Real-time turkey: Carl Custer version

Food safety sage Carl Custer (left, exactly as shown) shares his version of turkey time today from Bethesda, Maryland:

My nephew comes over with three gallons of peanut oil and a brined turkey to use my tamale steamer/turkey fryer. Instructions say 350°F oil for 52 minutes. At 35 minutes I pull it out and check deep thigh temperature with a Comark PDT 300.

It’s 175°F. ¡Ay carumba! Into the kitchen and double check deep breast temperature: 145! Male puppy! Back to the fryer for another 10 minutes.

Deep breast temperature in several places is now >170°F.

Earlier, a brine injected turkey goes into the grill/smoker at 7:00 a.m. Yawn.

It’s cold and drizzly so difficult to keep air temperature >200°F even with tarp and wind shields. Pull turkey at noon; it’s 150°F. Put into a 350°F oven with an 8 cm "L-shaped" probe. I wrap the probe with a wet paper towel so it doesn’t act as a "potato nail" and give a false high reading. An hour later it’s 160°F and coasting up to 168°F.

Mmmm mmmm good and safe.

Time may be on your side but temperature is better.

Carl also notes the raw birds were handled with latex gloves, and sinks were washed with detergent & paper towels, followed by 70% ethanol.

Texas Aggie food microbiologist, Carl Custer, sojourning in Merryland for past 38 years, smokes turkey (and other animal parts) following scientific principles.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time