Overcooked Butterball turkey explodes



“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” ― W.C. Fields

Editorial Comment

The following incident is as true as I can possibly remember it. The names of the parties involved are being withheld to  protect the innocent. Just so you know!  🙂


I have cooked my fair share of turkeys over the years and have never ever had one explode the way the one I cooked yesterday happened to give up the ghost.

It was a fair-sized Butterball turkey I had purchased a few weeks ago and had thawed it according to the directions on the packaging. I had saved a whopping $12 on the bird and was proud of my shopping prowess.

I sprayed the cooking pan with Pam and as I inspected the bird noticed that the customary string harness that was always included with the bird was missing. No big deal I thought. I knew how to extract a cooked turkey from the oven. Right? Wrong.

The first sign of any potential trouble occurred when I basted the bird after the first hour of cooking. The bird was a wee bit larger than the baking pan I used but I figured when it thawed a bit more in hot oven during baking all would rectify itself. 

I removed the pan from the oven and noticed that a good portion of the bird’s skin had baked to the cover. I dismissed this fact as being incidental and proceeded to baste the bird and place it back in its heated roost.

A short time later when I again basted the bird I noticed that the bird’s chest cavity had split wide open and the insides were now outside. Again I gave this fact no thought and minimized the damage done to the baking bird.

When I finally withdrew the bird from the oven the bird was a golden brown, the juices were still flowing and steam was rising . I had done a good job as far as I realized.

The moment of truth came when I tried to extract the darn thing from the pan. I used a two spoon technique  referred to as the Braxton Hicks maneuver that doctors use to deliver babies.

In this case two spoons ( one aluminum and one plastic) help to deliver the turkey from the pan to a serving plate waiting nearby. 

This method had always worked for me in the past when the bird had been trussed up with the string. This time it was a major flop.

Trying to work as methodically as possible I placed the extraction spoons in place, scraped along the sides of the pan to free the bird carcass from that and then gave a heave-ho! Then disaster struck.

As I raised the bird into the air there was a moment when time seemed to freeze. The bird seemed to disassemble before my eyes. One half of it went west. The other symmetrical half arced east. 

The interior bones and other parts of the bird seemed to float in the air and then splashed onto the kitchen counter top and nearby walls.

When the incident initially happened I was shocked . I had never seen that before.

Then with a sigh of relief I salvaged what I could. Each turkey half was carefully placed on a dinner plate…white meat on one plate and dark meat on another.

I was fortunate that there was enough juice left in the pan to salvage enough gravy for one cup of the stuff.

It was difficult to believe that such a thing had happened to me.

But a male’s ego at times goes far beyond the realm of logic and common sense. — gc









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