How Long Do You Scald Turkeys?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bigredfeather, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    I will be processing my heritage breed (Bourbon Reds and Blue Slates) Thanksgiving turkeys in a few weeks. I've butchered plenty of chickens, but this will be my first time doing turkeys. The biggest question I have is how long to scald these monsters. I scald CX for 40 seconds in 145 degree water. I would guess an eight month old turkey will need to be scalded longer, perhaps a minute.

    Any recommendations on scalding time from expirience?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  2. ShadyHoller

    ShadyHoller Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Willamette Valley
    I'm no expert, but we don't scald our big turkeys for much longer than chickens... it seems like getting the hot water on the skin is all it takes to do the trick, and the size of the bird doesn't really make a ton of difference. I just do three or four quick dunks in 145-150 degree water. I would beware of over-scalding, because then the skin tears so easily.

    Here's one lesson I learned the hard way: one time I didn't want to wait to get a huge pot of water up to heat, so I thought I would cut corners by heating up a smaller pot, and dipping the bird in twice, once by the feet, and once by the neck, with each dip submerging a different section of the carcass. The problem was that the middle section of the bird got dunked in the scalding tank twice, so it got an overlapping scalding. The result was a band of skin in the middle of the bird that was over-scalded, and the skin tore when I pulled feathers. Not pretty.

    Good luck!
  3. Renee'

    Renee' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    I agree that the turkey dunk time is about the same as the chicken dunk time. I didn't calibrate my thermometer but I think my water was closer to 160 degrees.

    Basically, if the body feathers don't pull out easily, send it back to the dunk tank for another 20 seconds.

    I had to use pliers to pull some of the wing feathers.
  4. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    We get a couple batches of the giant white turkeys every year and while I have never timed the scalding, I agree, it's ALMOST like a chicken, but yes, I too learned the hard way NOT to rely on the feather test using wing feathers! I had a half boiled turkey and the wing feathers were still stuck in there pretty sturdily...and I didn't dip it that long either! (I did however crank up the flame thinking it was not hot enough...that first turkey was a hot mess by the time I was done) I just kept thinking to myself "why is this so much harder than a chicken? This is DUMB!" But once I realized where I went wrong, it really wasn't all that different [​IMG]

    Just use body feathers to check, and be ready to still need pliers to get those wing and tail feathers out and you should be good to go [​IMG]

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