Holiday Cooking School

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Thermometer and Food Safety

Temperature should be your guide to doneness. To assure that the turkey and stuffing have reached a safe temperature, always use a thermometer when you roast turkey. Because there is no visual test for stuffing doneness, the USDA recommends that you not stuff a turkey if you don't have a thermometer.

Checking Turkey Temp
Enlarge Image

Test the stuffed turkey
for doneness with a meat
thermometer set into an
inner thigh muscle and
an instant-read thermometer
set into the center of
the stuffing.

A meat thermometer measures the internal temperature of foods as they cook. These thermometers can be used for larger cuts of poultry, beef, pork, and other meats. Insert a meat thermometer into the food at the beginning of the cooking time, making sure it is not touching bone. When buying a meat thermometer, look for an easy-to-read dial with a stainless-steel face and shatterproof lens. A meat thermometer can be checked for accuracy by submerging at least 2 inches of the stem in boiling water. It should read 212 degrees F. Some thermometers have "test" marks on them at 212 degrees F.

Instant-read thermometers, also known as rapid-response thermometers, measure a wide range of temperatures, typically from 0 degrees F to 220 degrees F. These thermometers are not designed to stay in food during cooking. Pull the food out of the oven, then insert the thermometer into the thickest portion of the food, not touching bone or the pan. The temperature should register in about 15 seconds. Instant-read thermometers can also be checked for accuracy with the boiling water test.

Continued on page 3:  Potatoes and Gravy


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