Cooking a leftover turkey. Took it out because it looked done and meat thermometer said it was done. It was sitting on the counter resting for about an hour, and when I carved it the meat at the very inside of the bird was still uncooked. Is it OK to pop it back in the oven until gets back up to 165° or so? Or is it ruined?

It was still warm when I carved it. It had been frozen and thawing in fridge since Saturday. Thanks in advance!

  • It's most likely not safe, but you haven't provided us with enough information. How much meat is undercooked? It probably isn't worth the risk. Dec 3, 2014 at 16:59
  • It appeared to be the innermost inch or so right at the hip bones and at the very inside of the breast. I didn't notice it until I carved it; so it was resting for about an hour (nowhere near 2 hours) and when it came out it was hot, I was getting readings way up over 165 but just must not have got the therm. all the way into those parts. So the uncooked part was not exposed until right before I put it back in the oven. Dec 3, 2014 at 17:05
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    Did you stuff your bird? The fact that it partially cooked and then rested for an hour+ before you carved it is a huge red flag for me. If the meat was room-temp you'd be borderline, but since it was warm I'd really not take the risk. Dec 3, 2014 at 17:28
  • It would be helpful if someone explained the health risk of recooking it. Wouldn't the recooking kill all the bacteria when 165 is reached?
    – Huangism
    Feb 23, 2015 at 21:27
  • @Huangism the basic idea is that even dead bacteria are harmful--in sufficient quantity.
    – Preston
    Feb 24, 2015 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


Although this is an old question, its a good question.

My recommendation for this case would be to break the bird apart and continue roasting the pieces. It might not be the best presentation of a nice turkey dinner, but it will allow the bird to finish cooking to completion.

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