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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 04-03-2010, 11:43 PM   #1
Learnin Querve
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Default Turkey Brine Temp Problem.

Put a 12# turkey into the brine around 1:00 pm this afternoon. Brine was very cold and had plenty of ice floating in it. Put a bag into my trusty 3 gallon Igloo beverage cooler, put the turkey in and poured the brine over to completely cover the bird. Pressed the air out, tied the bag, and put the lid on.

Went to do errands and the day just progressively went downhill. Got home 3 hours later than expected, grilled some chops for dinner, and went to check on the turkey...

Cracked open the cooler and brine temp was 55 F at 5" depth. Stuck the breast in about 4 places with my thermo and got readings of 45 degrees. I've added ice and now it's sitting outside. Temps are expected to be in the low 40's tonight. I am/was planning on putting it on the drum around 8:00 AM.

You know where this is going...Do you pitch it or cook it? I'm expecting 8 people for dinner early tomorrow evening.

Thanks,

Chris
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Unread 04-04-2010, 12:01 AM   #2
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Well, the safe thing to do IMO is pitch it and start over, (possibly with an unbrined bird) for a few reasons (I'm honestly not trying to be a smarta$$, just offering my opinion in the spirit of helping a brother out):

1. you have guests coming over. If you were cooking for yourself alone, and took a chance, and got sick, you would have only yourself to blame. Chalk it up to experience and you would move on. Not fair/right to take that chance with other folks' health.

2. Although e.coli 0157 is mostly associated with tainted undercooked ground beef, I think it may possibly affect turkeys too. Adults get sick form this bug, but kids run a higher risk of getting something very bad - hemolytic uremic syndrome.

3. If your guests get sick, your reputation will be tarnished for a loooong time.


Having said all this, you probably run a lowish risk of ending up with tainted meat, given the temps you reported. Bacteria generally do not flourish at those temps. However, If you poked the breast in a couple of places you may have inoculated the inside of it with warmer brined which was until then outside of it.

If I were in your position, I would get a new bird and go from there. Maybe other brethren will share their experiences.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 12:21 AM   #3
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I got this off the tvwbb.com...


Since brining does not preserve meat, the turkey and the brine solution must be kept below 40°F throughout the entire brining process.

Here is another link for brine info.

http://www.shaboomskitchen.com/basics/brine.html

Here is something else I just found.....Bacteria start to multiply rapidly after two hours especially between the temperatures of 40°-140°F (referred to as the Danger Zone).

I guess at the temp your meat was at you should be ok. I honestly have never checked the temp of my brine or the bird while doing so. I usually put mine in a big pot in the fridge and let it go. Maybe someone with a bit more knowledge will chime in. Vince
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Unread 04-04-2010, 04:42 AM   #4
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I also throw mine in a pot covered and in the fridge so I personally have never run into this.

I agree with caliking, you'd be better off going with a new bird to stay on the safe side. I personally wouldn't even risk it for myself, I'm not one who enjoys being ill, especially from my own cooking.

Good luck... Happy Easter.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 07:05 AM   #5
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When we had restaurant, we had signs posted in the Kitchen, Large signs, that read "WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!", especially poultry..........
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Unread 04-04-2010, 07:41 AM   #6
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This is why I don't like to brine!! Get yourself another bird and inject it with a good quality chicken stock. If you don't make your own, you should.

It will come out very moist with a great skin texture. Oh yeah, during the smoke I use a spray bottle and squirt some stock all over the bird. Good luck!
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Unread 04-04-2010, 07:45 AM   #7
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I brine in the fridge with a 12 qt tupperware from RD.
If the bird was 45, it was just touching the danger zone. But for a few bucks why take the chance right.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 08:23 AM   #8
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Chris,
What did you decide?
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Unread 04-04-2010, 08:35 AM   #9
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Thanks for the comments.

I pretty much knew the answer when I posted the thread, I was mainly looking to see if anyone had had a similar experience.

What has me stumped is that I have brined in this cooler many times successfully. Even at higher ambient temperatures, it has always held whatever I had in it close to 35F for at least 12 hours.

Anyway, it's no great loss. My sis-in-law got the turkey from her employer at Christmas and in turn gave it to me. It was taking up room in my freezer and I decided that today would be a good day to unload it. I've got more in the brine and aromatics for the cavity than I do the bird. If I never ate turkey again, I'd never miss it. I'd rather have a PBJ sandwich...

Now I have to scramble to come up with a plan B. I'm headed to Hy-Vee to get screwed...

Thanks all,

Chris
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Unread 04-04-2010, 10:23 AM   #10
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Well after posting last night I got to thinking. I currently have a 10lb fresh BB in the fridge in a brine solution. I figured what a better time to do a quick little experiment. I took my maverick and my Weber wireless thermometers to check the brine solution, turkey temp and also the fridge temp. I figured with three probes I could get a good reference. None of which read 40* or below. I guess from doing this that my fridge should be adjusted down a bit. However I have not adjusted my fridge in god knows how long. We have never had a therm in there and basically adjusted the fridge to keep things from freezing. I personally have never had food poisoning so I guess the reference of 45* above is a good one.

Here are a few pictures I took.

45 on the maverick with the probe in the brine.

44 on the Weber therm in the brine.

43 in the Brest.

42 in the fridge.


In closing I would like to see more info about this topic and thank you for posting this thread. I think others should do the same test on some of their stuff to see where there foods and coolers are at. BTW I will be eating this bird and I am pretty confident that it will be just fine. Vince
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Unread 04-04-2010, 05:23 PM   #11
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Chris- We moved from North Liberty last August... Hy-Vee aint so bad. Not nearly as good as Fareway's meet counter though

If you're committed enough, we used to pick up fresh chickens (and turkeys at Thanksgiving) form an Amish farmer in Kalona. One or two trips a year to stock up on the chickens and you'll be set. They tasted much better than the store chicken. Well worth the 2.5hr drive in my book.

Checking the temps on the refrigerator is not a bad idea, but I would probably do it with a thermometer/probe made for checking refrigerator temps. Possibly more accurate? I love my Mavericks, but they do have convulsions every now and then.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 11:06 PM   #12
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I buy almost all of my meats from Fareway, but as you know, they're closed on Sunday. Hy-Vee prices are just hard to take, unless it's on sale, then Fareway matches the price.

I have bought chickens from some of the farmers over near Kalona, as well as from some farmers down around Bloomfield, and they're the best. My grandparents raised chickens, and the Amish raise them so they taste like chicken is supposed to.

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