GREENSBORO, N.C. — I know you know thanksgiving is Thursday, but if you have a frozen turkey and it's 20 pounds, then you have to take it out of the freezer by Saturday to make sure it's thawed in time to cook.
“It's going to take some time to thaw and if you don't do it safely, you might have a food safety risk. So, you need to thaw in the refrigerator, this is our best method. And it takes about 24 hours for every four or five pounds of that turkey,” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety
Now, I know your mom or grandma always thawed chicken or the turkey on the counter but, no. The Butterball Hotline experts say you can use the cold water thawing method. Here’s how it goes:
Put the bird breast side down in an unopened wrapper with enough cold water to cover the turkey completely.
Change the water every 30 minutes and if you can't cover the turkey completely you need to rotate it every 30 minutes too.
Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per pound.
The Butterball page has all these calculators for figuring out servings, thawing, cooking. But whatever you do, don't put the turkey in the hot tub.
“We've had people call and say can we put the turkey in the hot tub or in the dishwasher to thaw their turkey. Neither of these is acceptable. Don’t worry about calling the hotline and asking a crazy question,” said Angela of the Butterball Hotline.
And when it comes to cooking the bird, don’t judge a bird by its golden brown color. You need to use a meat thermometer to make sure the bird is done. Angela says to aim for 170 degrees in the breast meat and 180 degrees in the thigh.