THE REFRIGERATOR METHOD
Thawing in the refrigerator takes the longest, but is the safest of all the methods and, in the long run, the most convenient.
The first important question is when to buy the frozen turkey. Using the refrigerator method, figure one day (24 hours) for every five 5 pounds of weight. For example, and 8- to 12-pound turkey will take two to three days, while a 20- to 24-pound bird requires at least four to five days.
Given that time frame, plan the purchase of your frozen fowl so that it is thoroughly defrosted Thanksgiving morning when you start cooking, which means the weekend before Turkey Day in most cases.
Keep in mind that once thawed, the turkey can stay refrigerated at least one day without harm.
Before buying the turkey, it's a good idea to clean out your refrigerator..
The key to successful thawing in the refrigerator is good air circulation and old, unused items will get in the way. It's also a good idea because you'll need that extra space to store all the other Thanksgiving food.
"This is making the assumption the refrigerator is 37 to 40 degrees," says Williamson. "If you're not sure, invest in a thermometer."
Williamson says she keeps one in her refrigerator all the time.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines note that some areas of the refrigerator are colder than others and that food in the coldest parts may take longer.
Leave the turkey sealed in the food-grade plastic bag in which it is wrapped and place it in a pan to catch any drippings that might leak during the defrosting process.
Then leave it alone until the allotted time has past. Keep refrigerated until the moment it is ready.
THE SINK METHOD