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Old 11-16-2005, 07:39 PM   #1
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Turkey serving - salmonella avoidance question

I am going to prepare and cook a turkey for our family's Thanksgiving this year. I live 4 hours away from where the dinner will be held. Is it okay to cook the turkey at my house and immediately wrap it in foil, place in ice chest, drive 4 hours, and serve within another hour or two?

I'd say to just cook it at my mom's house but the recipe I'm using says to thaw the turkey, then put it in a brine overnight and then cook immediately so I'm afraid to do the brine and take a raw turkey over there and then cook. Any suggestions?

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Old 11-16-2005, 07:46 PM   #2
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Yes...Cook the turkey a day or two earlier. Carve, slice, and refrigerate or freeze. Then you can heat it up at your mom's.
So you don't get to see "big bird"...it will still be delicious, and won't have to worry about anyone getting sick. I'd also recommend making your gravy in advance, and heating it up at your mom's too.
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jemo
I am going to prepare and cook a turkey for our family's Thanksgiving this year. I live 4 hours away from where the dinner will be held. Is it okay to cook the turkey at my house and immediately wrap it in foil, place in ice chest, drive 4 hours, and serve within another hour or two?

I'd say to just cook it at my mom's house but the recipe I'm using says to thaw the turkey, then put it in a brine overnight and then cook immediately so I'm afraid to do the brine and take a raw turkey over there and then cook. Any suggestions?
To safely avoid any food contamination, you'll want to get the internal temp. of the turkey below 40 degrees in less than four hours, and then reheat it so that the internal temp. reaches 165 degrees or higher.

With that being said, the absolute best option is to pack the raw turkey in ice and then go to your mom's house early to cook it. Do you have a container that will hold the turkey + the brine which will then fit in the ice chest with enough room where you can surround the container on all sides with ice? If not, then just wrap the turkey in a thick layer of plastic wrap + foil and pack it in ice.

If you're really against cooking the turkey at your mom's, then you'll want to carve it at home so that the meat will cool faster and you can cool it in smaller seperate batches which will release the heat faster. The main problem with this is that it will dry out. However, if you cook the turkey and leave it whole, it may not cool properly. Even if you do chill the turkey properly, you're still going to have to reheat the turkey all the way through which in effect will dry it out anyway.

If all possible try and do it at your mom's.
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:59 PM   #4
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Constance certainly has the most logical solution. And Ironchef brings up some very good points, too.

But, if you want to have the whole bird for presentation purposes ... brine it in the ice chest and take the whole thing to your Mom's house - then remove it from the brine and cook it there. Don't know what your brining instructions are ... but you could always throw in a bag of ice with the brine and turkey before you start your journey. If the instructions just say to brine "overnight" that could mean anywhere from 8-16 hours, so putting it into the brine right before bedtime and then driving to Mom's shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 11-16-2005, 08:03 PM   #5
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Iron Chef, I beg to differ with you.
The meat will not dry out if she puts some of the gravy, meat juices from the pan, or even a bit of water or chicken broth on top. And if the meat is juicy to start with, which is what happens with brined turkey, it won't take much to keep it that way. We reheat turkey all the time, and it's delicious.
I think her safest bet is to cook the turkey ahead of time.
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Old 11-16-2005, 08:24 PM   #6
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I was thinking the same as Michael in FW ... use a chilled brine in the ice chest. But if cooking before, bake stuffing outside in a caserole. Carve turkey and assemble on platters there and reheat. I has worked well for many.
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Old 11-16-2005, 08:35 PM   #7
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Actually, the recipe HB uses calls for putting the turkey and it's brine into an ice chest with a 7 lb. bag of ice, and setting out on the porch overnight. It would certainly be able to travel like that.
So it's really up to you, friend Jemo. How early do you want to get up?
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:44 PM   #8
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We ahven't roasted a turkey on Thanksgiving in years. The turkey gets roasted, carved, and placed in foil-lined pans with broth added and the foil crimped closed. Reheating is done in a slowly with the foil still crimped and the turkey is always moist.
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:53 PM   #9
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The suggestions are good ones. You are asking for trouble if to have the turkey between 40 F and 140 F for maybe 6 hours according to your description.
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Old 11-17-2005, 07:31 AM   #10
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It's all way to complacated, good luck.
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