Real time turkey; bugs everywhere: the cross-contamination nightmare of prepping a turkey

Five days after purchasing a 15-pound frozen turkey for $0.68/pound, it’s time to prep the bird for our 4 p.m ish Thanksgiving dinner in Manhattan (Kansas, so Central time)..

Using a combination of countertop and the front porch to thaw the bird in a covered roasting pan, the frozen turkey has a surface temperature of 47F and an interior temperature of 39F (I’ve been letting it sit on the counter to warm up in preparation for cooking).

There was at least an inch of melted turkey juice and water at the bottom of the roasting pan. Whoever said place a frozen bird on a plate in the refrigerator to thaw has never done it. There would be salmonella-and-campylobacter-laden liquid everywhere, most likely on the fresh produce in the crisper drawer.

As I picked up the bird to begin removing the packing, there was a splash, and a few tablespoons of liquid splattered on the floor. Oops. Then there was a package of gravy mix in the cavity, covered in all sorts of bacteria. Got that into its own container, and the neck into the stock pot. Got me and the surrounding area cleaned up.

The bird is continuing to warm up at room temperature for another hour and then into the oven. The chestnut stuffing has to cool a bit.

Next, more cross contamination follies as the bird gets stuffed.