Can You Microwave a Turkey?

a thanksgiving turkey being carved

Thanksgiving | John Moore/Getty Images

Mothers across the country were aghast when their young adult children prank texted them how to microwave a 25-pound turkey. The responses were hilarious, but was the question that insane? Obviously, most chefs prefer to roast their Thanksgiving turkey. But also, deep frying has become a popular method too.

So what would happen if you microwave a turkey? And would it be a safe (and edible) way to prepare the main dish for Thanksgiving?

Moms say don’t do it

Some parents were downright flummoxed at how their child could even ask such a question. “Matthew’s” mother seemed exasperated when he asked. “Oh gosh Matthew don’t do that. You have to cook it in the oven!” Or “Kirsten’s” mom really laid down the gauntlet. “You’re half dumb ass and the other half blonde I guess…you can’t be my child. And poor Kendall, bright enough to follow along. Love you both.”

Another Twitter user tweeted about her experience, “I texted my grandma the whole turkey text thing and she called me IMMEDIATELY and said ‘oh honey you can’t cook a turkey in the microwave. Bring it over and I’ll cook it for you’ and like that’s why we don’t deserve grandparents ok.”

Others not only played along but turned the tables. “Well, we’re not going to be microwaving a turkey this year…your dad died this morning. Call me ASAP,” the mom wrote to the query. Luckily the prankster’s sense of humor was just ask twisted as mom’s. “Dang. LOL. Wanna play Fortnight then?” “Lmao, yeah,” was mom’s response.

But you can actually do it

Roasted Turkey

Roasted Turkey | Courtesy of HelloFresh

One big difference between the prank question and what you can actually do is size. The team at Mashable actually microwaved a turkey and said an eight to 10-pound bird is the best way to go. You’ll prepare the defrosted turkey about the same as if you were to cook it in the oven. Clean the bird well and season it well.

Place the seasoned turkey in a microwave safe bag and poke a small hole in the bag so steam can escape. Then put the turkey on a microwave-safe plate inside your microwave. Cook at 50% power for 10 minutes per pound. Mashable cooked a 12-pound turkey and microwaved it for two hours. Turn your turkey every 15 minutes if the microwave doesn’t have an automatic spinning plate.

Use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey is fully cooked, which should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit before it can be eaten. Allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

One word of caution

In addition to using hot pads when handling the turkey to avoid steam burns, be cautious about consuming any raw poultry.  The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recently recalled 91,388 pounds of raw ground Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales turkey products, CNN reports.

The tainted meat is linked to a salmonella outbreak. Thus far, 164 people have become ill in 35 states, 63 people were hospitalized. One person in California died. Symptoms include fever, stomach cramping, and diarrhea. Which last up to seven days. Most people recover without medical treatment, but some may require antibiotic treatment.

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