Make sure to check the temperature of her turkey so the it"s appropriately cooked prior to you reduced into it.(Image credit: dreamstime)
Whether you"re a seasoned chef or it"s your very first time stuffing a turkey, you likely want the end an outcome to it is in tasty and easy ~ above the belly. Yet also experts admit Thanksgiving dinner deserve to be challenging.

You are watching: How long can uncooked turkey be left out


"It"s a facility meal," said Ben Chapman, food security specialist and assistant professor of food scientific research at north Carolina State University. "You"re food preparation with something you might only cook once or double a year. And also you"re food preparation for a big group. Together a meal, it"s among the persons that"s harder come manage."

Chapman has deciphered myth and family-lore from fact to produce some helpful tips so your meal will certainly at least be safe.

“The best risk comes from undercooking," Chapman said. "You also have to worry about cross-contamination, which can happen when countertops, sinks or tools aren’t gift cleaned properly between use v raw meats and also other foods."


MYTH No. 1: The turkey is cooked once the juices operation clear or when the foot pulls away from the bone.


FACT: "Color is no an indicator of safety and security or doneness," Chapman said.

Turkey juices do change from raw-meat pink to a clear shade as the bird cooks, however that doesn"t equate through safe eating. "That isn"t have to the temperature the the pathogens are eliminated at," Chapman said.

The 2 most typical pathogens associated with turkeys, and also the ones we aim come blast before serving, space Campylobacter and Salmonella, follow to the U.S. Room of agriculture (USDA). This pathogens can"t grow until the temperature access time 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and also they are eliminated off once the thermometer reaches 165 degrees F.


How to measure up a turkey"s doneness: stick a tip-sensitive digital thermometer into perhaps eight come 10 clues on the turkey. If the thermometer reads at least 165 degrees F every around, it have the right to come out. Chapman states to target locations of thick muscle far from the turkey cavity and bone. The bone conducts heat much far better than go the meat and so could give you a false reading.

MYTH No. 2: You need to cool your turkey to room temperature for a while before putting the in the fridge.

FACT: years ago, when people plopped a warm turkey into the refrigerator, the warmth would overload the system and lead to spoiled milk. "This could have to be true 30 year ago, however refrigerators today are now developed to store the temperature constant, so while it can be a little of an energy suck, the safest thing to carry out is get the leftover meat in the fridge within two hours of removing it from the oven," Chapman said.

You can be thinking you"ve already zapped the harmful bacteria in the oven, therefore why the must rush it right into the fridge? transforms out, in between the oven and fridge there"s lots of opportunity because that pathogens to take it up residence in your turkey meat, Chapman said.

"You can kill the Salmonella and also Campylobacter, yet as you"re cut it you can infect the meat with various other pathogens," Chapman said. Because that instance, Staphylococcus aureus lives on many of us approximately our eyes and also nose. But it doesn"t release its toxins till it has a food source, choose turkey meat. Scratching your nose or rubbing an eye while handling the turkey could give the staph a journey onto the food. The cold temperatures in your refrigerator will sluggish down growth, keeping the microorganism at safe levels.

In addition, a few pathogens may have actually survived the cooktop in tiny hideouts and also if offered the chance will take turn off in growth.

MYTH No. 3: The best means to thaw a frozen turkey is in the garage.

FACT: "Not a good idea, due to the fact that you can"t really control the exterior temperature that the turkey," Chapman said, including the turkey"s temperature might climb above 41 degrees F, at which suggest the Salmonella and also Campylobacter can begin to grow.

Thawing the turkey ~ above the counter can it is in problematic, too, together the outside of the bird will certainly reach a different temperature 보다 the inside.

And while over there is no "best" thawing technique, Chapman lists a couple of descent ways: placing the in the fridge, microwave or under cool water. Every methods, however, come with their own risks. Because that instance, you have to make sure the turkey"s center gets thawed when in the refrigerator.

According come the USDA, here are guidelines for thawing a whole turkey in the refrigerator:

4 come 12 pounds: one to 3 days12 to 16 pounds: 3 to four days16 come 20 pounds: four to five days20 to 24 pounds: five to six days

MYTH No. 4: You can safely chef a frozen turkey overnight at a short temperature.

FACT: the low temperature can be just what the harmful bugs must thrive.

"We contact that temperature in between 41 and also 135 levels the danger zone. That"s the temperature the pathogens can flourish at," Chapman called rebab.net. "If you shot to chef a turkey low and long, you may be placing the turkey and pathogens in that hazard zone for as well long, and they"ll grow."

He added, "About 4 hours in that hazard zone, friend can thrive Salmonella and Campylobacter come a level that will certainly make civilization sick." and also you deserve to expect "a nasty couple of days."

MYTH No. 5: as soon as the turkey is safe cooked, your task as safety cook is done.

FACT: new fruits and vegetables have actually been linked to an ext outbreaks the foodborne condition than any kind of other type of food.

Once produce has end up being contaminated, it can be tricky to shake the negative guys, including Salmonella and E. Coli, loose. That"s partly due to the fact that bacteria can type tight-knit areas called biofilms that hang on to fruits and veggies.

Rough surfaces choose those top top cantaloupes and also spinach provide lots of nooks and also crannies whereby pathogens can hang out. Because that cantaloupes, the bacteria can be moved from the surface to the inner tissues when preparing.

You"d desire to scrub together produce an ext thoroughly in cool water. However too intense of a cleaning can bruise or tear the safety skin spanning the food. The an outcome could it is in spoilage and the connected bacteria, follow to the USDA.

The U.S. Food and Drug administration recommends storing produce that is supposed to be preserved cool in the refrigerator at a setting of 40 degrees F or below. And also toss out any kind of bruised or slightly rotting fruits and also serve her fresher goods.

See more: How Many Calories In 3 Scrambled Eggs (Scrambled), 3 Scrambled Eggs With Butter


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Jeanna is the editor-in-chief the Live Science. Previously, she to be an assistant editor in ~ Scholastic"s Science human being magazine. Jeanna has actually an English level from Salisbury University, a master"s level in biogeochemistry and environmental scientific researches from the university of Maryland, and a graduate scientific research journalism degree from brand-new York University. She has operated as a biologist in Florida, whereby she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for threatened species. She also received an s sciences journalism fellowship native Woods feet Oceanographic Institution.