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Jan 3, 2012 05:44 PM

Roasted turkey/chicken help

I have roasted a turkey and a chicken within the last couple of months and both came out perfect. I roasted until internal temp of the breast was 160-165*.

In years past, I used to worry about seeing a little red blood/juice in the cavity or near the legs or thigh and would keep roasting until this disappeared since I assumed the bird was not at a safe temp. This would obviously produce dry breast meat.

Is this something to worry about? Is there any way to avoid the red blood/ juice in the cavity as it is kinda gross.

I actually prefer roasting just a bone in breast for both a turkey and chicken as it is easier to deal with and just as tasty as a whole bird. Plus we really don't eat the dark meat so it is sort of a waste. Although, it does look cool to take a whole bird out of the oven :0)


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  1. * Spatchcock the poultry

    * Remove the legs and thighs, split or remove the breast bone.

    * Cook vertically with a can, cake pan or vertical roaster (cooking from the inside with heat

    * Crack the joints before cooking

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      four, you are brilliant, love the simplicity of what you just said here ^^^

    2. Jacques Pepin, who I revere above all other chefs, addressed this problem on the show in which he did a simple roast chicken. He recommends using your knife to make a one inch slit in the skin at the joints where the thighs and wings meet the body. This allows more direct heat to get to the joint area and prevents the bloodiness.

      In most cases, even if you don't enjoy eating the dark meat, it is cheaper to buy a whole bird than a breast. Butcher it yourself - it's not hard and doesn't have to look perfect. Then use the legs, back, and wings to make stock.

      1. James Beard advised (in Beard on Birds, 1989) turning a roasting turkey three times, so it would cook evenly. He wrote that doneness can be judged by the looseness of a leg ("ssomewhat flexible" but not "really loose"). Also that the juices from the leg joint should "run clear or faintly pink." He also advised cooking breasts separately, when a whole bird isn't needed.

        I would not minimize the importance of cooking poultry sufficiently, myself. Poultry can contain campylobacter jejuni, which not only causes food poisoning, but which can (rarely) trigger Guillain-Barré Syndrome in some people. This is not something you want to get.

        1. Or you could roast for most of the cooking time breast down. With gravitational flow, all the juices are 'basting' the breast. And flip it up for the last 20/30 mins to get some color on the breast.

          6 Replies
          1. re: pdxgastro

            Even easier, in the gravity department, is to use an angel food pan (or just the tube part if yours is a two-piece pan). Jam the chicken onto the tube NECK side down and roast vertically. Air circulation allows for browning all the way around, and the leg juices baste the breast. If using a one-piece pan, cover the tube opening with the metal lid of a small jar, or aluminum foil.

            1. re: pdxgastro

              Brilliant, Grey. Cuz those vertical roaster always had the neck side up, which is no help to the poor breast.

              Did you ever see a metal tube that ATK tested? You use it inside a turkey. It was meant to be able to cook the stuffing safely because the heat was conducted into the cavity.

              1. re: pdxgastro

                +1. I always start my chickens "upside own" in the roasting pan, then flip them over for the ladt 0 min to brown the skin on the breast side. I started doing this because the meat on the back wasn't done when the breast was. Btw, I use this method even when I stuff the bird.

                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                  Wow. The last zero minutes. That's short.

                  You might want to go back and edit while the window is still open.

                  1. re: acgold7

                    Oh my gosh, isn't that horrible? I hate typing on my Ipad, it drops keys all the time, grrr.

                    Correction: Upside down. And last 30 minutes.

                    Thanks ac! I'm too old for technology!

                2. re: pdxgastro

                  Generally, you are supposed to temp the thigh, not the breast when roasting a while chicken....which means that perhaps the thighs are not cooked to a safe temp since they take longer to cook. I have, like pdx, turned my bird upside down for a half hour or so at the beginning of cooking before and it does work, but I like to stick my chicken in the oven and leave it alone (call me lazy). I generally make an herb or garlic butter and slide it underneath the skin of the chicken breast. Not only does it add great flavor, but the breast meat has always come out wonderfully moist.

                3. I copied the below as a note to myself, but unfortunately, I didn't write down the reference and can't recall where I read it. But I've noticed that the joint area is often pink even when the chicken is cooked to the correct temperature, and this explanation made sense to me.

                  "But of those, only temperature is the real indicator of a fully-cooked chicken. The USDA says that as long as all parts of the chicken have reached a minimum internal temperature of 165°, it is safe to eat. Color does not indicate doneness.
                  The USDA further explains that even fully cooked poultry can sometimes show a pinkish tinge in the meat and juices. This is particularly true of young chickens whose bones and skin are still very permeable. Pigment in the bone marrow can color the surrounding tissue and make the bones themselves look very dark. Hemoglobin in the muscles can likewise react with air during cooking to give the meat a pinkish color even after cooking. The chicken's feed and whether it's been frozen can also affect the final color.
                  Even knowing this, it's startling to cut into a chicken and see pink. Reprogramming the automatic association between pink chicken and under-cooked chicken is going to take some work"