Thanksgiving Turkey Safety Tips


Today is Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

With everyone most likely cooking a turkey today in some shape or form, I figured it would be a good time to give out some tips for your turkey to ensure that you have the best food day possible.

More from Cooking Techniques

First we will take a look at some safety tips with the Turkey.

Whenever you are handling raw meat or poultry you want to make sure that you wash your hands with hot soapy water along with the utensils, cutting boards, counters and anything else that you or the raw meat has touched to ensure that it is disinfected.

Make sure that any of the raw juices, bird or your hands that have handled the bird don’t touch anything that is meant to be eaten raw, such as a salad.

Avoid touching anything that others will use with their hands such as salt and pepper shakers or other seasonings right from the bottle.  It is best to portion our the seasonings that you are going to use into a bowl and work from the bowl and not from the actual container.

The USDA warns against washing your bird as the water that splashes up and around the sink and counters will contain bacteria and will allow it to spread easily this way.

A safe internal temperature for a turkey is 160 degrees.  Make sure that it is cooked to 160 degrees to ensure that all bacteria is gone.  For a better flavor with the thighs cook this meat to 175 degrees.

Make sure that any leftovers are refrigerated and are eaten within three days.

When defrosting the turkey, make sure to allow for 1 day of defrosting for every 4 pounds.  Defrost in the refrigerator for a slow defrost method.  A 20 pound turkey will take about 5 days to defrost.  For a quick thaw method, place the turkey still in its wrapper and cover with cold tap water.  Allow for 30 minutes to thaw per pound. So a 12 pound turkey will take about 6-8 hours to fully thaw.  Make sure to replace the cold water every 30 minutes to prevent the spread of bacteria.

All the tips were taken from “The New Family Cookbook” America’s Test Kitchen, October 2014.