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BS: Meat thermometer advice please

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gnu 04 Feb 12 - 02:32 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 12 - 02:46 PM
maeve 04 Feb 12 - 02:56 PM
gnu 04 Feb 12 - 02:57 PM
maeve 04 Feb 12 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Dani 04 Feb 12 - 03:13 PM
gnu 04 Feb 12 - 04:22 PM
kendall 04 Feb 12 - 04:57 PM
gnu 04 Feb 12 - 05:10 PM
JohnInKansas 04 Feb 12 - 05:26 PM
artbrooks 04 Feb 12 - 08:43 PM
GUEST,Dani 04 Feb 12 - 11:42 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Feb 12 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,PeterC 05 Feb 12 - 03:58 AM
gnu 05 Feb 12 - 08:44 AM
Penny S. 05 Feb 12 - 10:08 AM
michaelr 05 Feb 12 - 12:57 PM
gnu 05 Feb 12 - 01:59 PM
michaelr 05 Feb 12 - 02:03 PM
Penny S. 05 Feb 12 - 02:15 PM
gnu 05 Feb 12 - 05:04 PM
Bobert 05 Feb 12 - 05:12 PM
gnu 05 Feb 12 - 05:22 PM
gnu 05 Feb 12 - 05:29 PM
michaelr 05 Feb 12 - 09:30 PM
gnu 05 Feb 12 - 10:35 PM
Bobert 06 Feb 12 - 08:00 AM
kendall 06 Feb 12 - 08:18 PM
gnu 06 Feb 12 - 09:53 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Feb 12 - 11:34 PM

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Subject: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 02:32 PM

Questions first... what features should I look for? What is this "remote" thermometer with the lead? Does the lead sit between the door and oven?

I have never used one. I look at a roast or a turkey and say 375F for 2.45 hours and that turkey is perfect... always is. BUT, I am cooking a pre-stuffed (dressing as I know it) turkey to see how it turns out. I never have stuffed a turkey so I am gonna cook this one a half hour longer than usual and hope there is no problem with getting it fully cooked.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 02:46 PM

From the www


Don't stuff the turkey until you're ready to roast it. Loosely spoon stuffing into the neck and body cavity. Do not pack, because the stuffing will not reach a safe temperature by the time the bird is done. Tuck drumsticks under the band of skin that crosses the tail. If there isn't a band, secure the legs to the tail with string.

Most chefs recommend Dressing (stuffing that is cooked outside the Turkey) for a safer food experience plus it's easier to control the cooking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: maeve
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 02:56 PM

"pre-stuffed (dressing as I know it) turkey"

Sounds like the bird is already stuffed. It's true that some culinary experts suggest not stuffing poultry. Gnu, was there no cooking information with the bird?

Here's a good basic set of directions for various meat thermometers:

http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/egg/egg1197/meatherm.html#axzz1lRbYNhMo

Cook's Illustrated (my favorite source for cooking questions)
suggests lining the bird's cavity with cheesecloth, roasting the turkey, then removing the stuffing before roasting the turkey to the correct temperature. In part,

"...4. TO ROAST THE TURKEY: Combine remaining 2 teaspoons kosher salt and baking powder in small bowl. Remove turkey from refrigerator and unwrap. Thoroughly dry inside and out with paper towels. Using skewer, poke 15 to 20 holes in fat deposits on top of breast halves and thighs, 4 to 5 holes in each deposit. Sprinkle surface of turkey with salt-baking powder mixture and rub in mixture with hands, coating skin evenly. Tuck wings underneath turkey. Line turkey cavity with cheesecloth, pack with 4 to 5 cups stuffing, tie ends of cheesecloth together. Cover remaining stuffing with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Using twine, loosely tie turkey legs together. Place turkey breast-side down in V-rack set in roasting pan and drape salt pork slices over back.

5. Roast turkey breast-side down until thickest part of breast registers 130 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove roasting pan from oven (close oven door) and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Transfer turkey in V-rack to rimmed baking sheet. Remove and discard salt pork. Using clean potholders or kitchen towels, rotate turkey breast-side up. Cut twine binding legs and remove stuffing bag; empty into reserved stuffing in bowl. Pour drippings from roasting pan into fat separator and reserve for gravy, if making.

6. Once oven has come to temperature, return turkey in V-rack to roasting pan and roast until skin is golden brown and crisp, thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees, and thickest part of thigh registers 175 degrees, about 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest, uncovered, 30 minutes.

7. While turkey rests, reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Whisk eggs and remaining 1/2 cup broth together in small bowl. Pour egg mixture over stuffing and toss to combine, breaking up any large chunks; spread in buttered 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Bake until stuffing registers 165 degrees and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Carve turkey and serve with stuffing."http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=20850


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 02:57 PM

Yeah... that's the way I feel. Especially because I don't know how toghtly it was stuffed. But I bought one a couple of years ago and it was delicious and the soup was to die for. I did not eat the dressing. I will not do so today, either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: maeve
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 03:00 PM

Frankly, you can always cook the stuffing further once the bird is out of the oven and "resting". I roasted stuffed turkeys and chickens for years with no ill effects at all. I like both ways.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 03:13 PM

http://www.centralrestaurant.com/Dial-Thermometer-0-degrees-F-to-220-degrees-F-c177p1055.html

I use these all day. No need for an expensive fancy one. Cook's Illustrated gives good advice, but I've never seen the point of stuffing and then unstuffing a bird. I usually just fill it with onions, herbs, maybe a few lemon or orange pieces for the juice and flavor. Cook the dressing separately, and baste with the juices from the bird.

Time, and check when the meat starts to look done, in the thickest part of the meat but not JUST at the bone. If you take it out just before 165* and let it sit, it will hit 165*, which is the safe (but not over-cooked) temp for poultry.

Dani


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 04:22 PM

Yes, m. It came with instructions. it was a cook from frozen Butterball but I thawed it for three days in the fridge. Maybe it shouda been four days. Maybe I shoulda removed the dressing. Maybe I should treat myself to a fresh turkey on sale even at twice the price. Besides, my dressing is far better and I don't HAVE to jam it in tight.

But, I think I am gonna give a thermometer a try. Can't see how i could be a better cook with one but I am open to new fangled gadgets.

Dani... do ya stick that there riggin in before ya put the meat in the oven?


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: kendall
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 04:57 PM

I test the bird by twisting one of the legs. If it come loose easily, it's done.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 05:10 PM

Me too. But I wanna see if a thermometer can improve my accuarcy. Especially with types of roast beef I have never cooked before as the prices are scarey these days. Heck, I've tried a lot of things that cost more than ten bucks. >;-)

Maybe I am just bored.

BTW... I found some parts of this turkey not quite cooked and some parts over cooked. I'll never buy one of these again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 05:26 PM

A majority of whole turkeys sold under "major brands" in the US now have a "preinstalled thermometer" with a little "pop up" button that indicates when the turkey (near the button) reaches the recommended 185F (85C) temperature. This is generally a safe enough indicator, especially for an "unstuffed" bird. Stuffing may slightly affect the temperature distribution within the whole, so that you might also want to sample temperatures in a few places within the whole pan if there's any question.

The most convenient meat thermometers generally have a fairly small diameter metal tube extended from the indicator with a point on the end so that you can punch it into the meat. Closely similar thermometers with a blunt or "squared off" end are more suited for checking temperatures in a pot of liquid goo.

In use, the tip of the meat thermometer should be "in the meat." A fairly common error is pushing the thermometer in too far so that it's actually sensing the air inside the turkey cavity.

Although it's unusual to find a decent quality meat thermometer that's far out of calibrations, it is a good idea to do a spot check if there's any question. The "needle" is connected to the sensor, in a small space at the end of the tube, and nearly all such thermometers have a "nut" of some sort that allows you to turn the dial to line up the "what it should say" with where the needle points. For meat, sticking the end of the thermometer in some water (at a full boil) should provide a sufficiently accurate 100C/212F reference temperature for aligning the dial with the needle. (It may not be obvious that your meat thermometer is "adjustable," but nearly all of them actually are.)

While we often put some stuffing in (and around) the birds, our only purpose there is to absorb some of the grease that cooks out of the meat to keep the meat on the bottom from getting slimy, and we generally discard that stuffing and eat what we bake separately in a separate "cake" pan. There are also lots of recipes you can use to cook stuffing in a pot (e.g. the widely advertised "Stove Top Stuffing," although we prefer other recipes) that's much quicker and provides a simple method that gives consistent results. It's also easier to fix small batches of "stove top" recipes, so that you can have a couple of varieties instead of one-size-for-all if you like.

I've tried saving the old bread ends & such for stuffing, but "someone" in the house invariably gets into "get the place cleaned up for the party" mode and tosses them all the day before it's time to start cooking, so we usually end up with "fresh stuff" despite it's somewhat "commercial flavor."

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: artbrooks
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 08:43 PM

Herself had an "Oxo", which she loved. When it broke (a matter of cooking the lead on a burner), she replaced it with an "Oneida". The latter also works well, but she doesn't like it as well as the Oxo. Both have wands that stick in the meat, a long lead, and a digital display.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 04 Feb 12 - 11:42 PM

Gnu, definitely cook by temperature... and I'd always start with Cook's' guidelines, especially with beef, so you can get it exactly the way you want it.

You use the thermometer just before you think it's done, don't leave it in while it's cooking.

185* is an overcooked bird! I find them to be super-cautious with those 'implants'.

I don't like the digital ones... pain to replace batteries, too expensive to throw away. John's right: the dial-y ones are easily re-calibrated in ice water or boiling water if need be.

Dani


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 02:51 AM

It might also be worth mentioning that especially if you're cooking by the meat thermometer it's a very good idea to stick a simple oven thermometer in to check whether your stove thermostat is somewhere close to what you think you're setting the oven to.

Few ovens are really very close, and we've found our current one (inherited with the house) runs 25F to 45F lower than indicated by the built-in thermostat. In an excessively "slow" oven, your meat will come up to internal temperature a lot slower, and by the time the intended "peak" is reached the whole bird will have spent a rather long time soaking at near the maximum, which can affect both flavor and texture. In an overly hot oven, parts of the meat may hit your target while other parts are still pretty cool and perhaps even "unsafe" according to the health people, resulting in undercooking of some parts.

Unless you're "gadget obsessed," a decent enough oven thermometer shouldn't be more than $3 or $4, and will give you a better idea of how often you need to check the progress of your cooking to get things "just right."

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 03:58 AM

[quote]
I don't like the digital ones... pain to replace batteries, too expensive to throw away.
[/quote]

Christmas Day I found that mine had been put away switched on. Checked the bird the old fashioned way and it was fine. (Knife blade at base of leg and see if juices run clear)


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 08:44 AM

Thanks for the info. Found one for $5 but it's not adjustable... I'll keep looking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: Penny S.
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 10:08 AM

Heston Blumenthal recommended, with regard to chicken, NOT having the legs tied close to the body, so that the meat is better exposed to the heat. Not relevant to thermometers - but I wish I'd seen that point before cooking last year's turkey, which took ages to stop running pink.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: michaelr
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 12:57 PM

One thing to remember is not to remove the thermometer from the meat until it has rested for 15-20 minutes after cooking is done - otherwise a lot of the juices run out of the hole.

BTW, if your bird is supposed to be "cooked from frozen" and you instead thaw it in the fridge for days - especially if it's stuffed - you are asking for food poisoning. That's just not safe practice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 01:59 PM

michaelr... yeah, I agree. But, I didn't notice it was "pre-stuffed" until I took it out of the fridge. Never thought to look at the packaging when I took it out of my freezer and had forgotten that I had bought this type (on sale, early December). THAT is when I thought, "WHY have I never bought a meat thermomter?"

So, I slowly scraped exposed dressing that was steaming hot and JUST enough for a small bit for Mum and I. The rest is in the garbage with the carcass. I did the same with the meat. The breast was well cooked. The rest chopped up and frozen for soups only.

Mum and I are fine in case you wanna know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: michaelr
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 02:03 PM

Glad to hear it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: Penny S.
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 02:15 PM

You put the carcase in the garbage? Did you use it for stock for yur soup first?

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 05:04 PM

Penny S... Nope. I was worried about just what michaelr said I should be worried about in this particular case. Fact is, rendering the carcass would kill any and all bacteria BUT, if any bacteria WAS growing, their byproducts could cause severe intestinal discomfort... known hereaboutst as "The Shits". I wouldn't take that chance with me mum. Yes, it's a slight chance, but slight don't cut it with an 85 year old frail woman.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 05:12 PM

You need one of them that sticks right into the turkey and measures the inside temp.... 165 is what you want to hit with a turkey but here's a trick... Wrap the wings and legs in foil and let the breast cook at least an hour before removing the foil as they will cook faster and over cook if allowed to cook at the same time as the breast... Actually, it's okay to wrap cold cloth around the legs and wings and then cover in foil... When it hits 165, cut off the heat but allow it to sit in the over an extra 30 minutes... Then it's done...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 05:22 PM

My uncle (90) always cooked his turkey in a heavy brown paper bag. Anyone ever hear of that? He'd brown it and then put it in the bag... kinda steam cooked it. The bag was easily removed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 05:29 PM

What kinda dressing do youse make? I like dry bread, onions and summer savory. That's about all my forefathers had on hand and it's what I grew up with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: michaelr
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 09:30 PM

Bobert, are you sure you've got that right? My rule of thumb has always been that the breast will dry out before the legs/thighs are done, therefore it's the breast that needs to be protected for part of the cooking time.

Cooking things in paper is a time-honored traditional technique, called en papillote in French. Usually, parchment (wax) paper is used to enclose a fillet of fish along with some herbs and butter. The packet puffs up in the oven and delivers the most scrumptiously done fillet.

I have cooked a turkey in a paper bag, and was pleased with the result. The downside is that you don't get crispy skin, which is why I haven't done it again...


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 05 Feb 12 - 10:35 PM

I don't brown em. I cut the fat from both ends and drape it over the breast and put the roasting pan cover on from the get go. 375F. When I serve mine, the breast is tender and juicy and the skin that is full of cholesterol and calories gets fed to the birds and not the humans.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Feb 12 - 08:00 AM

Yer right, micheal.... I got it backwards...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: kendall
Date: 06 Feb 12 - 08:18 PM

The cooking temperature is very close to the flash point of paper.


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: gnu
Date: 06 Feb 12 - 09:53 PM

So, Kendall, I don't need a thermometer? When she lights up, she's done?


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Subject: RE: BS: Meat thermometer advice please
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Feb 12 - 11:34 PM

The cooking temperature is very close to the flash point of paper.

Fahrenehit 451 is a pretty hot piece of meat, isn't it?

John


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