Downright unsafe ways to cook your turkey – Part 1

Non-traditional methods may be unsafe but with a few changes they can be safe.

There are literally hundreds of ways to cook a turkey. Each year new recipes and techniques are created based on trendy regional ingredients and creative cooking methods. Some are good, some are bad and some are downright unsafe. Here are two “unique” methods that have become popular and how to make them safe.

Slow-cooking overnight method

This method is dangerous and involves cooking the turkey at 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit overnight for 12 to 13 hours. A low oven temperature means the turkey will take longer to heat, increasing the risk of harmful bacteria growth and the production of poisons that may not be destroyed with further cooking.

Make it safe The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends temperatures no lower than 325 degrees Fahrenheit for cooking meat and poultry. Cook turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.


There are two kinds of turduckens. One kind of turducken is a deboned stuffed chicken, inside a deboned stuffed duck, inside a deboned stuffed turkey. Usually the tip end of the turkey leg bones and the first two wing joints are left on the turkey so that after assembly, the finished product resembles a whole turkey. A turducken can also be a partially boned turkey layered with a boned duck, then with a boned chicken and spread with layers of stuffing between each bird. The entire mass is rolled, tied and roasted at 190 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 13 hours.

Make it safeUSDA hotline representatives recommend keeping the birds chilled until ready to assemble. While boning each bird, keep the others refrigerated. After all three birds have been boned and the stuffing has been prepared, assemble the turducken ingredients and quickly get it into a pre-heated 325 degrees Fahrenheit oven. Use a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the bundle and cook the turducken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the temperature in several locations.

Make sure your turkey or turducken is safe this year by following the safe methods recommended by Michigan State University Extension. Using safe methods including the use of a food thermometer is a step in the right direction in having a safe holiday meal.

For information on how to safely prepare your turkey in a paper bag read part two of this article.

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