Safety Tips for Cooking the Thanksgiving Turkey

Submitted by admin on Sun, 11/01/2015 - 00:00

We’re in a mix of the holiday season once again, and Thanksgiving is coming up quickly! However, nothing can ruin a great Thanksgiving dinner like a case of bad food poisoning. It’s important to take precautions and make sure that your family is safe from the dangers of undercooked meat. Because a turkey isn’t something that most families cook everyday, there’s a higher risk of getting a foodborne illness. Here’s some tips on cooking the turkey, and making sure that doesn’t happen...
Thawing the turkey
Due to the volume of people purchasing turkeys, it can be hard to get a fresh one for the big day. This means that many people purchase frozen turkeys in preparation for Thanksgiving. If this is you, healthy thawing procedures should be taken. Keep the turkey at a safe temperature while it is thawing. It’s particularly important to keep it away from the heat during this period. Keeping a turkey at over 40 degrees while it is thawing is a bad zone. Bacteria can grow and multiply in those conditions. For this reason, try letting the turkey thaw in the fridge, or in cold water. If need be, you can also thaw in the microwave, at a temperature of over 140 degrees.
Preparing the turkey
When preparing the turkey, make sure that your hands are very clean, as they may transfer unwanted bacteria onto the meat, where it could flourish and multiply. While preparing the turkey, make sure that your work area is incredibly clean and separate from any other food that you may be preparing. If you don’t do this, bacteria from the turkey can get onto other things, where the bacteria will still spread. Also, make sure to rinse off any utensils used on raw turkey.
Stuffing the turkey
Ideally, it is a good idea to cook the stuffing before you put it into the turkey. However, most recipes don’t call for this, and instead insist that you cook the stuffing inside of the turkey. While this might yield a more desired flavor, it could also increase the risk of bacteria getting into the stuffing. However, if you insist on cooking it inside of the turkey, make sure that you put the stuffing in right before you cook it.
Cooking the turkey
Cook your turkey at a temperature of at least 325 degrees. Before putting the turkey in the oven, make sure that it is fully thawed, or else it may not fully cook. Always cook your turkey with the breast-side up. After cooking, check multiple points of the turkey for a temperature. This includes the breast, thighs, and wings. Also don’t forget to check the temperature of the stuffing to make sure it reached 165 degrees. Cooking time will depend on the size of the turkey.