SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Thanksgiving dinner is the time for family, friends and, of course, turkey. Whether you’re a gourmet chef or a turkey novice, cooking the bird properly is key to a healthy holiday.
Here are four key safety issues to keep in mind when cooking a turkey.
The first key to a safely cooked bird is proper thawing.
Bacteria can grow rapidly in raw turkey when its temperature is in “the danger zone” between 40-and-140 degrees.
Never thaw a turkey out on the counter overnight, instead use a microwave, a refrigerator, or a sink of cold water that’s changed every thirty minutes.
The second key to a safely cooked bird is clean preparation.
While preparing the turkey, make sure to wash hands and clean the surfaces often.
Keep raw turkey separate from other items, so illness-causing bacteria doesn’t spread.
The third key to a safely cooked bird is to stuff it just before it goes in the oven.
If you’re stuffing your bird, do so just before cooking and keep the oven at temperatures of at least 325 degrees.
The final key to a safely cooked bird is that the internal temperature needs to reach 165 degrees, high enough to kill any bacteria.
Also, make sure you’re checking the temperature in the correct spots.
“You’re probably going to check right in between the leg and the cavity of the body and then also in the thickest part of the breast,” said Mike Folino, registered dietitian.