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Don't reheat turkey cooked in advance

November 20, 2002

Dear SOS: We are going to smoke a turkey the day before Thanksgiving. When should we slice it? We're also going to barbecue another turkey and transport it by car. How would you wrap it?

Pepper Patterson



Dear Pepper: Why not slice it once it's smoked? You'll save yourself the trouble on Thanksgiving Day. Just be sure to wrap the meat well or cover it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving.

You could also cut the turkey into parts, place them on plates, wrap them well, and refrigerate them. Slice before serving. Again, you'll want the meat to come to room temperature; if you reheat it, it will lose moisture and become dry.

As for the turkey you're transporting, Thanksgiving Day can sometimes be warm, so for food safety reasons your bird probably shouldn't travel more than 30 minutes or so. Ideally the turkey should go from the barbecue (or oven) into a foil roasting pan, then be covered loosely with foil, then clean kitchen towels, and newspaper over that. Place the whole thing in a cardboard box. Setting it in a foam container or ice chest (without ice) is another option to keep it warm.

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