How to cook a Thanksgiving turkey thoroughly

Home for the Holidays 2021

USDA: Tips and lessons from for how-to safely make your Thanksgiving meal

HOUSTON (KIAH) —  Every year, Americans look forward to enjoying Thanksgiving with family and friends. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still top-of-mind, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds us all that it’s also important to keep family and friends safe from foodborne illness this Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times to remind people about food safety,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I personally know how much effort it takes to prepare a full Thanksgiving meal, and I always ensure I’m following safe food practices like handwashing, using a food thermometer and avoiding cross-contamination.”

By following the tips below, you’ll lessen the chances of having a visit from foodborne illness — an unwelcome visitor — at your table this Thanksgiving.

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How to avoid cross-contamination when making your Thanksgiving meal

How to thaw the Thanksgiving turkey safely

How to cook a Thanksgiving turkey thoroughly

Make sure your turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature in three parts: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing and the innermost part of the thigh. USDA recommends using a food thermometer even if the turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator to ensure it has reached 165 F in the three previously stated places. When cooking a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, check the temperature with the food thermometer to ensure it reaches 165 F at the thickest part the breast. All previously cooked side dishes should be reheated to 165 F.

HOW TO: Safely stuffing your Turkey to avoid contamination

The two-hour rule on how to cook your Thanksgiving turkey

What to do with your leftovers

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