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The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service informs that a package of frozen poultry left thawing on the counter more than 2 hours is not at a safe temperature. Even though the center of the package may still be frozen, the outer layer of the food is in the “Danger Zone” between 4 and 25 °C (40 and 77 °F) — at a temperature where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly.

Mine is a 16 pounds turkey thus I am starting today the refrigerator thawing; below, a useful table on thawing times.

Refrigerator Thawing Times
Whole turkey:

  •  4 to 12 pounds ……  1 to 3 days
  • 12 to 16 pounds …… 3 to 4 days
  • 16 to 20 pounds …… 4 to 5 days
  • 20 to 24 pounds …… 5 to 6 days

Excellent video on the subject from AllRecipes.com

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