Freezing Chicken?

I have been a vegetarian for most of my life. I have never purchased a chicken nor had one in my home and to the best of my recollection I’ve never touched one. However, my sister in law is coming to visit for a weekend in three weeks time, and at her suggestion and my mother-in-law’s encouragement, I am planning on buying and roasting a chicken for her to enjoy when our vegetarian fare doesn’t suit or fully satisfy. (Leftovers will be happily enjoyed by our dog Spunky, I’m sure.)

My local store is advertising roasting chickens at a good price in this coming week, so I was thinking of buying one and freezing it. But I’m not sure of the best way to do this. Can the chicken be simply tossed into the freezer in its store packaging? Will this package leak chicken juices in my freezer until everything’s frozen? Would it be better to put the chicken into a freezer bag (if I can find one that’s large enough) and if so, should I take it out of its packaging first or put it into the bag while wrapped?

How long would it take for an average sized roaster to thaw in the refrigerator? Is there any reason why I couldn’t or shouldn’t thaw the chicken in the disposable aluminum roasting pan that I intend to buy to cook it in? Should I unwrap the chicken to thaw it, or can it stay in its plastic wrap until I’m ready to prepare it?

Basically, yes, you just toss it in the freezer. If the package appears to be leaking juices, by all means bag it. Leaving the original shrink-wrap packaging on will help reduce or eliminate freezer burn.

To thaw the bird, just put it in the refrigerator. Never thaw chicken by leaving it at room tremperature, nor by running warm water over it. These, and similar, methods allow parts of the chicken to get warm enough to begin supporting the growth of bacteria. Allow about 5 hours of thawing time per pound of bird.

Unless you’re getting a really good deal, I’d recommend waiting until the day before your guests arrive before you buy the chicken. Three weeks in the freezer will have a bad effect on the taste, plus you have the hassle of thawing it, which almost always takes longer than you think it will.

Even better: you can buy roast rotisserie-style whole chickens at a lot of supermarkets now. That way you don’t even have to roast it, and if you’ve never handled a chicken, believe me, you won’t want to get raw chicken fat and blood all over your hands or see the disgusting little gift bag that comes inside the chicken.

And don’t give your dog any chicken bones. Dogs can break chicken bones with their teeth and then swallow the bone splinters, leading to bad things. He may, however, enjoy the contents of the “gift bag”, once you take the bones and gizzards out.

For just this week I can get the chicken for 19 cents a pound. (It’s a special frequent shopper deal.) Since I have qualms about giving money to the meat industry, I’d just as soon buy the thing as cheaply as I possibly can.

What kind of bad effect on the taste? How much is this dependant upon what else is in the freezer? I don’t care about the “hassle” of thawing it, I’m just going to take the thing out of the freezer and throw it in the fridge. How much hassle could that be?

My supermarket doesn’t offer pre-cooked, and I’m aware of what’s in the raw chicken. I’ve seen chickens cooked, I even know a very good technique for roasting a chicken which I plan to test. I’m just going to handle the thing while wearing gloves. I my not know all the ins and outs, but I ain’t no dummy!

Never would. Only the best for my Spunky.

I don’t know what kind of bad taste would be imparted to a chicken being frozen for three weeks. I’ve eaten chickens that have been frozen for years and they taste just fine. Connoisseurs may be able to tell the difference, the average Joe won’t. I don’t think you have to worry about this.

Yes you can freeze the chicken in it’s original wrapping; if it is leaking you can find a big freezer bag or (if it’s in plastic wrap already) just put it in any kind of bag - even a plastic shopping bag… just keep the opening up. Any juices will freeze pretty fast (a few minutes) and not run anywhere.

Q.E.D.'s advice about how to thaw the bird is a good rule of thumb, and if you aren’t going to be in the habit of handling meat products you should probably just follow it. It is however not mandatory. In my entire lifetime I’ve only “properly” thawed out meat maybe 6-7 times. The hundreds of other times I’ve put it in hot water/nuked it/left it out at room temp and never once had food poisoning.

If you cook your food properly, any bacteria that started growing will be killed. But that’s the catching point - some people like their meat rare, so you either have to cook it properly OR thaw it properly. Doing both of those is almost foolproof, one of those is usually good enough, but not doing either properly is asking for trouble.