Turkey Safety For Thanksgiving is a big deal. No-one wants a houseful of guests who are groaning and holding their stomachs on the big day. It’s just not good for family relationships.
Wild Turkey stopping by to say Hello in my backyard.
How you defrost the turkey is very important; you can’t take it out the night before and leave it sit on the counter overnight. If you plan to cook it on Thanksgiving and it weighs between 7 to 10 pounds: take it out of the freezer 2 to 3 days ahead, place on a plate or tray (to catch juices that seep out of the wrapping), and put in the refrigerator. 10-18 pounds need 3-4 days; 18-22 4-5 days.
Be sure you do not drop anything in the juices or splash them on any other foods.
Or use the quick thaw method: (my mom used to do this). Partially fill the sink with cold water (after cleaning the sink thoroughly in case your wrapping has a pinhole). Place the turkey breast down. The turkey will float but just go about your other business–it doesn’t need full submergence. Be sure to change the water every 30 minutes (according to the Dept. of Agriculture). Cook your turkey immediately after it is thawed-do not refreeze it.
Microwave Defrosting means you need to make sure the turkey will fit in your microwave oven. Remove all outside wrapping, place in a microwavable pan or dish, turn off the rotator if you have one, Cook turkey immediately after defrosting–do not refreeze.
Stuffing can be a point of contention. Most advice against cooking the stuffing inside the bird because of contamination. Stuffing needs to be cooked to a higher temperature. I haven’t cooked it inside the bird for years and the stuffing is just as good or better.
Cook the turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 165º. Check the temperature with an instant read thermometer. Those little pop-up things are not always reliable.
To read what the Dept. of Agriculture has to say about a safe Thanksgiving, click here.
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Turkey Safety For Thanksgiving