I almost made a terrible, terrible mistake. I almost forgot to put our turkey in the fridge to defrost. If you got a frozen bird this year as well, you’ll want to be sure to get up out of bed, trot over to the kitchen and spend ten minutes rearranging your refrigerator so it fits. Especially if you plan on using a recipe that requires you to brine your turkey for 24 hours.
According to the USDA factsheet on turkey it can take 3-4 days to defrost a 12-16 pound turkey, and up to 5 days to defrost a 16-20 pounder. So that means you’ve really got to get on it! Leave it in it’s original wrappings and place it on a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest shelf.
But fear not – if you didn’t see this post in time all hope is not lost. The USDA also says it’s safe to defrost your bird in cold water – 6-8 hours for 12-16 pounds and 8-10 hours for 16-20 pounds. You could even put it to defrost on Wednesday night and be able to put it in the oven Thanksgiving morning. You’ll need to change the water every 30 minutes. You can do it in your sink, but if you’ve got to use the sink for other things (as most of us do) you can do it in a large stockpot (at least 16 quarts should work, but if you’re a canner your 21 quart canning pot would be perfect) or even a clean plastic bin or tote. One of these days I’ll get a proper food storage container to tackle these types of jobs, but until then I’ll just try to remember to defrost my turkey on time.