Thanksgiving is days away at this point, which means all of us need to start figuring out what’s on the menu and, most importantly, how we are going to prepare our main dish: the turkey!
Whether you bake or bbq your turkey — or any other method in between the two, there is one preparation step that you should definitely skip.
Whatever you do, don’t rinse off your turkey!
It might feel pretty natural to rinse the slime off the giant bird before you start coating it in butter and herbs, but it’s actually the worst thing you can do.
The USDA states that rinsing off a turkey before cooking it does not rid the bird of bacteria, like a lot of people assume.
In fact, washing off the bird can do the opposite and increase the change of bacteria spreading.
“Many consumers think that washing their turkey will remove bacteria and make it safer,” Donna Karlsons wrote on the USDA website. “However, it’s virtually impossible to wash bacteria off the bird. Instead, juices that splash during washing can transfer bacteria onto the surfaces of your kitchen, other foods and utensils. This is called cross-contamination, which can make you and your guests very sick.”
It’s the same reason people stopped cooking their stuffing inside the bird.
So, how do you get rid of the bacteria, then? Luckily that happens naturally during the cooking process.
“The only way to destroy bacteria on your turkey is to cook it to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit measured with a food thermometer,” Karlsons wrote. “Some chefs prefer to cook to a higher temperature for flavor and texture. Therefore, you don’t need to wash your turkey, but you will need a food thermometer on Thanksgiving Day.”
So, if it’s your first time cooking a turkey this year — or even if it’s your 30th time cooking a turkey — this is one step that you can definitely skip this year!