Smoking a 15lb Turkey...

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by barneypoo69, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. On another forum I was suggesting to a member that was planning on smoking a 15lb turkey at temp of 225-250 degrees to be carefull with a large bird over 12lbs. I stated that the internal temp needs to be 140 degrees within 4 hrs for food safety. Another member called my post "hogwash". Here is the members post:

    "I call hogwash on your 12lb rule of thumb for turkey. First off in the event that there is any offending bacteria present on the turkey it would only be on the outside surface of the bird. The inside cavity would be considered 'outside' because heat and smoke will directly penetrate the entire cavity. Smoking actually imparts a layer of chemicals that are antibacterial ( m m ) and antioxidant in nature.

    Second, brining to some extent will kill some kinds of bacteria. This will be dependant on the amount of salt used in the solution.

    Third, since the bacteria can only be on the outside of the bird a 250 degree chamber will kill all bacteria plus the use of smoke during the cooking process will dry the surface in combination with the heat"

    I'm not sure how to respond without some facts/links. Is this member correct ?

    Thanks. by the way, the member is a real good friend of mine, lives in Atlanta & helped me alot with some ideas......
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would point him to the USDA link discussing tempeatures
  3. Do you have a link to  the temps/time etc ? Am I right about this suggestion and/or is the poster correct about his claims ? The forum is about audio & video (which I"m into also). the forum is also open to other areas-----great bunch of guys & we have GTG's all over the USA.
  4. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Have him add cure to his brine and it eliminates the controversy!
  5. Now I'm really getting confused. I'm learing also about this (just a 61 yr old grasshopper).....
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    If you use cure in the brine the 4 hour rule no longer applies.
  7. kielbasa kid

    kielbasa kid Smoke Blower

    We need Chef JimmyJ's opinion on this. He's THE MAN!!! 
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Barney...Your friend is right...Too a Point!....All That ASSUMES...Proper Handling at ALL times ( not sitting at room temp over 2 hours Total!)....Proper 33-38*F Refrigeration Storage during Brining.... Brines RETARD or ELIMINATE GROWTH...They don't Kill Enough bacteria to ignore Temps and Times.

    AND THE BIGGEST ASSUMPTION..."Bacteria can only be on the outside of the bird"...There are a few exceptions but Most Birds available at Megamarts...Have Been Enhanced with a Solution That Has Been...INJECTED!!!!  Injecting PUSHES the Surface Bacteria DEEP into the Meat....IF the Internal Temperature of this Meat does not get above 135*F in 4 hours Bacteria can get to unsafe levels...JJ
  9. kielbasa kid

    kielbasa kid Smoke Blower

    So what about the cure in the brine Jimmy?
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    As the Guru's above alluded to....Proper use of Cure in Brines at the well established recommended Concentrations and Contact Time allows for Smoking at a Variety of Times and Temperatures...So the above Time Temp argument would be Moot if Cure is used...JJ
  11. Thanks guys. Alot of info here. Learn something every time I'm here. Need to read more about this "curing" subject.
  12. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Check out Pop's brine/cure recipe. It's very easy to use.
  13. austinl

    austinl Smoking Fanatic

    Here is a link on the USDA's web site that discusses smoking meats.  No where in this article does it say anything about the internal temperature having to reach 140 within 4 hours.  The closest thing it comes to is the recommendation that you do not attempt to smoke a frozen piece of meat because it would take far too long to cook, which no one on here would ever do because that's just dumb and would render horrible food you wouldn't want to eat anyway.  This "140 within 4 hours" is a common misapplication of a guideline that was meant for storing foods, not cooking them.  Read the article yourselves and please let me know if anyone finds any credible information that says otherwise because I have spent hours reading through stuff like this since I started q-ing and have not been able to find any references to it outside of web forums and personal opinions.
  14. mike davis

    mike davis Newbie

    poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees internal. Turkey is great on a cooker.[​IMG]
  15. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Let me see if I'm understanding you correctly. Are you saying that the USDA does not have a rule 40-140 within 4 hours? I will await your answer before further response.
  16. slownlow

    slownlow Smoking Fanatic

    I let the experts explain, but I found this

    The #1 situation that causes Food borne illness (FBI) is improper cooling of hot food masses. Food 

    should served immediately after cooking. Otherwise, the hot mass must either be cooled to < or = 40° 

    F or kept hot > or = 140° F within 4 hours total time. 40-140° F is known as the temperature danger 

    zone (TDZ). Most pathogens grow best at about 100° F; perfringens grows best at 110-120° F. 

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  17. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sprky, sorry this took so long but here is your answer...A Guideline like 40-140 in 4...aka the Rule (less letters than Guideline) is, Easy to remember, Provides a margin of Error, Has been gleaned from information provided by Multiple sources, including but not limited to, Professional Food service organizations, The American Culinary Federation, The ServSafe program, the USDA and Food Service Professionals with Years of Experience... Is, " 40 to 140*F in 4 " written down in any Government Food Service Law Manual, or Word for Word on any fore mentioned Website or Charter?...NO...But it Has been adopted by This Site and others to protect it's members!...Here is some aditional info on the subject...JJ
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012

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