How big is your turkey?

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Heather says:

Remember if you are using a frozen turkey you will have to thaw your turkey for 24 hours for every five pounds. Always err on the safe side and never thaw a bird at room temperature. If you must quickly thaw a turkey you can immerse it, in its packaging, in tepid water. You should change the water every thirty minutes to prevent bacterial growth. Since you have plenty of time play it safe and make room in the fridge.

If you are planning on a fresh turkey you must wait until Tuesday at the earliest to purchase it. You can call your grocer to see if they will hold one for you. Fresh turkey is highly perishable.

If you arrived here trying to figure out how much turkey you will need, check this post.

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

People have asked about The Great Food Poisoning Incident Of 2001. This very issue is what happened. The day before Thanksgiving, my husband asked me why the turkey wasn’t in the refrigerator yet. I didn’t know you had to thaw it out several days beforehand. So I pulled out the turkey about 24 hours before the big day. It was still frozen when I got up at 5 AM to cook the turkey, so I went with the water method.

Apparently, parts of it were still frozen and when the turkey cooked, although it did temp out like it was supposed to, parts were still under done. It did not turn out well. Half my family got food poisoning and I am never allowed to host Thanksgiving dinner at my house again.

Learn from my mistakes! Pull out the turkey in time! As my mama always says, “If you can’t be the good example, at least serve as the horrible warning.” That’s me, the horrible warning.

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7 thoughts on “How big is your turkey?”

  1. The chidlren have requested and we are having Cornish hens this year, last year the children requested goose (that was fun to cook), and the year before that they wanted duck (another fun bird to cook).

    All of these birds have different requirements to cook properly, and I did my research ahead of time, and thank goodness I did, the goose needs to be boiled first and then let to dry for about 2 days to properly roast!

  2. I have brined our turkey for the last couple of years as a part of the defrosting process and it has worked quite well. I brine in a cooler with ice mixed in for safety and we are all still here to tell about it. I use Mr. ABs recipe and it hasn’t failed yet.

    You will have to scrub and disinfect your cooler before and after the brining unless you get a throw-away.

  3. The salt in the brine keeps bacterial growth in check. I haven’t looked for the FDA’s official stance on the matter. I always err on the side of caution with what I recommend to others. I call it covering my butt. 😉

  4. oh Ivy! Why won’t your family let you learn from your mistakes and you can host again?? When you first quoted your mom as saying “if you can’t be the good example. . .” I read it to my husband and he roared. Now he goes around saying it whenever he thinks it applies (um, often to me).
    Anyway, just have to put my vote in for brining: it makes chicken taste GREAT. I didn’t do a turkey, but my friend talked about brining in an ice chest.

  5. also, flowing water will speed the process further. you can put the turkey in a bucket in the bathtub, fill it with cool water and leave it on just a trickle, the movement will speed the process along by moving warmer water to the bird and colder water away from it

  6. Heather (and Ivy-my buddy from Curbly), you’re fantastic! Thank you so much for writing to me and helping me figure out how to safely handle my turkey. It led me to contact the USDA food safety line (888-674-6854). They were informative and really nice. It turns out, despite being a total neat freak, I’ve been completely unaware of food storage safety. I have to buy a fresh turkey, but I’m so glad I’m not poisoning myself (again) or my family.

    Thanks Heather for writing me and saving our Thanksgiving. My Hotmail won’t let me send back to you, (it sucks.) Keep posting fabulous things!

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