Turkey Cooking Tips

Tips to Safe turkeys

Holidays are great times for families and friends to get together.

But they are awful times to be sick and this could happen if the cook forgets to follow some simple rules of food preparation.

MORE: Other Turkey Tips from the USDA

Most people, for example, will open and rinse their turkey over the sink, but a better option might be doing it over the trash can.


"It can actually cross contaminate and bacteria can get into your sink and counter," said Lora Pietszak, a registered dietician at Simi Valley Hospital.

She said it is better to place it already prepared in the pan to cook it.


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People who do go ahead and rinse the turkey in the sink should then decontaminate the sink with bleach water.

Pietszak suggested people who use a sponge to clean up the sink and counter, microwave the sponge for a minute to prevent cross contamination.

Also watch out for contamination when you store the turkey in the refrigerator.

You don’t want drippings from the bird to land on other food.

Pietszak recommended using a meat thermometer to check whether the turkey is done rather than rely on the pop-up thermometer that came with the bird.

If you are relying on a frozen turkey, the more thawed it is before you cook it, the less likely you will have undercooked spots on the inside and dry meat on the outside.

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