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Further Developments in Full-Validated Turkey Autoclaving

Since we first mentioned it, the time-honored tradition of turkey autoclaving has continued to pick up steam.

Craig Venter—among the first scientists to sequence the human genome—was doing it back in the ’70s (there’s a great anecdote about cooking a feisty 75-pounder (!!!) via autoclave in his memoir, A Life Decoded). As we mentioned last year, it’s fully possible to cook an average T-Day bird in a single 45 cycle (click through to watch the video from Venture Medical).

Now we’ve stumbled across an even more detailed turkey autoclaving anecdote form a retired surgical nurse.  The verdict?  As we’ve long suspected, a family-size Thanksgiving turkey can indeed be cooked via autoclave in just 20 minutes!

When I returned to the OR suite with my prized gobbler,Dr. Clobber  whipped out his ever present slide rule (no calculators) and asked me the weight of the turkey (about 9  kg.)  and some other data about the autoclave in the old OR room. We test fired the old autoclave and it fired right up with that impressive belch of steam. No bothersome preheating with this baby!  It worked like new. We just had to be careful to remember the correct autoclave door opening sequence. Our newer ones were all equipped with safety interlocks and modern safety devices like pressure relief valves.

After some frenzied slide rule calculations, Dr. Clobber said to fetch an instrument tray and place the turkey in the roaster instrument tray.  Next, proceed to the old  autoclave and run it for a 20 minute cycle. We tied the gobblers legs together with autoclave tape more or less out of force of habit.  We figured it would function as well as one of those pop-up gizmos. After the 20 minute cycle we popped the autoclave door open to the most delightful aroma of turkey I have ever experienced. Betty Crocker would have been impressed.  The turkey was moist and delightful and made for a most memorable on-call experience.

Thus it is demonstrated: You can’t beat the efficiency of a cylindrical chamber steam autoclave.

(Be sure to read the whole post for some really interesting details about hospital administration, 1930s surgical theaters, and what two atmospheres of pressure will do to a dressed-out turkey.)

FINE PRINT: Priorclave does not recommend the use of laboratory autoclaves for the preparation of foods for human consumption. Always consult FDA regulations and guidelines and Julia Child or another qualified celebrity chef. The Michigan Department of Agriculture reminds you that consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness. Professional driver on a closed course. Do not try at home. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.