so I finally picked up this bird and it's nowhere near 50 pounds, I doubt that it was 50 pounds even live! So I'm feelin a little ripped off, and this farmer won't answer the phone. whatever...
I don't understand this danger zone thing. After 168 degrees germs and bacteria are all dead, so what's the point???
Technically, yes, 168* will kill the critters...it's what they leave behind, in the form of waste, that will bite you in the rear (or the gut...just depends on how it will effect you). Most bacteria multiply and thrive in the temperature ranging between 41-135*F. If the internal temp of the meat is in this range for too long, there could be too much time for them to leave waste...think of it at this point as a toxic "dump" site.
Bear in mind, with intact whole muscle meats, one need not be concerned with this, as there is little chance for contamination of the interior of the meat unless it has been cut open and re-closed (boned-out), punctured (injected), rolled, etc. Of course if the meat is way beyond it's prime freshness and already turning, there is nothing that will help you salvage it and be able to ingest it safely.
If, after carefully inspecting inside and out, and you find that the bird has not been injected or otherwise tampered with (a slip of the knife could puncture the carcass during processing), then it too would be considered intact whole muscle. Minimum recommended smoke chamber temp is 225*, regardless, just to pasteurize the surface relatively quickly.
Hope that helps you to understand it better.