A turkey pop up is a little plastic gadget embedded in the turkey carcass, that is supposed to pop up when the turkey is fully cooked. This prevents your Thanksgiving guests from getting food poisoning from undercooked poultry.
The turkey pop up was invented by Eugene Beals. In the 1950s he was the manager of California's turkey advisory board. I did not know that we have state turkey advisory boards. At any rate, they got frequent complaints about roasted turkeys being overcooked and dry and tasteless. Eugene Beals supposedly got the idea from indoor sprinklers, fire prevention, that automatically start at a certain temperature.
Turkey recipes, claims the article, were based on elderly and tough turkeys. The turkeys sold were different. And the turkey advisory board looked at what a safe temperature was for the current turkeys on the market. They spent a year cooking turkeys and getting a prototype ready for the market. Then it took the market a while to be interested.
The recommended temperature for fully cooked meat has been getting lower in the US. My older cookbooks recommend a higher temperature than the newer ones. This year I used a Cook's Illustrated recipe, removing both thighs from the bird before cooking. They cook at a different rate. The breast temperature was to be at 160-165 and legs to 175. They were done at the same time. No pop up in that bird. And it was very good.
Huffpost scorns them.
Reader's Digest explains.
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