Thanksgiving is nearly here, and with it, comes all kinds of good food to eat. If it’s your turn to cook the turkey - or if it’s your first time - make sure you do it safely so that your family, friends, and home make it through the holiday season unscathed. Between handling turkey properly to cooking it safely, there are plenty of potential dangers lurking in your Thanksgiving turkey. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
Cooking your turkey safely begins with safe thawing. There are three thawing methods that are safest: in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or in a sink filled with cold water as long as you change the water every 30 minutes. Thawing your turkey on the counter isn’t a safe option. When your turkey sits at room temperature for two or more hours, bacteria grows easily leading to potential problems later.
From the moment you thaw your turkey until the moment you put away the leftovers, how you handle your bird matters. Always wash your hands after working with your turkey - use warm water and soap. Don’t worry about washing the bird as the only way to remove bacteria is to thoroughly cook it. Keep the raw meat separate from everything else, and use separate utensils and cutting boards during preparation. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours to keep your cooked meat safe for consumption later. Afterall, we wouldn’t want to ruin those delicious leftovers!
Ideally, your stuffing will be cooked separately from your turkey. If family tradition and your own personal tastes insist on stuffing your bird, be careful. Only add the stuffing right before you’re ready to cook your turkey - instead of letting it sit for hours first. Once the turkey is cooked, let it stand for 20 minutes and then remove all the stuffing from the cavity before serving it.
After all the work of keeping your turkey safe before cooking, now it’s time to make sure it’s safe while you cook it and while everyone is eating it. You can roast or bake your turkey in the oven at 325 degrees. Cook it to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. Make sure to use a meat thermometer to get an accurate temperature - the pop-up thermometers that some turkeys come with won’t always pop out like you expect it to. Let your turkey stand for 20 minutes before serving, and like we mentioned above, remove the stuffing first.
Deep Frying Your Turkey
One of the most dangerous ways to cook a turkey is to deep fry it. Because it’s also a delicious way, many people ignore the dangers and do it anyway. Before you pull your turkey fryer out of storage, make sure you understand the dangers of cooking with that much hot oil and take plenty of precautions.
- Never leave your deep fryer unattended.
- Keep a fire extinguisher close by. Never douse flames with water - you’ll only make it worse and create a splatter effect.
- Avoid using your deep fryer on days when it’s raining, drizzling, or snowing or when snow or ice are melting. If water drips onto the hot oil, the splatter can create serious burns.
- Many deep fryers are in constant danger of tipping over. If this happens, the oil will quickly spread and easily catch on fire.
- Your turkey must be completely thawed before you put it into the deep fryer. Even a little extra moisture can create a massive fire and huge oil splatters.
You want to make your Thanksgiving memorable but time in the hospital or watching first responders put out a fire aren’t the memories anyone wants. Take precautions as you prepare your turkey to keep yourself, your family, and your home safe.
Here at Ross Insurance we want to help protect your family and home with a good home insurance policy. Give us a call today to make sure you’ve got enough coverage so you have one less thing to worry about this holiday season.