The following methods for preparing and cooking
turkey have been around for years. They are extremely
unsafe and should NEVER be used under any circumstances.
Some home cooks have the mistaken idea that time can be saved by roasting a turkey only partially on the day before it is to be served and then placing it back into the refrigerator so that less roasting time will be required on the day the meal will be served. This is a dangerous practice, which encourages harmful bacteria to multiply at a very rapid rate, resulting in food poisoning. Once begun, the cooking process should be allowed to continue until the turkey is cooked completely. Use a meat thermometer to determine the safe internal temperature.
Overnight Slow Cooking
Cooking a whole turkey slowly overnight at a low temperature is very dangerous. Often, the turkey is cooked overnight for 12 to 14 hours at a temperature of about 200°F, which allows harmful bacteria to grow rapidly before the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature (which may never occur at such a low roasting temperature). Turkey should never be oven roasted at a temperature of less than 325°F.
Brown Paper Bag
This gimmick involves the placement of the turkey in a large, brown, paper shopping bag and cooking it for a long period at a low temperature. This is extremely unsafe because the low cooking temperature allows bacteria to multiply rapidly within the turkey. In addition, the paper bag is poor choice for use as a cooking vessel because the glue and ink that are used when the bag is manufactured may permeate the turkey when heated, creating a toxic situation.
Trash Bag or Mississippi Trash Bag
This odd method of preparing a whole turkey is extremely unsafe. The turkey is placed in a large plastic trash bag containing a marinade and is left at room temperature for several hours. A turkey should never be left at room temperature for such long periods because harmful bacteria may multiply rapidly as the interior of the turkey warms beyond 40ºF.
An item such as a trash bag, which is not designated as being safe to use with food, should never be used as a tool for food preparation even if the bag containing the food is refrigerated during the marinating period, (as is possible with this unsafe turkey preparation method). The bag may be manufactured with materials that are toxic; therefore, they are not suitable for contact with food.
Turducken is a recipe that consists of a boned turkey layer covering a boned duck layer covering a boned chicken layer (thus the name, tur-duck-en). Stuffing is placed between each layer and it is then rolled and tied. Some traditional recipes call for turducken to be slowly roasted for as long as 14 hours in a 190°F oven, but this is a dangerous practice. Poultry should never be cooked at low temperatures for long periods of time, especially when it contains stuffing. When cooked at a low temperature, too many hours are required for the meat and stuffing to reach a safe internal temperature (which may never occur), so harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly during this lengthy period.
The homemade version of turducken can be made safe by roasting it at a safe minimum temperature of 325°F (or higher). It is best to purchase a commercially prepared version of turducken (pictured) and carefully follow the package instructions, which makes it a safe and delicious dish.