Want a Perfect Turkey? Calculate Its Specific Heat Capacity


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As I perceive it, the entire level of cooking a turkey is to take it at some temperature after which improve it to a better temperature. Positive, perhaps there’s one thing about household togetherness in there, however actually, Thanksgiving is all about thermal switch. The USDA recommends a minimal inside temperature of 165°F (74°C). I assume that is the minimal temperature to kill all of the dangerous stuff in there—or perhaps it’s the lowest temperature that it may be and nonetheless style nice.

Both approach, if you wish to improve the temperature of the turkey it’s essential to add power. Maybe this power comes from hearth, or an oven and even from sizzling oil—but it surely wants power. However watch out. There’s a distinction between power and temperature. Let me offer you an instance.

Suppose you set some leftover pizza within the oven to warmth it up. Since you do not wish to make a large number, you simply rip off a sheet of aluminum foil and put the pizza on that after which into the oven. The oven is ready to 350 levels Fahrenheit in order that after 10 minutes, each the pizza and the foil are most likely near that temperature. Now for the demonstration. You possibly can simply seize the aluminum foil with out burning your self, however you may’t do the identical to the pizza. Regardless that these two objects have the identical temperature, they’ve totally different quantities of thermal power.

The thermal power in an object relies on the thing’s mass, the thing’s materials and the thing’s temperature. The change in thermal power for an object then relies on the change in temperature.

On this expression, m is the mass of the thing and the variable c is the particular warmth capability. The precise warmth capability is a amount that tells you ways a lot power it takes to 1 gram of the thing by 1 diploma Celsius. The precise warmth capability of water is four.18 Joules per gram per diploma Celsius. For copper, the particular warmth capability is zero.385 J/g/°C (sure, water has a really excessive particular warmth capability).

However what about turkey? What’s the power wanted to warmth up 1 gram of turkey by 1°C? That’s the query I wish to reply. Oh positive, I may most likely simply do a fast search on-line for this reply, however that is no enjoyable. As an alternative I wish to calculate this myself.

Right here is the fundamental experimental setup. I’m going to take a turkey breast (as a result of I’m too impatient to make use of the entire turkey) and put it in a identified quantity of sizzling water. I’ll then file the change in temperature of the water and the change in temperature of the turkey. After all, this must be in an insulated container such that the entire power that leaves the water will go into the turkey.

With the change in temperature of the water, I can calculate (based mostly on the identified particular warmth capability of water) the power misplaced. Assuming all this power goes into the turkey, I’ll then know the rise in power of the turkey. With the mass and alter in turkey temperature, I’ll have the particular warmth capability of a turkey.

Simply to be clear, I can set the modifications in power to be reverse from one another after which remedy for the particular warmth capability of the turkey. Like this.

OK, it is experiment time. I’m going to begin with 2,000 mL (2 kilograms) of sizzling water and add it to a foam field with my turkey breast. I’ll monitor each the temperature of the water and the turkey. Oh, the turkey has a mass of 1.1 kilograms. This is what this appears to be like like (with out the field lid).

I collected knowledge for fairly some time and I assumed that the water and the turkey would attain an equilibrium temperature—however I used to be incorrect. Apparently it takes fairly a major period of time for this turkey to warmth up. Nonetheless, the information ought to be ok for a calculation.

Hopefully it is clear that the crimson curve is the new water and the blue is for the turkey. From this plot, the water had a change in temperature of -21.7°C and the turkey had +27°C. Placing these values together with the mass of the water and turkey, I get a turkey particular warmth capability of 6.zero18 J/g/°C. That is just a little bit increased than what I used to be anticipating—however a minimum of it’s within the ballpark of the worth for water. However total, I am fairly blissful.

However what are you able to do with the particular warmth capability for a turkey? What if you wish to do a kind of sous-vide cooking by which the turkey is positioned in a vacuum-sealed bag after which added water at a selected temperature? Usually, the temperature of the water is saved at some fixed temperature. However what if you wish to begin with sizzling water and chilly turkey after which find yourself with good temperature turkey? With a view to do that, you can calculate the beginning mass and temperature of water that will provide the greatest ending turkey temperature. I’ll allow you to do that as a homework project.

After all there’s one other strategy to prepare dinner a turkey. You can drop it from some nice top such that it heats up when it lands. Oh, wait—I already did this calculation.

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