You did WHAT with the turkey?

It’s time for another turkey story.

(I promise I’m not doing turkey stories every day for the rest of the month.  I have some pumpkin stories too. You can find all my Thanksgiving inspired stories on one convenient page I cleverly titled THANKSGIVING.)

I’d like you to climb in the time machine with me and travel back in time to November 2001.

It’s my first time to hostess Thanksgiving dinner ever.  And my mother-in-law is coming for dinner.  In 24 hours.

how not to thaw a turkey

(i hostessed Christmas dinner the year before, but since i’d been married for less than a month, my mom took pity on me.  she and my aunt cooked the entire meal and delivered it mere minutes before my in-laws arrived.  shhhh!)

Hubby and I got off work on Wednesday and split the to-do list in half.

He went home to clean.

I went to the grocery store.

I arrived home to find my husband standing in front of the deep freeze, staring in horror at the turkey.

Me:  I thought you took that out DAYS ago!

Him:  I thought YOU did.

I’d never cooked a turkey before,  so I had picked this really complicated recipe that involved brining.

My completely frozen turkey was supposed to be in the brine, not the freezer!

In tears, I called my mom

Me:  Mooooommmmm… can I brine a frozen turkey?

Mom:  How frozen is it?  If you can get the giblet package out, you should be OK.

Me:  ummm… I can’t quite get the giblets out yet.

There was no way I was going to tell her that I had a totally frozen bird on my hands.

We’d recently watched an episode of Good Eats that proved that food thawed quickest under running water.  So, we tried to put it into the sink to thaw.

Me:  I’m not sure the turkey will fit.

Hubby:  Do you have something bigger we can put it in?

Me:  Let me just try….

Twenty minutes later, I’d finished mopping up the kitchen floor.   The silly bird wouldn’t fit into the sink!  We didn’t exactly have the budget to run out and buy a replacement turkey, even if we could find one that was thawed.

Hubby:  What if we put it in the bathtub?

Me:  Well, it’s worth a try.

We put it in the bathtub and turned the water on cool.  The water was running over only about a third of the turkey.

Me:  So we’re going to have to rotate the turkey every 20 minutes and hope it thaws?

Hubby:  Do we have a bowl big enough to put the turkey in and run the water into THAT?

Me:  No!

I was completely forgetting the turkey roasting pan.  I was in one of those hostess disaster panics that every woman dreads.  I raced out to the garage to look for something that would work.

When I came back in, my husband had stopped up the tub drain to allow the tub to start filling with cool water.

Me:  Will that work?  Was the tub clean?

Hubby:  The turkey is in plastic, it’s fine.  We’ll just have to drain and refill the tub every thirty minutes until the turkey thaws.

At that point, I got a huge grin on my face.

The tub was about half full of water, so I reached over and pushed the button…

… on the jets to the tub!!!!!

Yes!  We gave the frozen turkey a jacuzzi bath!

And it worked!

In an hour, the turkey was thawed enough to pull out the giblets.

(repeated experimentation shows that 90 minutes with cool water gives us a completely thawed turkey)

I’m NOT kidding.

(ok, for sanitary reasons, keep the turkey in the plastic shrink wrap.  use cool water.  make sure you keep the turkey out of the danger zone for bacterial growth.  and cook the turkey fully.  ok?)

Imagine the response I got from my mother-in-law when we confessed our turkey mishap over the dinner table.

You did WHAT with the turkey?

If you use this method, make sure you make it clear that the turkey was wrapped in plastic.  Most people visualize raw turkey meat bumping around in a dirty soapy bathtub.

you did NOT do that to the turkey

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. You crack me up. Only you would turn on the jets. But I thought everyone defrosted their turkey in the tub? My mom always has. She puts Tom in the bathtub every year to defrost. I thought that’s how everyone did it. Are you telling me it’s not normal? Oh dear!
    Dawn recently posted..This Is What I Was Born To Do!My Profile

    • I don’t know what the “normal” way is to thaw turkeys. This year, I’m outsourcing my turkey thawing to my mom. She puts them in coolers. I’ve never met anyone else who put theirs in the tub and turned on the jets, but I can’t be the only one to ever do that.

      I’m smoking two turkeys next week for a teacher appreciation lunch at school. One turkey for the school and one for my freezer. Smoked turkey meat is good stuff! I’ll smoke some extra chicken wings because they are awesome in a crockpot of beans. (like a ham hock, only without the pig.)

  2. LOL!! Your stories never fail to crack me up!
    Roshni recently posted..What I’ve been reading this week #16My Profile

  3. LOL! Working with a frozen turkey is a moms worst nightmare on Thanksgiving! Good solution!
    Jeannie Marie & Company recently posted..The Christmas CreepMy Profile

  4. Hilarious! A MUCH better solution and outcome than my turkey with a hematoma! I can just see the light bulb going off in your head when you thought of turning on the jets. Defrosting and tenderizing all in one easy step! Thanks for sharing this great story!
    Mo recently posted..The Thanksgiving Dinner When I Almost Poisoned MomMy Profile

  5. Yep I envisioned a naked turkey bobbing in the water. LOL! You two were quiet clever in such a panic. Visiting via LOBS
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted..Easy Carrot Cake made from scratch…My Profile

  6. What an awesome story! Turning on the jets for the turkey! Love it!
    Michelle recently posted..Goalrilla GAMEMAKER Soccer Goal Review and Giveaway (RV $179.99)My Profile

    • I love sharing this story! In person, there is always someone who is grossed out because they imagine raw unwrapped turkey in a bubble bath. Everyone else just cracks up.

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