Must processed birds be ice bathed?

Mobile ice

May 17, 2015
is it safe to immediately refrigerate a processed bird as opposed to chilling it first in an ice bath?

I thought I would ask because I'm under the (possibly incorrect) impression that the meat will absorb water which will reduce its quality. Thanks for any suggestions.
It sounds like it is a matter of what level of bacterial growth you are comfortable with. Modern science says that to be safe, you need to get the chicken's core temperature to 40 degrees within one hour of butchering to avoid dangerous bacteria. A regular refrigerator is not nearly adequate to do this so some people use an ice bath.

You are right, the chicken does absorb some water during that time and you can purchase commercially processed chicken that was "air-chilled" to avoid the extra water, but really, it doesn't absorb much in just an hour. When people want water absorption (like in brining) they have to soak the bird for a couple of days to get the meat thoroughly drenched.
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If you want to refrigerate you could supplement the cooling by stuffing a ziploc full of ice in the cavity. Refrigerators are good at keeping things cool but wont chill things fast especially not if placing multiple hot carcases in at once.

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