Defrosting a whole lamb

Joined Dec 23, 2016

I have done a few spits of whole lamb in the past but the lamb was always fresh (straight from the butcher). I now have a scenario where I have bought a lamb a month ago, as it was cheaper to buy then, and I wrapped the lamb up with black bags and then wrapped it in newspaper and then more black bags over that. The reason for this was to keep the lamb insulated and to try prevent any form of freezer burn.

I now need to defrost the lamb. The lamb is about 21kg (about 48lb). I have read that the best way is to place it in a bath of cold water and let it thaw naturally, replacing the cold tap water with new cold water every 5-6 hours. Would this be the correct approach and if not what would you recommend. Your help is much appreciated here.
Joined Jan 8, 2010
I normally put the lamb in a big coolbox or tub and put the hosepipe on it and keep the water running.

I got a lot of space, so this may not be possible for you.

I do this as it works faster, but it also ensures that the water can't heat up (I live in a hot climate)
Joined Aug 25, 2009
If you can't defrost it in the fridge because of size and space then like Butzy said, cold water bath .

@chomps @ Just curious, how are you cooking this ? Spit ?
Joined Apr 3, 2008
The safest way is to defrost it over a period of several days in a refrigerator. Not sure how many days it would take for a lamb (sheep actually, it's no longer a lamb when it grows that big) that big to defrost. If you don't have the room for it you may want to strike up a deal with a local restaurant that can keep it in one of their fridges. Perhaps invite the owner over for the roasting or pay them a sum for use of their fridge. We bought a small old fridge to house our lamb for Easter but we don't go over 27lbs.
Joined Aug 26, 2016
You should never thaw anything by just letting it sit in water.

Thaw in a refrigerated environment.  

For quick thawing, a circulating cold water bath is best.  The water should be allowed to overflow as a constant flow of new, cold water is added (as described in the other post above).  

These are the only two methods of thawing that I allow, and that should be allowed.
Joined Dec 23, 2016
Hi Guys,

Thank you for the replys. This was done for Christmas so I managed to resolve. I took the lamb out of the deep freeze a day and a half before hand, and because it was a fairly cool day I just left it in its rapping (that I rapped it in), and hung it up in my garage. When I came to prepare the lamb it had thawed out and was still quite cold, but not frozen, which I think was perfect. I don't like the idea of putting it water unless as butzy stated you're in a hot climate and then it must be constantly running water. In my case to put it in a fridge and wait for a week or so was just not possible. So in the end it turned out perfect and was delicious on my home made spit.

Kind regards


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