Talking Turkey: Get the Best From Your Bird
Experts offer tips for buying and cooking a tasty turkey
To Stuff or Not to Stuff?
In many families, stuffing the bird has long been the preferred method of
cooking. But the Department of Agriculture advises against this practice
because of the risk of food-borne illness.
"It is difficult for the stuffing to reach the internal temperature of
165 degrees even when the meat is done," warns Diane Van, USDA meat and
poultry hotline manager.
So instead of putting the stuffing inside the bird, experts advise, cook it
separately in a casserole dish.
The National Turkey Federation and USDA suggest following these guidelines
-- along with using a meat thermometer -- when roasting an unstuffed bird:
- 8-12 pounds: 2 3/4 to 3 hours
- 12-14 pounds: 3 to 3 3/4 hours
- 14-18 pounds: 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
- 18-20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
- 20-24 pounds: 4 1/2 to 5 hours
As you prepare for your upcoming celebration, keep these safety and
preparation tips in mind to make sure you enjoy a happy and healthy