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dangerous turkey

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I was just reading through Martha Stewart's "Thanksgiving Made Easy" suggestions. She says to take out the turkey and let it sit at room temp 90 mins to 2 hrs before stuffing and putting it in the oven. Seems like a long time to me to let the bird just sit there. How long before it's dangerous? I always take the turkey from the fridge, prepare it and stuff it, then put it in the oven. It's still cold at that point. Is that wrong? My turkeys have been moist, tender and delicious.

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  1. Nope, not dangerous -- you want the bird to come to room temp (or, at least not cold fridge temp) before roasting, especially if you're going to stuff it. A big turkey stays cold for a pretty long time, so it would be a while before you were in the danger zone.

    1. It's only dangerous if you're going to eat it raw. (Or, seriously, if there's the danger of children coming in contact with it.)

      Leaving it out over 2 hours is the maximum recommended limit. So 90 minutes is fine. I do agree that you should let it 'warm up' at least an hour. It'll cut down on your cooking time.

      1. I would go as far as to say that it's wrong not to let it come to rom temp. But then again, I cook my turkey for only about 2 hours at a high temp. I bet you'll be amazed at how much chill is still on the bird after 2 hours. That all depends on the size of the bird of course. The bigger it is, the longer it'll take to come to room temp. There are way too many "grandmother/government" rules that people still adhere to. By allowing the bird to come to room temp (this not only applies to turkey but to all meaty things from eggs to steak to pork, etc.) you'll have a more evenly cooked bird. Ever been to a diner (or France) where the eggs are in a basket out on the counter?

        1. She is trying to speed up the roasting process and it should be fine. A lot of roast beef recipes want you to bring the roast to room temp before putting it in the oven too. Just don't stuff the turkey until it is ready to go into the oven.

          I don't stuff the bird. I make dressing and bake it. The bird cooks more quickly and evenly and you don't have to worry about the bird getting over done while waiting for the stuffing to reach the correct temperature.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Candy

            I don't stuff either. In the event you feel like you HAVE to stuff the turkey because you like the flavor or something similar, try only stuffing the neck cavity. It will allow the larger, body cavity to still have access to the oven temps.

          2. Thank you for the advice. I place only a small amount of stuffing inside (for my dad) and bake the rest. This year...he comes out of the fridge early and hangs around with us for a while. LOL