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Old 12-31-2006, 07:22 AM   #1
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Afraid of Turkey Stock!

Hello to all,

I first want to apologize for what will be a long post - so thank you in advance for bearing with me.

I cooked a Turkey on Christmas; last Monday, and have a few questions related to making stock – or should I say, stock that won’t kill me/us.

I made just about every mistake imaginable, but the Turkey still came out delicious.
(I can actually cook fairly well and have made Turkey probably 15 times in my life.)

First, I left the Turkey out too long before cooking.
[The Turkey still had some thawing out to do. I cleaned the sink thoroughly, filled it with water, salted the water, and let the Turkey sit submerged in the water until it finished thawing. This was an exercise in creativityJ.] After it finally thawed out fully, I took it out of the water, patted it dry, and placed it on a platter near the stove.

It wasn't until about 4 hours later that the Turkey made it into the oven.
My understanding is that food safety dictates not leaving it out for more than 2 hours before cooking – I wasn’t about to waste a $28 organic TurkeyJ.
(Made a great cornbread, sausage, with oyster stuffing though)

I found that my oven has some temperature differentials - top and sides cooked well, but some parts weren't done well enough - stayed away from those.
(Cooking time at 325F on this 12 lb Turkey with stuffing was about 4.5 hours.)

I finally ate about 10:30 at night with my girlfriend – we were just at home having fun watching me make a fool of myself in the kitchen. By the way, I’m the one who cooks most of the time; or should I say all of the time.

Now for the scary part…

Broke up the carcass on Thursday evening and filled a large pot with water, the carcass, and some seasoning (I didn’t want onions or anything else at this point – that would come later). I brought the morass to a boil, simmered, and placed the whole thing with carcass into the refrigerator – still fairly hot I might add – since I was tired and needed rest before work the next morning.

On Friday night, I pulled it out of the refrigerator again and boy was it a gelatinous sight! Lots of congealed fat surrounding the Turkey bits. I added some more water and heated up the whole thing again. After it was good and hot, I removed all the parts and strained the liquid. Simmered some more and tasted it – heaven forbid! It tasted great and I’m still alive! I put it back into the refrigerator. I was starting to feel like an idiot at this point or more like Steve McQueen in the 1958 cult classic - The Blob. Help! It's after me!

Once again I took it out this morning (Sunday 12/31/2006) (still gelatinous sans carcass) – about 3:20 am PST – and brought it to a slow boil and then to a simmer. It’s simmering now at 4:35 am PST and looks and smells great! Not sure about tasting it this timeJ.

I read recently that you can heat and re-heat stock a number of times like this, but I’m unsure of the validity of that statement.

Outside of going out & getting a microscope to look for deadly bacteria, do you think I should pursue this crazy task any further, or just chalk it up to a fun exercise in futility?

By the way, I bought a nice organic chicken yesterday afternoon to make soup with; regardless of what happens to this (almost) stock.

Thanks for making it all the way through this.

Darrell


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Old 12-31-2006, 10:16 AM   #2
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Well, you didn't get sick or die the first time you tasted the stock so I guess you'll be OK.

Stop playing with it. Portion it and put it into the freezer for future use.

You did several wrong things along the way but they appear to have been harmless.

Leaving the turkey at room temp for 4 hours was a no-no but you both ate the cooked turkey and survived. No harm, no foul.

You waited until Tursday to make a stock and tasted that and survived. Again, no harm, no foul.

The key, in addition to the ones you've already identified, is to keep the food product (turkey, carcass or stock) out of the danger zone of temperatures. That's 40 F to 140 F. So, after making a stock, cool it ASAP.

Cool it by putting the hot pot into the sink in cold water. Add ice cubes to the water to bring down the temp. Pre-freeze water or soda bottles filled with water and float them in the broth to bring down the temp. All this before you refrigerate.

That's because the fridge cannot deal well with a large quantity of hot liquid. It cools too slowly and warms up everything else in the fridge.

Each time to use this turkey stock, bring it to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes before using it in any recipe.
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Old 12-31-2006, 10:22 AM   #3
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And, the fact that it is gelatinous is a GOOD thing, in case you were still in doubt, Darrell. :-)

Lee
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Old 12-31-2006, 10:30 AM   #4
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Andy.M, surely you meant "no harm, no Fowl"?
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Old 12-31-2006, 10:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YT2095
Andy.M, surely you meant "no harm, no Fowl"?

YT2095:

My spelling isn`t REALLY this bad, it`s just my Keymap is set to Dynamic
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Old 12-31-2006, 11:14 AM   #6
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When I made my turkey stock, I did it the same day, and froze it in 2 cup portions. That worked really well.
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Old 12-31-2006, 11:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarrellBlackHawk
I found that my oven has some temperature differentials - top and sides cooked well, but some parts weren't done well enough - stayed away from those.
(Cooking time at 325F on this 12 lb Turkey with stuffing was about 4.5 hours.)


Roasting a stuffed turkey is dangerous enough, but slightly undercooking a stuffed turkey is asking for serious trouble. If you want stuffing, roast it on it's own, NOT inside the bird.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DarrellBlackHawk
I read recently that you can heat and re-heat stock a number of times like this, but Im unsure of the validity of that statement.


Your uncertainty is founded. Re-heating stock does not prolong it's freshness/safety. For quite some time it was believed that boiling kills all bacteria and, in turn, prolongs the safety of stock, but in recent years, it's been shown that some bacteria survive the boiling process.

Make it, chill it quickly and freeze it.
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Old 12-31-2006, 11:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
YT2095:

My spelling isn`t REALLY this bad, it`s just my Keymap is set to Dynamic
I think you missed it entirely :(
take a peek: Fowl - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
now consider the topic matter.
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Old 12-31-2006, 11:44 AM   #9
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I didn't miss it, I was just responding with a wisea$$ remark!
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:33 PM   #10
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Yep, a lot of good advice on food safety. And I will not say not to follow all of the guidelines.

Will point out that for some reason we are all here. Yep, we humans have managed, and many are still managing, to get by with little in the way of food preservation.

Had pernicious bacteria, and I know about those bugs, see them under the scope every day, been as ready to pounce upon us all with the lethal consequnces some seem to think, none of us would be alive today. Or even been born, since our ancestors, including many of our grandparents, did not have much in the way of refrigeration. And they would have been wiped out.

Somehow they muddled by, and mostly did pretty well.

That does not mean one should be cavalier about food safey.

Am just saying that we can sometimes get a bit paranoid about the subject.

Know someone who will toss a roast after two days, even though fully cooked.

Grandma would leave the chicken on the counter after she killed it for a while.

And they had eviscerated it in not, I would suppose, the most careful manner.

My point is observe the guidelines, but don't obsess about them.
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