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Thread: How far ahead can I cook a turkey and a ham?

  1. #1
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    Question How far ahead can I cook a turkey and a ham?

    You know, fall just wouldn't be fall without a few turkey questions from me. However, this isn't for T'giving, but for this Friday: I have 35 people coming over in 3 days , and will make a turkey and a ham. My plan is to cook them on Thursday and my grand plans to get a lot done before today have not exactly panned out; can I get away with cooking them tomorrow (Wed)? The turkey is a typical T'giving bird--22 pounds, no stuffing. I'll carve it up & refrigerate it in broth, as I've done in the past, so it won't dry out. It works well one day ahead--but two? The ham is CL's Blackberry-Mustard Glazed Ham, 10 pounds (yes, I know I'll have leftovers). I figured it's cured meat anyway, so another day in the fridge after cooking/flavoring would be fine. Maybe.

    As much as I would love to cook them on Friday, this is not a perfect world . . . and my week is pretty much falling apart already, schedule-wise, so I'm trying to adjust my plans.

    FWIW, I'm serving both cut-up meats in a buffet server that'll keep the slices warm for placing on soft dinner rolls w/typical accompaniments for little sandwiches. So there won't be turkey gravy. I figured I'd put 1/4" of broth or sauce in the bottom of the warming tray so that the meat essentially steams in there, instead of holding it in a dry heat.

    I trust the CLBB's thoughts on this . . . thanks!

    (P.S.--Here's the link to the ham: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/re...ipe_id=1120262. How do you put that into the text? I wanted to make it where you could click the ham name & go there, but it just overtyped the link with regular text.)
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by testkitchen45 View Post
    My plan is to cook them on Thursday and my grand plans to get a lot done before today have not exactly panned out; can I get away with cooking them tomorrow (Wed)?
    The USDA says to use your refrigerated turkey within three to four days. You're good to go.

  3. #3
    Yup, they will be fine for 2 days in the fridge. No problem-oh.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumbeaux View Post
    The USDA says to use your refrigerated turkey within three to four days. You're good to go.
    Either I'm hopelessly unimaginative, or I depend on the CLBB a *whole* lot, but I didn't even think of checking with the USDA. I knew the food would be safe Fri if cooked Wed--and I appreciate the reminder to use or freeze (cooking same day as defrost) asap after my Fri party, per USDA--but I figured the CLBB would be the experts for food taste & appearance.

    Thanks! I sure would like to cook all that on Wed, & deal with the huge kitchen cleanup Wed nite/Thurs morning instead of Thur-Fri.
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

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