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Nov 28, 2013 03:51 AM


So, everything was perfectly planned with a 24 lb. fresh, free range turkey to be served to my guests here at home. Suddenly…OPPS...change of plans…I already have my turkey in the oven & we now have to drive to guests home 3 hours away!!!!!!!!! I am more comfortable with cooking it here first, instead of 1/2 way through, but what is the safest way to transport it after it is thoroughly cooked??

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  1. You should not take a partially cooked turkey out of the oven for 3 hours - that will be way passed the danger zone. Has it started to cook yet? Once it has you really should cook it through - the danger zone is between 41 and 140 so if your meat is there I would not chance it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wincountrygirl

      As I said, I definitely am cooking it through, My question is…How do I transport a fully cooked turkey that I just take out of the oven, for a 3 hr car ride??

      1. re: chincia

        Wrap it in foil and then in a beach towel before you put it in the cooler.

        1. re: magiesmom

          Agreed! Make that several layers of heavy duty foil to keep the heat in. The beach towel will help with both heat and any juice that manages to escape the foil wrapping. The cooler will do wonders to keep the bird warm. DO NOT carve before you get there. That will just allow the heat to escape as well as dry out the meat.
          Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Try looking on the bright side - at least with the cooler you'll have something to transport all those leftovers home without making a mess of your car. Make sure to take along some zip loc bags or Rubbermaid containers for the sides (I'm assuming that those are being prepared by others)! You'll also still have the carcass for stock, too, even if the sit down meal is at someone else's house.

    2. Put the turkey in a cooler. It will stay hot and then you can reheat or finish cooking it later. The more hot things in the cooler the better! Potatoes, stock etc....

      9 Replies
      1. re: roux42

        Thanks for the replies!…do you think I should carve first or when I get there?

        1. re: chincia

          When you get there so it doesn't dry out and cool down

          1. re: TeRReT

            ya, i guess that makes sense!! TY & enjoy the holiday :O)

            1. re: chincia

              Don't sweat it. This isn't really a big ordeal. It should work out just fine if you follow the instructions above.



          2. re: chincia

            I'd carve it first for sure.
            I'd be asking for a pretty GD good explanation why the entire occasion had to be so radically changed! And I mean a SOLID reason. If it was b/c one person 'had to work late' or some BS like that I'd be sending the turkey along with whoever was dumb enough to put up with the mess.

            1. re: Puffin3

              Completely disagree with everything.

              DON'T carve. It will dry out. Leave intact and juices will reabsorb into bird.

              Secondly, let it go. Roll with the punches is sometimes the best way to proceed. Lest you end up throwing punches. Today is not the day for it.


              1. re: Davwud

                Agree. Do not carve first, and it will actually be for the better. If there's any carry-over roasting, it can happen in the cooler, and the bird will relax and be perfect for carving later.

                Ditto with "roll with the punches." We've had some major crisis/medical emergencies happening over the last two holidays and had to adapt, adapt and adapt. Even had to move everything to Friday last year. Didn't matter - we had family and friends around and that is what's important.

                Wine helps too. ;-)

                Have a fabulous turkey-day!

                1. re: Davwud

                  Yeah, there's no way I'd carve it and let it sit. Your advice about rolling with the punches is spot on. I've worked 7 out of the last 10 Thanksgivings and I'm thankful my family doesn't get all bent out of shape about it!

                2. re: Puffin3

                  I think that one can assume it was important

            2. How did you decide to handle it, Chincia?

              1 Reply
              1. re: gfr1111

                Okay…so, I am finally partially recovered from yesterday & my home kitchen pots, pans, etc. now clean, & my unused perfectly set dining table items packed & put away!
                I ended up fully cooking the bird, wrapping it in tin foil (tho, my husband thought the foil would pull heat off the bird), & packing it in a large cooler. I searched the house & shed for ways to carry the gravy (delish!), mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, mom's cranberry relish, green bean casserole, carrots, brussel sprouts, chestnut stuffing, numerous hors d'vors , apple cider, egg nog, 2 pies, cookies, & all of our Hanukkah presents (crazy that we had BOTH holidays on the same day!!!) Oh yes, & WINE….packed it all in the car along with my husband & 3 y/o son! Drove 3 hours in traffic from CT to NYC. Our host was waiting with pots/pans/ oven & stove to re-heat everything. That was the challenge. Long story
                The Bird & all fixings were Delicious!! AND, I received all sorts of kudos for pulling it off :O))
                Thank you ALL for the feedback, everyone was very helpful. I tried not to sweat it..didn't focus on blaming anyone for the change of plans… It wasn't as fancy & certainly not as organized as it would have otherwise been, but we all enjoyed the day & it will surely be a holiday that everyone remembers.
                I hope all of you enjoyed YOUR day & THANK YOU again for the ideas & support!!