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Help~ Will this poison my family?

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We are having a late thanksgiving, and due to some unfortunate circumstances the turkey did not get brined until late last night.In making the brine,I boiled the water with the salt and honey and let it sit out for about and hour before testing it, still very hot.I then put the brine solution in the fridge for another hour or so and it was still warm, after another 1/2 hour I realised I was cutting time way too close (already 11:00 pm and turkey needed to brine for 12 hours, family coming over today at 4:00) so I decided to go ahead and stick the turkey in the brine even though the brine was still warm to the touch, not hot, more like lukewarm. Today I took the turkey out of the brine and read the recipe and noticed that it states BRINE MUST BE ROOM TEMPERATURE/COOL before placing turkey in brine. Is this turkey safe to cook and serve?

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  1. it would make me really nervous...the cool bird and the warm brine likely created an environment that was perfect for bacterial growth. (over 40 degrees, and under 140.) some of those bacteria won't be killed in the roasting process.
    i know that's not what you want to hear right now...if i were you, i might run to trader joe's and grab a fresh, kosher turkey. it's not brined, but it's as close as you might be able to get on short notice. depending on how you feel about the family members who are coming, you might not want to risk making them sick...;->
    hope the meal works out!

    1. What temp was the turkey when you put it into the brine? I assume you put it all back in the fridge right away? If the bird was at refrigerator temperature, I'd be pretty confident it cooled the brine down enough for it not to be a serious problem. Whether you were going to or not, don't stuff the bird and don't truss it too tightly, as a probably unecessary precaution that won't have any real negative impact anyway.

      Next time, let it soak for less time. Temperature/sanitary issues are a hell of a lot more "written in stone" than a "12 hour" brining or marinating period.

      1. Thanks for the reply's Mike and Cherie.
        The turkey was in the fridge before I placed it in the brine, and I did place the brine/turkey back in the fridge to sit overnight. Again, like Cherie I am nervous as the brine was warm. I am sick at heart because this is a $45.00 Heidi Hen from Whole Foods, and obviously my first year brining. It is currently sitting on the counter returning to room temperature and I am still debating whether to go ahead and cook it or as Cherie reccommended just run to TJ's and get another one.

        2 Replies
        1. re: EAH

          You probably are going to be fine. Next time, dump a half to full gallon of ice cubes in with brine

          1. re: madsdadus

            Well, still nervous about this but the original bird is in the oven..

        2. salmonella is dead at142 degreesof just a few minutes. turkey is supposed to be cooked to 170 degrees. As long as it wasn't stuffed and if you cook it unstuffed to a sufficient temperature (170 all over) there is more chance that your guests will get killed on the highway than from youre turkey. I cook my turkey to 150 and it comes out very juicy and is very safe. Jus measure the temp in several places. Check the internet for salmonella time tables and the US poultry hotline

          1. Don't worry! As stated above, if the bird was cold from the fridge and then put back in the fridge overnight, it will have cooled down the brine sufficiently. Enjoy your meal!