Turkey Talk: How to Safely Roast Your Turkey

In our previous “Turkey Talk” blog posts, we covered how to safely handle frozen and fresh turkeys, along with how to properly thaw a frozen turkey. So, now it’s time to talk about how to roast the perfect turkey, one that not only tastes delicious but is safe from food pathogens.

A fall food spread including a turkey and several varieties of squash on a lakeside table. Food safety, outdoor dining. [CREDIT: UF/IFAS, Tyler Jones]

Many of us have are own special way of roasting a turkey, whether using a bag, covering it with foil, special basting ingredients, or whatnot. But, if this is your first time roasting a turkey or maybe you need a refresher, here are some guidelines to follow to be certain you cook up a safe treat:

  • Set your oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Place the turkey or turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  • For food safety, do not stuff the bird before the cooking process. Rather, prepare the stuffing and cook it separately from the turkey. 
  • 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. Make sure your turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends using a food thermometer even if the turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator, to ensure the cooked bird 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. If you are reheating a previously cooked turkey dish, bring the internal temperature of that dish up to 165 F, as well.
  • When the turkey has finished cooking, take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to set and will make carving easier. 

Now, the best part. Sit down, enjoy the company of those around you, and savor the moments and the delicious meal you prepared.

Full “Turkey Talk” series:

Posted: November 15, 2023

Category: Work & Life

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