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How to cook the perfect turkey (without poisoning the family)
Thursday, 24 December · 2 min read

If you’re in charge of cooking the turkey tomorrow, you may be feeling the pressure. Will you get it all done in time? Will it be perfectly seasoned? How will you make sure it’s not dry?

We’re a health app, so we can’t do much to answer those 3 questions. Sorry. But we can help you make sure you don’t do anything while preparing the turkey that could accidentally lead to food poisoning.

Follow this 6-step plan to safely prepare a turkey of any size.

  1. Defrost. The safest way to do so is in the fridge (never at room temperature). Place the turkey in a container and store at the bottom of your fridge so it can’t drip onto other foods. Allow 10 to 12 hours per kilogram.

  2. Prepare. Wash your hands and all surfaces that come into contact with the bird. Don’t wash the turkey itself because doing so can spread bacteria as water splashes off it.

  3. Stuff. The safest way to prepare stuffing is to cook it separately. But if you want to stuff the bird, allow extra time for it to cook and use a food thermometer to check it has reached 74C/165F.

  4. Cook. Set the oven to 162C/325F. Guidelines suggest you should allow:

  • 45 minutes per kg, plus 20 minutes, for a turkey under 4.5kg
  • 40 minutes per kg for a turkey that's between 4.5kg and 6.5kg
  • 30 minutes per kg for a turkey that weighs more than 6.5kg
  1. Check. Make sure that the juices run clear when you pierce it, that the meat is steaming hot all the way through, and that there's no pink meat when you cut into the thickest part of the bird (which should have reached at least 70C/158F for 2 minutes).
Quote of the day

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.

Harriet Van Horne, American columnist

Tips on storing and reusing leftover turkey safely
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