Turkey tips for a safe Thanksgiving

Defrost in fridge, don't wash your bird, cook to 165 inside the turkey

November 20, 2018 - 7:47 am

The LSU AgCenter has some tips for making sure you don't get food poisioning from your Thanksgiving Turkey.

  • Thaw your turkey in the fridge Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Don't wash your turkey
  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure bird is cooked to internal temp of 165 degrees

As we approach Thanksgiving, you’ll want to make sure you and your guests don’t end up sick on black Friday. 

LSU AgCenter food safety expert Wenqing Xu says the most important thing you can do to keep the family safe is cooking that turkey long enough to blast the bacteria.

“When you cook your turkey make sure you use a meat thermometer and cook to 165 degrees, and make sure it is safe.”

She says check the temperature in all potential cold spots, like under the wings.

And while you’re at it, you might want to get a head start on putting that turkey in the fridge.

“Now (Tuesday) actually is a good time to take your turkey out and put it in the refrigerator to thaw it, because it never is a good idea to put it on the counter to thaw it.”

Xu added that families shouldn’t leave anything out of the fridge for more than two hours, sides and pies included.

Xu also recommends also not washing the turkey before you bake it. She says it won’t remove any bacteria that should be killed in the oven, and it could lead to cross-contamination.

“With all of the other things going on, you want to make sure you don’t have your raw turkey on your kitchen counter, or splash it into your ready to eat food.”

And as has been recommended for some time now, don’t cook the stuffing inside the turkey.

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