Thanksgiving cooking safety tips


There are many ways to upset your stomach – and your family – while making Thanksgiving dinner.

A lot of people get scared about cooking turkey, especially if you’re young and never done it before

Stephanie Renken, Showtime Lead at HEB

Experts say it usually takes just four hours for enough bacteria to grow in food to make people sick with food born illness.

A lot of the time people leave their turkey out to thaw. That way it gets in the temperature danger zone between 40 nd 145 degrees – that’s where bacteria can grow. So proper thawing is very crucial to having a good and safe thanksgiving.

Chef Stephen Gonzalez, Cooking Connection Manager at HEB

Turkeys are the trickiest part of Thanksgiving prep. It could take days to thaw a larger turkey in the refrigerator, but if you choose to thaw it in water…

A little bit of cold water. I’d let it go 30 minutes per pound, changing the water every 30 minutes.

Chef Stephen Gonzalez, Cooking Connection Manager at HEB

1. Slow: Thaw in the Refrigerator

Timeline: Allow approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. A 10-pound bird will take about 2 days to thaw completely.

Tips for fridge thawing:

  • Keep the turkey in its original wrapping while it’s thawing.
  • Place breast-side-up in a baking pan to keep any drips from contaminating other foods and refrigerator surfaces.
  • You can hold the thawed turkey in the fridge for up to 2 days before cooking.

2. Medium: Thaw in Cold Water

Timeline: Allow approximately 30 minutes for every pound of turkey. A 10-pound bird will take about 5 hours to thaw completely.

Tips for cold-water thawing:

  • Keep the turkey in its original wrapping, and place it in a larger, leak-proof plastic bag. Squeeze out extra air and seal the bag.
  • Place the sealed bag breast-side down in a sink or bucket large enough so the turkey will be completely submerged. Fill with cold water. You may need to cover the turkey with a plate and place some heavy cans on top of it to keep it totally submerged. Change the cold water every 30 minutes.
  • Cook the turkey immediately after thawing.

It is also possible to use a combination of the two methods: Use the fridge for the first two days of thawing, and finish in the sink early Thanksgiving morning.

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