Best way to defrost a turkey: The ‘long thaw’ – how long to defrost for an even bird

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Keeping the turkey in the fridge enables you to keep your bird fresh before the big day. But, defrosting such a large piece of meat can be tricky.

Defrosting a turkey is about more than just keeping the meat tender and even.

Danger lies ahead if a turkey is not defrosted properly.

Keeping the turkey raw for too long will increase the bacteria on the bird.

Defrosting too late, though, could result in a turkey that is not totally defrosted.

Uncooked meat in the bird is certainly one way to ruin Christmas dinner.

The best way to thaw a turkey

Defrosting your turkey in the fridge is one of the safest ways to do it.

Ligia Lugo, culinary expert, recipe developer, and co-founder of The Daring Kitchen refers to this as “the long thaw”.

She told Express.co.uk: “The best way to thaw a turkey that results in an evenly defrosted turkey is in the refrigerator.”

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How long should you leave to defrost a turkey in the fridge?

Ligia told Express.co.uk: “You need to allow for one day in the fridge (24 hours) for every four pounds of turkey.

“So three days for a 12-pound turkey, four days for a 16-pound turkey, and so on.”

For the long thaw, it is best to set your fridge to 4C.

TikTok user shares hack for a 'perfect' Christmas turkey

Tips to defrost your turkey

  • Turkey should never be refrozen once thawed
  • Use a thermometer to check it is thawed (not part of the turkey should be above 1C)
  • If thawed, the legs and wings should feel loose
  • The breast meat should feel soft

If you prefer ham, a food influencer specialising in meat, detailed her Christmas ham recipe. 

Kirsty from Love to Cook detailed her delicious Christmas ham recipe.

The chef has paired up with Traeger Grills to detail a twist on Christmas classic.

She uses honey, butter, mustard, and orange juice, among other ingredients, complementing the meat. It’s made on the grill, allowing for an extra smoke.

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