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Temp Question

Ok after reading many of the posts for chicken and turkey the breast temp should read 160 and the thigh should read 180. Are these temps the eating temps or the removal temps? Once you remove the bird from the egg, cover in foil and let rest are the temps supposed to change? If so what should they be before consumption? I ask as I recently cooked a turkey breast, removed at 160 degrees, covered for about 10 min. The juices ran clear but part of the breast was still pink. I assumed that was from the apple wood smoke I used. The deep internal breast was more than done. I just want to verify the final temp before eating to make sure I was in the ball park. Any help would be appreciated.
Palm City, FL


  • on a chicken best way is to grab a leg and if it pulls off,,,she is done and you can pull the bird
    Jefferson .GA.  
    Been egging since 1985 on a medium egg
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,565
    Typically, the meat is pulled a little below the desired temp. While resting, the hotter outside layer transfers more heat to the inner area. I'm usually scrambling at T-day serving time, so I often hold the bird in a low temp oven while putting everything else together. Doesn't seem to cause any damage.

    The legs, thighs and wings, having more connective tissue than the breast meat, need to get hotter to be tender.

    I rarely stick anything in my mouth that is much hotter than 120F.  By the time the meat is carvewd and served, it has cooled enough.

    Pinkness in meats is usually not a sign of hazard. Mostly, its  a sign that not all of the myoglobin protein has broken down. Blood (if any is present) will be clotted and grey-brown at a much lower temp. Technically, meat is cooking anytime its above about 126F. That when the muscle proteins begin to fall apart. Likewise, that's the temp that halts pathogen growth. While pathogens are destroyed very rapidly at 185, by the time the meat reaches 140, they are being destroyed quickly, and just a few minutes at 160 finishes them off.

  • LuvfltLuvflt Posts: 63
    So are you saying to pull meat a little below 160 for the breast and 180 for the thigh? This would mean then that the 160 and 180 are the true target temps right?
    Palm City, FL
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,565
    160 & 180 are the standard temps. A few degrees either way won't make much difference. Personally, I like breasts more like 155 and  legs and thighs as high as 195, so for the past few years I've been parting the bird so I can cook the various pieces in different ways.
  • LuvfltLuvflt Posts: 63
    Sounds good thanks.
    Palm City, FL
  • BBQMavenBBQMaven Posts: 1,041
    gdenby is right

    The color of cooked chicken is not a sign of its safety. Only by using a 
    food thermometer can one accurately determine that chicken has reached 
    a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) throughout. 
    The pink color in safely cooked chicken may be due to the hemoglobin in 
    tissues which can form a heat-stable color. Smoking or grilling may also 
    cause this reaction, which occurs more in young birds.

    Kent Madison MS
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