Is it safe to buy a frozen turkey for thanksgiving from a store, then dethaw overnight, then cold smoke in my smokehouse for 2-4 hours at around 60 degrees and finally bake in oven. I’m not cooking it in the smokehouse, just smoking for long enough to get that Smokey flavor and then cook in oven. In theory it should be fine, regardless of being exposed to conditions for bacteria because it’s being cooked after, correct?
Lincoln County Oregon
You are right that you are cooking it so there shouldn't be a safety issue if you reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. at the end. That said however having it in a cold smoke for up to 4 hours in the danger zone will increase the bacteria load so there is more possibility of cross contamination. I would suggest you brine you turkey first in a salt brine before smoking and if you can increase the temperature in the smoker to 140 degrees F. it would be safer. The salt will inhibit the rapid growth of the bacteria during the smoking process.
Thanks for using Ask an Expert