Sixty-nine percent of people buy their birds frozen, according to a poll by the National Turkey Federation. These 5 tips will help cut down on thaw and prep time for your basic Butterball.
1. Get Your Fridge Ready.
Sit your bird in a sturdy pan that won't leak and cross-contaminate other foods.
Our picks: What to look for in a roasting pan »
2. Kill Two Birds with One Stone.
Marinate your turkey during its last three hours of defrosting time. That's when it's supple and ready to soak up whatever seasonings your heart desires, be it soy sauce and ginger or lemon, olive oil and herbs.
How to marinate »
3. Give it a Brining Bath.
That's 1 1/2 cups kosher salt dissolved in 2 gallons of cold tap water. Change the brine every 30 minutes. We tried this in our test kitchen with a 16-pounder-and shaved the thaw time from seven hours to four!
How to prep a butter-basted turkey »
4. No Room In There?
No problem. Let your turkey chill with the cool crowd. Replicate fridge-like conditions and thaw it in an ice-filled beer cooler.
Turkey 101: more on how to get the most out of your bird »
5. Finish Off the Job In the Microwave.
If your bird's still partially frozen come roasting time, cut off the leg/thigh portion, microwave the white and dark meat separately, then lean them right back on the body before roasting.
Or, watch how to roast parts in under an hour »
By Melissa Clark | Photography by Kang Kim
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