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Old 12-27-2006, 04:44 PM   #1
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Carving Turkey - are ALL the juices supposed to still be clear

I ran into this last Sunday during Xmas Eve Turkey Carving.
I had baked my turkey until internal temp was 177 degrees (Taylor Probe Thermometer in thick part of thigh), took out the turkey, let it sit for 30 min, started carving turkey.
Some juices were clear but some were not - while I was carving, the juices ran clear, but the juices that accumulated at the bottom of the cutting board had a pinkish tone to it. So family members said to throw the turkey back in the oven. I did, but when we took the turkey back out (after hitting 177 degrees again @ 1/2 hr later), the juices were the same - it ran clear, but accumulated at the bottom it was pinkish.
So now I'm confused. The USDA says turkey only needs to be cooked until it reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees F. I cooked my turkey until it was 177 degrees for a lot longer than I think it needed to be cooked...the only confusion is the "juices run clear" bit. Does there need to be NO pink at all?
Can someone clear this up for me? Thank you!
Dawn.

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Old 12-27-2006, 04:47 PM   #2
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Was the turkey completely thawed, stuffed?
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Old 12-27-2006, 04:48 PM   #3
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nope, just a butterball 20 lb
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Old 12-27-2006, 04:48 PM   #4
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Was it completely thawed?
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Old 12-27-2006, 04:55 PM   #5
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yup. In fact, the packaging says it was never frozen. I bought it on Wed., kept it in the fridge until Sun when I cooked it (packaging said it was good til today in the fridge).

So....I take it there shouldn't be any pink at all? What I don't get is - if the turkey only needs to be 165 degrees to be safe - and I cooked it at 177 for a bit longer than needed (I didn't snatch it out of the oven the moment it hit 177) - then is the "juices need to be clear" thing true - or is it old? I mean, before this year, "they" were also saying that Turkey needed to hit 180 degrees?
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Old 12-27-2006, 05:13 PM   #6
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Turkeys cook unevenly. Typically, the last place to be properly cooked is the joint where the thigh attaches to the body. As a result, you can take the meat temperature from the thickest part of the breast or even the thigh and still get pinkish juices.

It is possible to get some pink even when the temperature says all is well.

I sometimes open that thigh/body joint and spread the legs so that area cooks sooner.
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Old 12-27-2006, 05:22 PM   #7
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Great, thank you! =)
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Old 12-27-2006, 06:08 PM   #8
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In some cases, the hemoglobin in the turkey meat can form a heat-stable pink color during cooking that persists even when fully cooked. This can be a problem especially when smoking or grilling a turkey - especially if brined before cooking.

Most harmful bacteria cannot survive a temperature of 160F or greater. In fact, salmonella is killed instantly when subjected to a temperature of 160F.
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Old 12-27-2006, 06:54 PM   #9
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Have you calibrated the thermometer? Was it possible you touched bone when you checked the temperature?

If you are sure the thermometer is correct, and your technique was correct, I'd not worry overmuch about a slight pink tinge....as long as you are completely sure about your equipment.

No two turkeys are going to cook the same. Some birds just have 'pinker' flesh in the dark meat area. For the most part, experience is what it takes to cook a turkey or any poultry correctly.

I know that poultry that is cooked from a frozen state stays a bit red around the joints. Even though your label said never frozen....anything is possible.

The best way to test your thermometer's calibration is to immerse the probe into a cup of water filled with ice cubes. The thermometer will read 32 degrees if it is calibrated correctly. Many cooks calibrate a thermometer every time before using it. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 12-27-2006, 06:57 PM   #10
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The not clear juices I have found too often in chickens, particularly the thigh parts when cooked seperately.

And have seen it persist when the meat is clearly cooked, and even overcooked. Have blasted, read that essentially cremated, a few pieces to see what happened and the juice never became clear. And there was a pink touch to it about the bone.

Why, I don't know.

But at 177 degrees to me the beast was done. Even if the thermometer was a bit off, 177 is very high, and you put the bird back again.

Maybe it is the way the birds are being processed. Dunno.

Now don't worry about it. Cook the bird to a proper temp, no higher than 160, and eat it.

You could start the bird with the back sticking up, or tent the breast with foil.

But I am starting to believe that a bit pink is something we are going to have to start to live with.
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