Defining the best ways to defrost a chicken must take account above all of food safety. Chicken which is not defrosted properly prior to being cooked can be extremely dangerous to one’s health and it is therefore vital that this scenario be avoided.
The absolute best way to defrost a chicken is slowly in the refrigerator. A small chicken will defrost in this fashion in around twenty-four hours but a bigger bird may very well take twice that length of time. It is imperative therefore that sufficient time be allowed for this process to occur.
It is very likely that the chicken will have been bought frozen and is sealed in some form of plastic wrapping. This wrapping should be loosened but may be used to cover the defrosting chicken. The chicken should then be placed in to a large tray and on to the very bottom shelf of the refrigerator. This is to ensure that any liquid which may escape the chicken and spill from the tray does not contaminate any other food which is present in the refrigerator. Depending upon the size of the chicken and the size and depth of the tray, it may prove necessary to empty the tray of the defrosting water and juices, once or twice during the defrosting period.
If perhaps one forgets to remove the chicken from the deep freeze in sufficient time to defrost it in this fashion in the refrigerator, there are two other options which can be explored. What one should never do is allow the chicken to sit out and defrost at room temperature, even covered, as this can lead to it becoming contaminated with harmful bacteria.
The first alternative one may consider to defrost a chicken is by submerging it in cold water. This will allow it to defrost in around half the time that it would have taken in the refrigerator. One will clearly require a very large basin, pot or bowl and will require to ensure that the whole chicken is submerged at all times. Changing the water every few hours is also a good idea.
In an emergency, it is possible to defrost a chicken in the microwave. This should be done per the microwave manufacturer’s instructions and only immediately prior to the chicken being cooked. Defrosting a chicken in this way and then failing to begin cooking it immediately afterward can again lead to problems with bacteria.
The best ways to defrost a chicken therefore afford three very different alternatives but where time can possibly be made to permit, the refrigerator option should always be the one selected.