General Question

Silence04's avatar

Car trip with turkey?

Asked by Silence04 (2510 points ) November 20th, 2012 from iPhone

This year we are driving about 8 hours before thanksgiving and have to bring the turkey with us.

In the past, I’ve gotten the turkey frozen and put it in a sealed bucket of cold water for the car ride, so it’s almost almost thawed by the time we arrive at our destination.

This year I was given a pre-thawed turkey. It seems i would need over 20lbs of ice and a really good cooler large enough to hold everything (which I currently don’t have, nor have the trunk space for) for the cooler to stay under 40degF.

I’m very concerned about food safty here, and don’t want to risk getting anyone sick. Is there another way to keep the turkey preserved for an 8 hour trip, or should I give this pre-thawed turkey to someone local and buy a frozen turkey to be safe?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I would do the latter. Perhaps see if you can trade it to someone for their frozen one.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Same idea as marinelife. The only other way might be to buy one of those big cheap styrofoam coolers and put the turkey in it with the ice for a one time use if you can find the space in the car.

wundayatta's avatar

If you keep it on ice, you should have no problem. It’s the same as refrigerating it, and we safely refrigerate turkeys for days before cooking. Also, since I assume you plan to cook the thing, that will kill any bacteria that might be there, if you cook it—not even to the official “safe” temps. Those temps overcook the turkey and aren’t really necessary to make it safe.

I think you are worrying overly much. There is an epidemic of food fear in this country, and things aren’t that desperate.

Also, you want to avoid frozen turkeys if you can. They don’t taste as good. Although, if you overcook the turkey, it doesn’t matter whether it was frozen or fresh. Those you might as well throw away. There is nothing quite as inedible as tough, overcooked turkey.

I used to have a friend who would throw a solstice party for which he’d always cook a turkey, and since I usually arrived early (having young children and a second party to go to that day), and I knew how to do it, it was my job to carve the turkey. That was difficult, since the turkey had been cooked so tough, it fell off the bones. There was nothing to carve, really. Very sad.

A turkey that is just cooked enough is nice and tender and carves very easily and smoothly. The joints may still be a little tight, but that’s ok. It tastes incredible, and I don’t care if it’s been brined or anything else, or just roasted plain. Cook it right, and it is divine.

Celtic_One's avatar

If you have the thawed turkey in an ice chest so it stays cold it should be fine. Also we are talking about a raw turkey that still needs to be cooked so in the rare case that bacteria gets on the turkey in the ice chest it will almost certainly be killed in the oven, so as long as the turkey is fully cooked you should not have anything to worry about.

gailcalled's avatar

And remember, you will have to stop and replenish the ice several times during the 8 hours. Even in a cooler, the ice will melt.

wundayatta's avatar

I often drive eight hours with food in an ice chest. I stock it up with ice at the beginning of trip, and I’ve never had to stock up during the trip. I’ve still got frozen ice at the end of the eight hours. I’d be surprised if you had to stock up on ice with a turkey filling most of a cooler. But you can always check, and if the ice looks like it’s melting, get more.

whitenoise's avatar

Just make sure it’s dry and don’t worry to much about 8 hours. Cook it and eat it. And be thankful. :-)

glacial's avatar

This question has the makings of a hilarious holiday road movie.

It had to be said, though it will probably also have to be modded.

Silence04's avatar

I decided to get a frozen turkey, thanks all. I thought about getting dry ice to save on room, but i can’t go pick it up in time. I’m dealing with 20lbs of bird and wouldn’t have even be able to fit a 5lb bag of ice with it in the cooler i currently have.

@wundayatta @Celtic_One FYI, it’s not just the bacteria that makes you sick, its the toxins they produce.

@glacial haha, it would!!!

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