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Holding Turkey?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by radio, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    How would one safely go about cooking a whole turkey the day before T day so someone can pick it up that night or the morning of T day for their feast later that afternoon?

    A friend wants me to smoke a bird for him, but I don't want to take up all my family time with his bird, so would like to do it the day before.  If it can be done, what are recommendations for reheating the bird?

    Any rough estimates of time per pound for a 12 to 14 pound bird at 325°?
  2. Never reheated a whole bird, but have smoked the day before and just pulled drums off and wings and sliced up the breasts cold and basically picked the carcass clean then into a crock with some liquid or into a roasting pan and into the oven foil covered of course with a little liquid.
  3. Also as with everything else just cook to temp, I couldn't honestly put a time frame on smoking...cuz then it'd just be grilling....or baking..YIKES!! LOL.
  4. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks bama!  Good tip about the kitchen bouquet also.  I bookmarked the post for quick reference when the time comes
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You could cure it and just not worry. Or you could cook it and let your friend pick it up, store it, and reheat it.
  6. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    They are big into carving a bird at the table, so it needs to be pretty much traditional, just smoked instead of baked.  so how would he store it and reheat it without the dreaded bacteria worry or drying it out?
  7. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have never had that problem, I smoke 'em... I eat them or I give the back to the owner. I never had a reheat problem. But then again I didn't know all the USDA guidelines, still don't.
  8. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Think the USDA would freak at all the mud pies we ate as kids growing up?  Some of the things we did and ate way back when would make health inspectors these days have a heart attack!

    I'm a firm believer that many folks born before the 60's have lots stronger constitutions than kids these days.  We ate all kinds of questionable things, got dirty playing and were generally exposed to lots more bacteria and other stuff now labeled as "Harmful".  I bet most of the places Mom and Dad lived in when I was a kid had lead paint everywhere!  Nowadays if you eat game shot with a lead bullet you are risking serious health hazards.  Gimme a break already!
  9. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Most importantly, follow safe guidelines in the preparation of the bird, IE: keep everything below 40˚ during the prep and then cook to an internal temperature of 165˚.

    Just as importantly, chill the bird properly!! This is the part that usually causes problems. Someone takes care to treat the bird safely during the cooking phase, then just chucks it in the fridge. The 12-15lb mass of 165˚ turkey not only doesn't chill in a safe timeframe, it can also raise the temp of the  whole refrigerator to above 41˚ creating a safety hazard for everything in there.

    The bird must be chilled to below 70˚ within 2 hours, then to below 40˚ within another 4 hours, total time not to exceed 6 hours. Best way to do this is to double bag it in those oven cooking bags (regular plastic bags might melt from the heat of the bird) and put it in a cooler covered with ice. Leave the drain on the cooler open and replace ice as it melts. Plan on 2 or 3 large bags of ice for this. This should get you chilled well within safe time limits.

    To avoid a dry turkey, I'd brine it, possibly even with cure #1 added as Foamheart suggested. The cure will help protect against bacteria and will also help prevent it drying out during the reheat. The look and presentation will be the same, but the texture and flavor will be slightly different. Some say it's "hammy", I just think it's delicious.

    To reheat, it can be put in a 350˚ until it reaches an internal temp of 165˚.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  10. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thing is that with poultry the game has changed. Large scale industrial farming and processing has led to new and more potent strains of things like salmonella and e-coli over the past 20 or so years. What was ok when we were kids or when our parents were kids isn't necessarily so today.
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I knew someone would know the answers better than me. Its about putting out safe info. I don't think anyone would die from food anymore nor do I believe that 25% go to bed hungry, but you could cause an undue strain on the plumbing if a whole family ate it. I am sitting here chuckling thinking about if there was only one bathroom.

    Now thats funny, as long as its not you....LOL

    You might not be invited for the family Christmas, and definately you be omitted from the grocery list. You can get the paper napkins.