Just a tip -- Turkey tips

Saturday, November 20, 2010

If you don't count today (and I don't have to if I don't want to!), Thanksgiving is 5 days away! Lots of good food, family, fun, football & food borne illnesses...

Doesn't quite work does it?

Today I'm going to post some tips on how to prevent those nasty things from showing up at your Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Wash your hands properly & often using hot water & soap. This is probably the number one prevention of food borne illnesses when it comes to all cooking but more than likely today you'll be cooking for several people instead of just your immediate family. And, more than likely, you'll be making a lot more food than normal. It's easy to get distracted but let's keep your guests and their health in mind ok?

2. Don't cross contaminate. Keep your thawing turkey on the lowest shelf of your refrigerator underneath other foods. Don't use the same knife (or other utensils) on your turkey that you use on other foods. That goes for your cutting board too. Have a turkey only cutting board today.

3. Thaw your turkey properly. NEVER let your turkey thaw at room temperature. It should thaw in the refrigerator or in a tub of COLD water. If the water warms, refill it. Here's a chart of thawing times from FoodSafety.gov:

Turkey Size    In the Refrigerator
(Approximately 24 hours
for every 4-5 lbs.)
In Cold Water
 (Approximately 30
minutes per lb.)
4-12 lbs                    1 to 3 days           2-6 hours
12-16 lbs                    3 to 4 days           6 -8 hours
16-20 lbs                    4 to 5 days            8-10 hours
20-24 lbs                    5 to 6 days          10-12 hours

4. Cook your turkey properly. Turkey should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165° at the thickest part of the thigh. Do not take the temperature in the breast and make sure your thermometer is not resting on a bone. Always, always, always use a food thermometer to test your turkey. Just because it looks done doesn't mean it is. Do not set your oven temperature below 325° Here's another helpful chart from FoodSafety.gov:

Size of TurkeyUnstuffedStuffed
4-6 lbs (breast)1½-2¼ hoursNot usually applicable
6-8 lbs (breast)2¼-3¼ hours2½-3½ hours
8-12 lbs2¾-3 hours3-3½ hours
12-14 lbs3-3¾ hours3½-4 hours
14-18 lbs3¾-4¼ hours4-4¼ hours
18-20 lbs4¼ to 4½ hours4¼ to 4¾ hours
20-24 lbs4½  to 5 hours4¾  to 5¼  hours

And for alternative ways to cook turkey:

MethodSizeEstimated Cooking TimeNotes
Electric Roaster Oven8 -24 lbs.Generally same times as for oven roasting.Minimum oven temperature 325 °F. Check appliance manual.
Grilling: Covered Charcoal Grill or Covered Gas Grill8-16 lbs.15-18 minutes per pound. DO NOT STUFF.Air in the grill must maintain 225 to 300 °F; use drip pan.
Smoking8-12 lbs.20-30 minutes per pound. DO NOT STUFF.Air in the smoker must maintain 225 to 300 °F; use drip pan with liquid.
Deep Fat Frying8-12 lbs.3-5 minutes per pound. DO NOT STUFF.Oil must maintain 350 °F.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Microwaving8-14 lbs.9-10 minutes per pound on medium (50%) power. DO NOT STUFF.     Use oven cooking bag.         Rotate during cooking

I, for one, am very excited about Thanksgiving. It's a HUGE cooking time for me (which I adore!) and a wonderful family time (which I adore too!). I know how I would feel if I made people sick. I'm sure you'd feel the same way.

2 of my favorite chefs had this to say....:

Doris Sturm said...

Good advice! One has to be extra careful with meat!

Mary said...

Thanks for the charts and reminders. I hope you and all you love have a wonderful holiday. Blessings...Mary

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If we are what we eat, then I'm fast, cheap and easy! C'mon into the kitchen with me... Let's do some Happy Cooking!

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