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Where to stick that thermometer? turkey talk

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 by Maggie LaBarbera

Cooking a turkey this thanksgiving?  Of course!  Me too.   

Preventing food poisoning is a key part of healthy cooking.  I remember one year, when my cousin brought over her turkey for Thanksgiving.  We started to carve it when red juice started to run out as we cut closer to the bone.  

I don't know what it is about poultry and red juice but it turns my stomach.  If only she had used a thermometer!  Oh wait, she did.  So what went wrong?  Simple, she did not put it in the right spot.

Of course, she was embarrassed and we had to postpone Thanksgiving so the turkey could cook longer, (uh, that was no fun!)  And, it is still a story that gets discussed when we dole out who is cooking what (50 Peruvians always requires a shared effort)

Nourish Thought for the Day:  

Food thermometers are a part of a healthy kitchen and healthy cooking.

So cooking your turkey so it is fully cooked and avoiding food poisoning - 

Step one:  Use a thermometer

Step two:  Insert the food thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone.  The thigh area closest to the body of the turkey is the thickest part.  The dark meat takes longer to cook than the white meat.

With the handy digital thermometers, you can easily insert the thermometer into the thigh to check the temperature and then quickly check the temperature in the breast. (love when cooking is made easier)

Cook the turkey not to exceed 170°F in breast and 180°F in thigh.

Here is a guide to cooking your turkey based on a conventional oven at 325°F.  But ovens can vary so please use the thermometer.

Un-stuffed Turkey

8 to 12 pounds 
12 to 14 pounds 
14 to 18 pounds 
18 to 20 pounds 
2-3/4 to 3 hours 
3 to 3-3/4 hours 
3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours 
4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours
Stuffed Turkey 
8 to 12 pounds 
12 to 14 pounds 
14 to 18 pounds 
18 to 20 pounds 
3 to 3-1/2 hours 
3-1/2 to 4 hours 
4 to 4-1/4 hours 
4-1/4 to 4-3/4 hours 






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