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Oct 19, 2006 11:22 PM

Slow & low turkey for Thanksgiving - any recipes?

I've heard that you can roast a whole turkey at a very low heat (aorund 200-250) for 8-10 hours so that the meat is literally falling off the bones. But I cannot seem to find a recipe. Does anyone have one, and can I still stuff the turkey prior to baking?


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  1. Oh no!!! Not for turkey. Beef, yes. Turkey, never. And if it's stuffed, you're asking for a law suit. Please consult a cookbook for cooking times, with or w/out stuffing. This is not something you want to just take a shot at.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bryan

      Slow roasting is perfectly safe, provided you monitor internal temperature and reach the recommended 165 F internal temperature for both bird and stuffing.

      The link below refers to a study that shows the results of laboratory tests on common contaminants found in poultry:

      1. re: bryan

        THE LOW & SLOW is the only way to go!! As most pro's know, Low and slow is the only way to roast anything, especially Birds. Its safe and smart, just takes far too much time for most in a rush. Most test kicthens and restaurnts all cook turkey's slow and low. So why shouldn't you.

        Cook your brine and buttered Turkey on a rack over a bed of onions, carrots and celery and white wine at 250 to 275 for 20 min LB. or until the dark meat reaches 157. Then take out of oven to rest for 15 to 20 until the temp drops below 151. Then get the oven back up to 500 for 5 min. Put turkey back in for 15 to 25 or until golden brown. Rest covered until back down to 144 before cutting.

        Never ever put stuffing in any bird!! EVER!!

        Enjoy your juice and safe turkey

        1. re: AMG PHD

          Noting that this is a 2006 post, I will mention that I made a 10# breast (would have been what, an 18# bird?) with bread stuffing, ALWAYS stuff a bird - it's the best part! This year I used the old Adelle Davis method of cooking the bird at the temp at which you want it to finish. The stuffing was room temp when it went into the cool breast. The breast went upside down into a covered pan in the oven, which was preheated to just under 175, the lowest mark on the dial. I put it in at midnight and when I got up at 7:30 the meat read 170, so out it came while I preheated the oven to 450. I turned it right side up and returned it to the now-hot oven for 15 min to brown and crisp the still-pale skin. That did not color the skin on the sides as well as the top, so I left the bird in the turned-off oven another 45 min or so, by which time the skin was evenly deep brown. The breast (which came injected) was exceptionally tender and juicy. No, repeat NO, ill effects even after the next day's meal of turkey and stuffing, which sat for 3+ hours at room temp before refrigeration. For the first hour, the stuffing was still in the bird.

          The beauty of this method is that the meat CANNOT overcook. If need be, it can stay in the low oven for hours after it reaches temp. Indeed, I have no idea how long it took for mine to get to 170. If I'd gotten to it at 160, I'd have pulled it them. The kitchen aroma doesn't become enticing until you do the high-heat browning at the end, and you have to reduce the pan juices before making gravy, but those are minor negatives.

      2. Bryan is right - I know people do it and get away with it, just like they leave the remainder of the bird out on the counter after dinner so people can snack on it at night (are you listening, Ma?) but if there is any bad bug lurking in that bird you are giving it just the warm, moist environment it loves for development. The stuffing makes it worse.

        There are a lot of methods for cooking an excellent turkey, and if you just brine the bird, butter it and roast it at 350 you'll come out with something quite nice. If you're not interested in the appearance of the skin you can roast it breast side down wrapped in foil and overcook it (the thigh meat registering about 190 on a meat thermometer) and you will get that falling-off-the-bone consistency, but I find meat cooked like that to be very dry and tasteless. This is not the place to save time or trouble in the prep for the Thanksgiving feast. Take the trouble with the turkey and then serve side dishes that are easy and fast...

        1. 200-250 is too low. 275 is more like it.

          But at that temp, stuffing the bird is too risky. If you want the stuffing to be like stuffing with less risk, you'd probably have to cut the bird in halves and place them over the stuffing in the bottom of a large roaster pan.

          1. The only way I have heard to do this is in a smoker - I have done it and it came out great - but I kept the smoking temparature a little higher - 275

            The bird was not stuffed -

            1 Reply
            1. re: weinstein5

              I mean this in the kindest possible way. Bugs die at 165F you do not get extra credit for holding it above 165F for hours. Professionals cook low and slow because it delivers a better products and more of it. Consider sou vide. Can't get over 212F unless you raise the pressure above sea level or below.

            2. I would strongly suggest you don't cook it at that low oven temperature. 1. Safety. 2. The most common error made is overcooking turkey(the #hrs mentioned).
              But my main concern is for food safety; I'd want to avoid making my family sick. There's a resons you're not finding recipes that call for that kind of low heat cooking.
              My way is high heat to start (about 1hr)then lower heat (325) & cover to continue.
              I've checked out several turkey sites. Recommendations are that the lowest oven temp. should be 325.
              Check this out under safety tips: