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Cooking General Discussions and Questions

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Old 12/10/09, 05:58 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 18
Can I defrost my turkey in a cooler?

I know I seen on here somewhere about defrosting a turkey in a cooler but now I can't find it. Does anyone know how to do this? I have mine in a thick heavy duty styrofoam cooler with ice defrosting it. I don't plan on cooking it till Sunday. I do have a thermometer in the cooler to make sure it doesn't get above 40 degrees. Wouldn't this be the same as defrosting in the fridge?
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Old 12/10/09, 07:30 PM
Wasza polska matka
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: zone 4b-5a
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check it Sat night...if its still frozen, defrost in cool water in the sink
I'd rather have one Chewbacca than an entire clone army.
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Old 12/11/09, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: NC
Posts: 1,352
I use a cooler to defrost turkeys for both roasting and canning. Have a small cooler on wheels that's just about perfect. I can easily move it around the kitchen to keep it out of my way. Put in a large bag of ice in the bottom. (Leave the ice in the bag.) When the cooler is cold (1/2 hr or so) set the frozen turkey on top of the ice.

Keep an eye on it. Depending on the cold holding power of your cooler you may have to replace the ice. And, you don't want your turkey floating in ice water for any material length of time. Most of those plastic bags containing turkeys leak, liquids from the turkey leak out and water gets in.

Keep an eye on it. When it defrosts put it in the refrigerator to hold it unitl cooking/processing time.

Clean and SANITIZE the cooler with a bleach water solution before storing it away for the next use.


Edit: The reason why I use a cooler is because our refrigerator is set to just above freezing. It takes FOREVER to defrost a turkey. If our refrigerator was set to just below 40 it would go faster.
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Old 12/11/09, 04:19 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 18
Thanks for the replies. Right now the turkey is doing good...temperature holding around 37. It is defrosting slowly. Looks like it might be defrosted by Sunday morning. Fortunately this is a great cooler so ice hasn't melted. Once again thanks for the replies.
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Old 12/13/09, 09:41 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tenn/Ga
Posts: 143
For Thanksgiving I used my cooler to defrost my turkey. I used a large garbage bag to line the cooler and used my brineing liquid to defrost the bird in. Worked wonderfully!! Tie up the bag to keep the turkey submerged in the liquid. May need to add ice to cooler if needed to keep the bird cold.
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Old 12/14/09, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: NC
Posts: 1,352
In the future, don't use trash/garbage bags. Some brands have pesticides. Other's have deodorizers or a combo of both. Plus, most of them aren't made from food grade plastic. I hope your bags didn't have either of those. Glad states there are no pesticides in their bags.

Personally, I'd rather sanitize the cooler after using it for this purpose. If the cooler is too large for a brining liquid, just put the liquid and the turkey in a container that'll fit in the cooler.

Just 2-cents.
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Old 12/14/09, 11:35 AM
This is my life
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SC
Posts: 3,788
when I brine my meat in the cooler, I make 4-5 gallons of the brining liquid and add frozen gallon containers of water. This not only takes up room in the cooler but also keeps the liquid at safe temperature

I also defrosted my 28 lbs turkey in my cooler, I just put it in the bath tub and kept draining out the water and adding more, just like you would do if it was in your kitchen sink. It was (almost ) thawed in 24 hours. This is the method that I got off the butterball site.
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