Cooking a turkey..started thinking about T-Day

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by meltyface, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. I'm cooking a turkey today and it got me thinking about Thanksgiving. I currently live just south of Oklahoma City, OK but all my family is still in Dallas. I was wondering if I cook a turkey to 170 for Thanksgiving the day before...wrap the bird in foil...then put it in a cooler with towels for about 18 hours, would this ruin the bird in anyway?

    Also I have been finding it very difficult to get my smoker to a temp above 300, does anyone have any advice to make this task easier?
  2. tntxajun

    tntxajun Smoke Blower

    Holding poultry that long unrefrigerated is way toooooo long, the risks are enormous.

    I have cooked several days ahead, refrigerated and then reheated. Smoked turkey and chicken both do well frozen and then reheated, flavor loss is minimal if reheated slowly wrapped in heavy foil at 185-200 degree oven.
    It can be thawed and reheated over a med grill as well to reawaken the flavors.

    Please don't keep it that long out of the fridge, the forum needs ya.

  3. Thanks for the you think refrigerating it, and then transporting it in an iced cooler for 5 hours will be allright?
  4. tntxajun

    tntxajun Smoke Blower

    I feel you would be fine as long as you protect it from getting submerged in the melted water. Seal it up tight and surround it in ice.
    You might want to find a styrofoam chest, (pretty cheap at wal-mart) as they hold ice far longer than the plastic/vinly lined ones do.
    Personally, I would 1/4 it or 1/2 it for easier packing and transport and then do the re-heat and slicing after you get there.

    Wrap that critter up in HD foil and let it rest about an hour after you finish smoking it. Let it cool down in the foil.Then cut and wrap and put it in the fridge. Try to save as much of the drippings you can. Baste with them and some butter when you go to reheat. Ummmmmmm

    Good luck, You should do fine.

  5. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I agree with Jack. Even if you could manage to keep it above 140*, for that amount of time, I have to wonder what it's going to look and taste like, and if it would dry out.

    Reheating the bird will be fine. For a few years, we bought those pre-cooked Thanksgiving meals at the supermarket, and reheated everything up. Never could taste the differance.

    One thing I've done in the past is besides sealing up my sandwiches (or whatever) in wrap, I also put the ice in gallon zip lock bags to try and keep the water out of the cooler and food. Those blocks of "Blue Ice" aren't too bad. They're not as good as ice cubes, but then you're talking about the end of November when the ambient temperature won't be hot.
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Maybe you can if you have one is vaccum seal it and then put it in a cooler with those freezing bags you know with the gel that you freeze and go that route and I think you'll be alright. Maybe if you have a truck put your smoker in the truck and take it with you the family might like that better.
  7. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A simple solution to keep the ice from melting would be to place about a 1/2 to 1lb chunk of Dry ice in the top of the cooler.

    Be sure to wrap it in a towel and DO NOT handle it with bare hands.
    Dry ice will cause Frost Bite and Freeze Human Tissue because of its very cold temperature: -109.3°F or -78.5°C.

    We used to deliver Drugs packed in it, it will last from Ok to Texas no problem. We were told it would last about 48 hours as long as the chest was sealed. Just don't put over that amount in or you will freeze it more solid than it was when you got it.

    I would get several extra pounds and keep it (dry ice) in a separate cooler and put in as needed with the ice to keep the ice frozen.

    If you don't want to put the dry ice in the same chest as the turkey you could keep extra ice in a separate cooler and keep it frozen solid with dry ice and you would be able to replace any ice that melted in the turkey cooler.
  8. mgwerks

    mgwerks Smoking Fanatic

    One caveat about this: do NOT seal the ice chest tightly. Dry ice is CO2, not water, so it doesn't melt, it sublimates (goes from solid to gas). As it does, the gas expands to far greater volume than the solid, and will blow that ice chest wide open if you seal it tight. A good answer might be to leave the little drain open so the gas can escape.


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