How to safely cook a turkey? Chef Michael Symon’s foolproof way involves lots of hand-washing

It’s a better-safe-than-sorry situation when working with raw meat. You’re better off cleaning more and taking precautions, such as hand-washing, throughout your cooking process.

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When it comes to food safety, use an instant-read meat thermometer to make sure your Thanksgiving turkey is cooked to minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

When it comes to food safety, use an instant-read meat thermometer to make sure your Thanksgiving turkey is cooked to minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

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One worry that often comes with prepping raw meat — especially a big bird like turkey — is cross-contamination.

But, according to Food Network chef Michael Symon — of “The Chew” and “Iron Chef” — there are a few easy ways to avoid any risk while you prep your Thanksgiving meal.

“No one has ever gotten sick because someone over-cleans,” Symon says.

Celebrity chef Michael Symon has partnered with Ecolab Science Certified for tips on safely preparing and cooking a turkey.

Celebrity chef Michael Symon has partnered with Ecolab Science Certified for tips on safely preparing and cooking a turkey.

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“That’s how I always explain it to the cooks.”

It’s a better-safe-than-sorry situation when working with raw meat. You’re better off cleaning more and taking precautions, such as hand-washing, throughout your cooking process.

Symon, who has partnered with Ecolab Science Certified, which works on consumer safety expectations with food safety, walked us through the step-by-step process to to avoid cross contamination. The process begins with a clean, clear cooking space and washed hands.

How to safely cook a turkey

Step 1: Prepare your cooking area. Cut your vegetables and get out your seasonings and herbs, place them where easily accessible.

Step 2: Take the fully thawed turkey out of its packaging. Dry the turkey with paper towels.

Step 3: Wash your hands.

Step 4: Stuff the turkey’s cavity with your choice of ingredients such as lemons and herbs. (Stuffing is optional.)

Step 5: Wash your hands.

Step 6: Season the entire bird per your favorite recipe.

Step 7: Wash your hands.

Step 8: Put the turkey (in a pan or large bowl) in the fridge on the bottom shelf — by doing so, you avoid any drippings from the bird traveling through your fridge. Leave it uncovered and let it sit overnight to dry the skin.

Step 9: Pull the turkey out of the fridge around an hour before you have to start cooking on Thanksgiving morning. Wash your hands after transferring the bird into a roasting pan if you didn’t use one for the overnight-in-the-fridge step).

Step 10: Cook until the turkey reaches an internal minimum temperature of 165 degrees according to the USDA. Use an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey breast, and innermost area of the stuffing (if your turkey is stuffed) to be sure. (Read manufacturer’s label instructions for correct cooking times or check the USDA website for suggested cook times.)

Step 11: Let it rest for 30 minutes and serve. Enjoy!

NOTE: The USDA also recommends rubbing down surfaces including the sink, cutting boards and counter tops with soap and hot water and then sanitizing them with a cleaning solution to remove any residual germs you cannot see. You can use a homemade solution of one tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. Let air dry.

Read more at usatoday.com

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