Safe Turkey Buying and Prepping Tips

Meijer’s dietitian Shari Steinbach offers suggestions for how to safely indulge with the holiday staple.

Thanksgiving cooking does not have to be stressful.

With a few simple touches, a great turkey will serve as the cornerstone of a pleasing and sleep-inducing meal.

’s Registered Dietitian Shari Steinbach put together advice and a few techniques to make a Thanksgiving turkey safely and with a lot flavor. The bird can induce a great Tryptophan coma among all of your relatives, including the ones you like.  

Buy the Right Size Turkey

  • People will need 1 pound of uncooked turkey for every guest. Add another half pound if you want leftovers.
    Proper Cooking Time
  • Steinbach suggests cooking an unstuffed turkey for 12-15 minutes per pound, and a stuffed turkey for 18-20 minutes per pound
    Turkey Thawing and Safety Tips
  • It’s a food safety risk to thaw a turkey at room temperature on the kitchen counter
  • Put frozen, wrapped turkey on a baking sheet in your refrigerator
  • For every 4-5 lbs., allow 24 hours of thawing time
  • If pinched for time, submerge the frozen, wrapped turkey in cold water (30 minutes per pound)

       Safety Tip – Proper Temperature to Cook a Turkey

  • Steinbach says that when the temperature in the thigh is about 180 degrees, it’s done
  • If the bird is stuffed, insert thermometer into the middle of the stuffing and wait for it to reach 160 degrees
  • Let a cooked turkey sit for about 40 minutes before carving it

Optional Ways to Prepare a Turkey

  • Steinbach suggested other ways to cook a turkey such as deep frying or basting. She recommends using a smaller sized turkey for deep-frying
  • Another way to make a great turkey is to brine the bird before roasting. Place the whole turkey into a salt water mixture made with one cup of salt to one gallon of water, and let the bird sit in the water for at least 12 hours before roasting
Lorraine Swanson November 21, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Another helpful turkey tip is to make sure that you remove ALL of the plastic covered giblets ("innards") from the turkey cavity. However, I have accidentally left some of the plastic covered guts in the turkey, which I did not discover until my guests consumed it. The giblets were very nicely roasted and didn't seem to affect the taste of the turkey, nor my guests' health. My dog enjoyed the giblets.


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