the way that a microwave heats food, it doesn’t defrost the meat consistently. So, we’re back to the same danger zone issues.

And don’t think about using hot water or anything like that either – it can lead to a cooked outside and an undercooked middle, which can cause bacteria to flourish, and the actual washing of the turkey can spread that bacteria to your sink and work surfaces, increasing the chances of cross-contamination.

Tips

  • Avoid brining the turkey for more than 24 hours or the meat will toughen.

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  • Do not use a self-basting or Kosher turkey because they already have salt added.

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Brining a Turkey

I never used to brine my turkeys until recently. Brining involves immersing the turkey in a salt-water solution or dry-brining it in salt for a day or so before cooking. This results in a moist and perfectly seasoned turkey.

If you have the extra time, I strongly recommend to brine your turkey. Check out my post on Brined Roast Turkey Breast for detailed instructions on how to brine your turkey.

A dry-brine, also called pre-salting, seasons the turkey like a wet brine, but there’s no water. You basically rub the salt and seasonings directly into the meat and skin, and let it rest in the fridge for a period of time before cooking. This works because the salt draws out the meat juices through osmosis. The salt then dissolves into the juices, and this brine is reabsorbed into the meat and starts to break down tough muscle proteins. The result is a juicy, tender, seasoned turkey.

Ingredients for Brining a Turkey

The essential elements of brining a turkey are:

  • Liquid of some kind: Water works but I like to add apple cider and bone broth for added flavor.
  • Salt: The common amount is 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup per gallon of water. I personally like to use 2 gallons of liquid and 1.5 cups of salt.
  • Spices: Add any spices of choice. I like to add minced garlic, cracked pepper, and thyme. I also like to add two lemons and one orange, both zested and sliced.

You can customize these elements to suit your own taste. In a pinch, just use water, salt and any spices you like.

2. Cover the turkey in salt

Use kosher salt for a brine—never fine table salt. Kosher salt is the better salt for any brine for a range of reasons. The size and structure of salt crystals will vary by brand and so too will measurements. For the two most popular brands, you can figure 2–2½ tsp. of Diamond Crystal kosher salt per pound of turkey, or 1–1½ tsp. per pound for Morton kosher. (For a 14-lb. turkey, that’s about ½–¾ cup Diamond Crystal or 5–7 Tbsp. Morton.) To speed up the brining process a tiny bit, gently loosen the skin from the flesh and rub the salt directly on the meat.

Things You’ll Need

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large pot
  • Spoon
  • 5 US gal (19 l) food-safe cooler or bucket with lid
  • Roasting pan
  • Paper towels
  • Instant-read meat thermometer
  • Oven mitts
  • Aluminum foil

Where to Find Organic Free Range Turkeys

I’ve gotten a lot of questions asking the best place to find organic, free-range turkeys for Thanksgiving. There are several options and I’m listing them in order of my preference:

Find a Local One from a Farmer

This is by far my favorite option and what we do whenever possible. The only problem is that it is often difficult to find a farmer with truly free range turkeys and they often have already pre-sold them by this time of year. Also, most farmers ask customers to pre-order in the spring when they hatch the turkeys so for most, it is too late to buy one. If you can find one this way, it is definitely preferable though.

Buy One from a Local Grocery Store

If you can’t get one from a local farmer  in your area, sometimes regular grocery stores carry them. I’ve seen a couple here at different times, though the prices can sometimes be incredibly high. This is probably the second easiest option if your store has them. The only caution here is that many organic turkeys labeled organic have just been fed organic feed but are not truly free range. Still a better option, but no where near the nutrients of truly free range turkeys.

Order One Online

I have done this in the past from companies I trust and have been impressed with them. Butcher Box occasionally has some great quality turkeys and U.S. Wellness Meats currently has some in stock as well.

Are you excited for Thanksgiving this year? Have you ever brined your turkey? Share your favorite recipes or Thanksgiving memories below!

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