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Turkey defrosting concerns


Joined Jul 15, 2010

I'm concerned about defrosting my turkey. Mainly because of this food dangerzone. Now I had it in a pot of cold water was trying to replace the water every 30 minutes to be safe. But I then realized my tap water isn't even getting to below 40 F. When I realized this it had already been about 3-3.5 hours. So I put it in a pot of cold water in the freezer. now it's just in a pot inside my fridge.

But after that I began to realize. I dont think my fridge is even that cold. I know it can get pretty cold things have frozen that were in the back but i'm honestly not 100% postive now and rather concerned.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I being too over paranoid about this danger zone and taking it far too seriously?


Legendary Pitmaster
SMF Premier Member
Joined Oct 17, 2009
Sorry for the dilema. You should cook your bird 40*-140* within 4 hours. You should have your fridge at 40* or colder to be on the safe side when defrosting your bird. Never try to rush a defrost, that's like trying to rush a smoke job with billows of smoke.  It's all about taking your time and savoring the moment.

mr mac

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Oct 19, 2009
I'm liable to get flamed for this but here we go anyways...I'm a normal guy and I do things just like any normal guy (or gal for that matter).  I know the danger zones and how this should be done and that when dealing with poultry, beef, pork and so on.  Do I actually do it the way everyone says?  No.  Hey, I'll swallow a raw egg in a heartbeat and not think twice about it!  Truth be told, I bet there are several others here who thaw a bird the same way I do even if they only ever post the right way (not calling anyone out, just stating a fact).  My own mother would leaver her Thanksgiving bird on the counter for a full day before she remembered to stick it back in the fridge after it was thawed.

The last turkey we did a couple months back was sitting its happy little frozen carcass on the counter for several hours before I finally moved it to the fridge!  And let's not forget that for things to work best in the smoker they need to be brought to room temperature first...hello!  That puts you dead in the middle of the "Danger Zone!"  Makes me want to sing...at any rate, ain't a one of us sick, dying or dead because of all that! 

As for your fridge, go to a local discount store and grab yourself a fridge thermometer and stick it inside and see what temps really are in there.  Get one for the freezer too since they're cheap!



Thread starter
Joined Jul 15, 2010
Yeah I boosted my fridge up just under the maximum cold and left it in there. Not going to worry about it or i'll end up throwing out the turkey haha. Thanks for the responses guys!


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Feb 3, 2009
Thawing in water is an accepted practice. here's a link to Butterball Turkeys site with their how to defrost a bird section.


You might be a little paranoid but there's nothing wrong with being safety conscious either. And Like Mr Mac said thermos are cheap, it's always good to know what you frig is running at. I keep mine at 34° and if I'm curing something I'll bump it up to 36°-38°                               
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