Cooking Tips: Say No to Salmonella and Cook Your Turkey Safely
Your role in food safety starts as soon as you purchase your turkey. If you buy a frozen turkey, keep the turkey in the freezer until you are ready to move it to the fridge to thaw (the safest way to defrost). Remember that thawing a turkey in the fridge a will take 24 hours for every 5 pounds of bird. Avoid cross-contamination from raw turkey juice escaping packaging by placing it in the fridge in a pan or platter. If possible, store it below produce or anything else that would be eaten raw.
Before handling your turkey, wash your hands with hot soapy water and make sure your work surface (kitchen counter, sink, cutting board, etc.) is clean (a good cooking tip no matter what you're making!). Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
For safety and uniform doneness of the turkey, cook stuffing separately in a casserole. You must use a food thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the stuffing has reached 165 degrees F. If you choose to stuff a turkey, mix the ingredients just before loosely stuffing the bird. The temperature of a whole turkey must reach 180 degrees F in the innermost part of the thigh and the center of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees F. If the stuffing has not reached 165 degrees F, continue cooking the turkey until the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F. Remember to set your oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees F.
For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture's site.