Food Safety Tips
Countdown to a safe Thanksgiving
is early in the morning on Wednesday and the clock is ticking
for the big meal on Thursday. You are just starting out to get
ready within 36 hours.
Can you save this holiday feast?
Yes. Here are some safe and sure-fire
ways to beat the clock and be ready to host the safest feast
by 4 PM Thanksgiving Day!
8:00 AM / Planning
Make your list based on the menu.
Don't forget to include a meat thermometer.
10:00 AM / Thawing
Plan out 30 minutes per pound
to defrost the frozen turkey. Place the frozen turkey bag in
the sink under cool running water OR cover with cool water and
change every 15 minutes.
1:00 PM / Vegetables
Clean and cut raw vegetables
as needed. Refrigerate.
2:00 PM / Stuffing
Prepare dry stuffing ingredients
and place in covered container. Do not combine dry and wet ingredients.
Keep the ingredients such as margarine, butter, oysters, cooked
celery, broth, sausage, etc. in the refrigerator.
3:00 PM / Baking
Prepare and refrigerate bakery
items such as pumpkin pies as prepared.
7:00 PM / Bird
After removing parts, wash the
turkey inside and outside with cold water and drain well. Refrigerate
promptly on a clean platter and cover it. WASH hands, utensils,
counter tops and any other item that have been exposed to the
raw turkey. Shake the temptation out of your mind to roast the
turkey overnight. Slow cooking is not safe.
8:00 AM / Bird
Combine ingredients, preheat
the oven and start stuffing. Loose stuffing will help in thorough
cooking of the bird. Bake remainder of stuffing in a separate
pan as needed.
Insert meat thermometer into
the thickest part of the thigh muscle without touching the bone.
Cover turkey with a loose tent of aluminum foil. With the breast
side up, place turkey in the oven. Opening the door frequently
prolongs cooking time so avoid opening the doors.
WASH hands, utensils, counter
tops and any other item that have been exposed to turkey.
Estimate times for roasting a
turkey: 15 to 18 minutes per pound for unstuffed turkey and
18 to 24 minutes for stuffed turkey. For example, a 20-pound,
stuffed turkey will take approximately 6 hours and thirty minutes.
10:00 AM / Side
Refrigerate all prepared items.
3:00 PM / Cooking
vegetables and other preparation
Check turkey for doneness. The
meat thermometer should register 180°F in the dark meat and
the stuffing should reach 165°F. The juices run clear when turkey
is done. The turkey breast reads 170°F when it is done.
stuffing from turkey and place in clean serving container. Place
in hot holding container. Let turkey stand for few minutes before
4:00 PM Dinner's
on. Happy Safe Thanksgiving Dinner
Don't forget the leftovers when
everyone has finished. Store leftovers in small covered and
shallow containers. Slice turkey for faster cooling. Use leftover
turkey and stuffing within 3 to 4 days and the gravy within
1 to 2 days. You may freeze them for later use.
For this or any
other food-safety related information, please contact the Bureau
of Consumer Health Services at 713-794-9200.
the HDHHS Bureau of Consumer Health Services