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Partially Frozen Turkey Breast

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives the other day and he went a place in KC that does smoked turkey breast. The catch was, the guy doesn't brine it at all. Instead he puts in tin the smoker partially frozen.

Anyone have experience with this? Just curious. From what they were saying there in the show it comes out very moist.

post #2 of 15

Now I'm also a big fan of the show DDD. I can't recall anyone smoking a almost frozen turkey. I don't think that I would do that but you never know. Now I have smoked a many a turkey without brining but I would recommand brining. It will come out alright in fact I just smoked a couple of turkey breast for a catering job and it came out fabulous and everyone loved the turkey too.

post #3 of 15

I smoke whole turkeys and chickens without brine all of the time.  They turn out great (read: no complaints, no leftovers!).  Never heard of anyone cooking a partially frozen bird using any method.  Don't think I would do it.

post #4 of 15

I can't see how a frozen or partial frozen piece of meat could absorb any smoke. I don't understand the theory but if it works...

post #5 of 15

I saw the episode today and it looked like whole birds . He said they were patially frozen and they did come out very juicy. Again just like everything else on food network They are doing things that can make folks very ill as they don't give enough info for the average cook to try it at home. But yet they don't tell folks not to try this at home.

post #6 of 15



Originally Posted by eman View Post

 He said they were patially frozen and they did come out very juicy.

 Of course they did.

post #7 of 15

I just watched this show. What the guy was using is a Foodservice supplier, 12-14 Lb, 3-4 Lobe, pre-brined, boneless Turkey Breast. I have cooked hundreds of these very tasty bugger's in the various restaurants that I have worked in...NEVER FROZEN or even partially frozen.  At 350*F they come up to 165* in under 4 hours, unless you try to roast 4 of them in a VERY old Vulcan oven...Hey I was new!...JJ

post #8 of 15

Sounds scary to me, maybe partially frozen fish, but not turkey.

post #9 of 15

In the episode I saw when they were cooking the Partially Frozen Turkey Breast and they where big breast.

They where Smoking them on BBQ over night 12+hours. Keeping the Breast Partially Frozen allowed them to get the Smoke with out the meat coming out Dry.

post #10 of 15

I concur , Poultry is easy to contaminate , and the IT of 40* to 140*F would be hard to achieve in a (partially) frozen Breast.

post #11 of 15

The whole point of thoroughly thawing out a bird before cooking is so that when it is cooked it spends as little time in the danger zone as possible. Cooking a partially frozen bird will result in parts of the meat reaching temperature much more slowly. Also to reach temperature inside, the outside will have had to cook for longer.


In practice, most of the time it will probably not do anyone any harm, however I think he would have a very hard time defending himself the time he does cause someone to be ill.


Maybe they are all irradiated though before he cooks them - LOL

post #12 of 15

Been there, done that, though the first time was not by design. A number of years ago my family and I were leaving the day before Thanksgiving to spend the Holiday at a second home we have in Florida. Because of severe weather all flights were cancelled and nothing was going to open up for at least 24 hours. We returned home that evening with no plans for Thanksgiving dinner.


Thanksgiving morning I thought about the issue and went went to the grocery thinking they might have defrosted birds available. No such luck so I picked up a frozen one. I knew it was going to take longer, but not by how much. I figured we could wing it since weren't having guests anyway. From a food safety point of view, I figured by the time it was fully thawed during the cooking process, it would zip through that hypothetical 40F-140F corridor pretty quick and it did. As I recall, at 350F it was done in 4-5 hours. The best part of the fluke experiment was that it was one of the most succulent and moist whole turkeys I've ever cooked (I normally part out a whole bird).


On a few spur of the moment occasions, I've repeated the process with the same results. I've also done it on large meats such as frozen pork butts or briskets. Never an issue.


If you search some credible sites you'll find info regarding the safety of this process. One I found is below.

Edited by dls1 - 8/8/13 at 1:59pm
post #13 of 15

Since the original post and my response I researched this further. The reason this is completely SAFE and is approved by the FDA is the two most common Bacteria found on Turkey are Salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni. Neither of these form Spores, that will survive freezing and temps up to 200*F, and neither generate any Toxins that will be created as the Bacteria multiply over the long period in the Danger Zone. Bottom line is YES there are these Bacteria there, but after through cooking, 165+*F, there is NOTHING HARMFUL left even though the bird was in the Danger Zone for Many hours. I think this is pretty Cool and definitely opens up the possibility for overnight smokes on those big 3 Lobe molded Breasts that are used in Restaurants. Honestly, there is more Risk in contaminating your Refer, the food inside and the whole kitchen, defrosting, storing and handling/washing a Defrosted bird before cooking than cooking a Frozen Turkey!...JJ

post #14 of 15
Unfortunately I cannot get the episode over here in the UK. I guess you have to assume that it was handled correctly before it was frozen. As you say cooking just the turkey crown would be much risk anyway.
post #15 of 15
A co-worker Of mine put a fully frozen turkey breast on his Traeger. Smoked for 4 hours. At this point it was thawed. He inserted meat thermometer & injected w/chicken broth. Heat was turned up to medium (prox. 250) until desired internal temp was reached. He injected it 2-3 more times with broth. I tried it the next day...cold. It was some of the best turkey cold cuts I've ever tasted. I'm going to attempt this same thing today myself.
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