Cooking

  1. Is it safer to cook stuffing separately?
  2. What color should the skin be?
  3. Is it safe to eat turkey meat that's pink?
  4. Can a turkey be roasted overnight at a low temperature?
  5. Can I partially roast my whole turkey the day before and complete the roasting just before the meal?
  6. How can I tell if meat is grilled thoroughly?

Is it safer to cook stuffing separately?

We recommend preparing stuffing separately.

What color should the skin be?

Skin color of raw turkey ranges from off-white to cream-colored. Under the skin, color can vary from pink to lavender-blue, depending on the amount of subcutaneous fat. When testing doneness of cooked turkey, rubbery pink meat and pink juices are a sign that the turkey needs more cooking time. If the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 180° F at the thickest part of the thigh, the juices have no pink color and the meat is tender but has a pink color, it should be safe to eat. The pink color in safely cooked turkey is due to the hemoglobin in its tissues, which can form a heat-stable color. This can occur with smoked, grilled or oven-cooked turkey. See the next question for more information.

Is it safe to eat turkey meat that's pink?

The color of cooked meat and poultry isn't always a good indicator of doneness. Using a meat thermometer is the only accurate way to determine that meat has reached a safe temperature. Turkey, fresh pork, ground beef or veal can remain pink even after cooking to temperatures of 160° F and higher. Smoked turkey meat is always pink.

Can a turkey be roasted overnight at a low temperature?

For food-safety reasons, the turkey industry doesn't recommend roasting a turkey at a temperature lower than 325° F, where harmful bacteria thrive.

Can I partially roast my whole turkey the day before and complete the roasting just before the meal?

For food-safety reasons, The National Turkey Federation does not recommend partially roasting a whole turkey. Partially cooked meat and stuffing are ideal mediums for bacteria growth.

How can I tell if meat is grilled thoroughly?

Meat and poultry cooked on the grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a meat thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature. Whole poultry should reach 180° F; breasts, 170° F. Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later. Cook food completely to destroy harmful bacteria.