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KennethT

Best way to freeze a whole chicken

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I'm wondering what the best way to freeze a whole chicken is...  I like to rotisserie whole birds - but normal supermarket chickens are too big (3.5 to 4pounds) for just my wife and myself, and we're not big fans of leftovers....  So I was planning on going to Chinatown which is a pita to go to on a regular basis - but they have a good selection of smaller chickens in the 2# range which would be perfect for us.

 

So I'm looking to buy a bunch of chickens and then freeze them whole so I don't have to go down there all the time.

 

Does anyone have a good method to freeze them quickly and avoid freezer burn?  Would a food saver be helpful here or am I still going to have issues with air in the cavity?

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 You shouldn’t have any issue with air in the cavity. If you vacuum seal them the vacuum will remove any air regardless of where it is. It’s not as if the cavity is anything like airtight. I have frequently vacuum packed whole chickens with no issues at all. 

 

 Edited to add:

I would treat them as I would any food that you were trying to freeze quickly which would mean spreading them out in the freezer. Depending on how much room you have in the freezer, you might want to consider keeping a couple in the fridge and freezing a couple and then when those are frozen putting the ones from the fridge in there. 


Edited by Anna N (log)
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I would disagree that vacuum will remove air from the cavity. 

 

Can you rotesserie a spatchcocked bird?

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I look through the whole chickens at Aldi and if I find smaller ones, I will buy a few. They  are well packed to go straight into the freezer. Another alternative is the frozen rock Cornish game hens in the freezer section. They are also vacuum sealed and tightly packaged, but thaw out quickly. They are easy to truss up and do well on the rotisserie. I hate to crash the party with a Walmart comment, but they have frozen Cornish game hens in the 1 pound / $2.50 each range that I will buy to have in the freezer,  for the rotisserie. Those, I will cook 4 at a time, 2 for us and 2 for Deb's daughter and SIL.

HC

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49 minutes ago, Spork said:

I would disagree that vacuum will remove air from the cavity. 

 

Can you rotesserie a spatchcocked bird?

 

To rotisserie a spatchcocked bird would require a lot of string.

 

Why do you disagree that vacuum will remove air from the cavity?  (Whether vacuum sealing whole chickens is a good approach is another question.)

 

To answer @KennethT I buy 2 pound Cornish game hens at the local market.  They rotisserie very well, though more often I halve them and grill or steam bake in the CSO.  I plan on one tonight.

 

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Yes, I can buy frozen cornish game hens for a decent price, although not nearly that cheap.  Unfortunately, being in NYC, I don't have access to a Walmart without driving about an hour.  The most inexpensive birds around are in Chinatown - plus, they have lots of breeds that are not normally that common - like that are more typically  found in Asia where they're scrawnier, but very tasty with bigger legs/thighs and smaller breasts.  The problem is that they're not coming from a big industrial farm, like Perdue, where they come already vacuum packed and sealed - they are basically just sitting on a plastic tray with some plastic wrap on them. Chances are that they were slaughtered that morning, or the day before.

 

I currently have a cgh dry brining in the fridge to be used for dinner tonight... but at my local supermarket, they're like $4.50 per pound, and aren't that flavorful - as opposed to similar sized birds I can get in Chinatown for like $2 per pound and are crazy tasty.

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38 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Why do you disagree that vacuum will remove air from the cavity?  (Whether vacuum sealing whole chickens is a good approach is another question.)

 

1. vacuum sealing a whole chicken - The 14 lbs/in. sq. atmospheric pressure may collapse the chicken's rib cage.  

2. Assuming the chicken's rib cage is strong enough, the vacuum machine will pull air out, and water inside the chicken will start to evaporate and boil (water boils under vacuum) to replace the air. The chicken will start to dry out until equilibrium of vacuum pressure and water evaporative force is reached. Then some scintillation (freezer burn) of water inside the cavity may happen.

3. Theoretically, if you place a blow up balloon inside the cavity, the balloon will expand quickly to fill the entire cavity under vacuum, preventing freezer burn inside and outside. The balloon will also prevent the chicken from collapsing.

 

dcarch

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@dcarch An interesting idea about the balloon.  I don't have a chamber vac, just a foodsaver - so I can't pull nearly the amount of vacuum to get 14 psi, nor nearly the amount to collapse the rib cage, but I like the idea of a barrier to minimize air contact with the inside. 

 

Originally, I had thought of putting the chicken in a zip lock bag that is not that much bigger than the chicken, filling with water to cover, then via displacement method, seal the bag so that only the small amount of water is in contact with the chicken, then freeze that way, basically creating a giant block of ice... but I was worried that the extra mass would make freezing time too long and would cause more than normal damage.

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 I think that an experiment is in order. I do believe that if Perdue can do it, so can you. I also think that a smaller bird would do better than a bigger one in the vacuum sealed bag in the freezer, so that is to your advantage.

HC


Edited by HungryChris (log)
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32 minutes ago, dcarch said:

 

1. vacuum sealing a whole chicken - The 14 lbs/in. sq. atmospheric pressure may collapse the chicken's rib cage.  

2. Assuming the chicken's rib cage is strong enough, the vacuum machine will pull air out, and water inside the chicken will start to evaporate and boil (water boils under vacuum) to replace the air. The chicken will start to dry out until equilibrium of vacuum pressure and water evaporative force is reached. Then some scintillation (freezer burn) of water inside the cavity may happen.

3. Theoretically, if you place a blow up balloon inside the cavity, the balloon will expand quickly to fill the entire cavity under vacuum, preventing freezer burn inside and outside. The balloon will also prevent the chicken from collapsing.

 

dcarch

 

I never said it was a good idea.

 

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1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

..........Why do you disagree that vacuum will remove air from the cavity?........

It only removes what atmosphere pushes out. 

 

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19 minutes ago, HungryChris said:

 I think that an experiment is in order. I do believe that if Perdue can do it, so can you. I also think that a smaller bird would do better than a bigger one in the vacuum sealed bag in the freezer, so that is to your advantage.

HC

 

 

I've never seen a Perdue bird that was vacuum sealed.  My Cornish game hen for tonight is already halved or I would take one for the team.  I suspect as @dcarch said it might crush the bird.  That being said I usually vacuum seal meat under less than maximum pressure.  Usually no need to strive for the vacuum of space.

 

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1 minute ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

.........Usually no need to strive for the vacuum of space......

 

 

With, or without, gravity?

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1 minute ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Sorry, I don't understand what you are saying.

 

 

 

It it may be tomorrow on a response to that. Mom’s faucet replacement and Schnitzel are forefront. 

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Perhaps just oiling the cavity and plastering it with cling film would help.  Actually, just cling film the whole thing while you're at it.  Then just vacuum seal the whole thing.  I doubt a Foodsaver could collapse a chicken.

 

I like the balloon idea though, and will await the Youtube video.

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How are frozen turkeys done?  There are great piles of them every year in November.

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4 hours ago, Spork said:

It only removes what atmosphere pushes out. 

 

 

I notice the original post did specify a food saver.  Does "it" refer to food saver?  Maybe this is how a food saver works?  I have no experience.  I use a chamber vacuum sealer where the atmosphere doesn't press on the bag until the bag is sealed and the vacuum has been released.

 

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It really comes down to a distinction without a difference.  Thomas Keller named his Sous Vide book Under Pressure even though Sous Vide means under vacuum.  There are those that will argue that it's the external atmospheric pressure doing the work.  But it's all relative.  The key thing is the difference between the inside and outside.  The side you root for is up to you.


Edited by IndyRob (log)

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7 minutes ago, IndyRob said:

Thomas Keller named his Sous Vide book Under Pressure even though Sous Vide means under vacuum.

 

That is what created the entire confusion. Friends become enemies arguing about sous vide.

It is not about pressure, and it has nothing to do with vacuum.

If you use a transducer to measure the inside of a sous vide bag after "vacuuming" you  will find out that there is no pressure, and of course no vacuum. In sous vide you do not have a vacuum machine, the so called vacuum machine is just a pump to remove air bubbles.

To create vacuum and pressure, you need to have a rigid container, such as in canning. When you open a canning jar, you hear that pop, that is vacuum. You don't hear that when you open a sous vide bag. (A chicken rib cage is a rigid container, there fore you can create pressure and semi-vacuum).

 

dcarch

 

 

 

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To be technical, vacuums necessarily have to do with voids (as a vacuum is defined as a space devoid of matter).  But voids are exactly what we're trying to avoid by using flexible bags and sous vide.  So it's really a pointless argument.  And not one that sheds any light on chicken freezing. ;)

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@KennethT I don't know if it helps, but I see you are located in NY.  Can you get amazon Fresh?  Since the end of last year amazon no longer delivers to where I am but while I had the Fresh service I could buy organic Bell and Evans -- larger than a game hen but smaller than the standard Shoprite Jurassic chicken -- packed in just a twist tied plastic bag.

 

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@JoNorvelleWalker I don't know... I'd have to check it out...  my local supermarket (Fairway) carries Bell and Evans, but they're a lot more expensive than the store brand or Murray's... 

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