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

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

Chapman has actually deciphered myth and family-lore from fact to develop some useful tips so your meal will at the very least be safe.

“The greatest risk comes from undercooking," Chapman said. "You likewise have to worry around cross-contamination, i beg your pardon can take place when countertops, sinks or tools aren’t gift cleaned properly in between use through raw meats and also other foods."

MYTH No. 1: The turkey is cooked once the juices run clear or once the leg pulls away from the bone.

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

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

The two most typical pathogens linked with turkeys, and the ones we aim come blast before serving, are Campylobacter and also Salmonella, follow to the U.S. Room of farming (USDA). These pathogens can"t grow until the temperature access time 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and also they are killed off when the thermometer reaches 165 degrees F.

How to measure up a turkey"s doneness: rod a tip-sensitive digital thermometer into perhaps eight come 10 spots on the turkey. If the thermometer reads at the very least 165 degrees F every around, it can come out. Chapman states to target locations of thick muscle away from the turkey cavity and also bone. The bone conducts heat much better than does the meat and so might give girlfriend a false reading.

MYTH No. 2: You must cool her turkey come 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 also lead come spoiled milk. "This can have been true 30 year ago, but refrigerators today room now built to keep the temperature constant, for this reason while it can be a little of an power suck, the safest point to execute is acquire the leftover meat in the refrigerator within two hours of removing the from the oven," Chapman said.

You might be thinking you"ve already zapped the harmful bacteria in the oven, for this reason why the have to rush it right into the fridge? transforms out, in between the oven and also fridge there"s several opportunity for pathogens to take up residence in your turkey meat, Chapman said.

"You could kill the Salmonella and Campylobacter, but as you"re cutting it you might infect the meat with various other pathogens," Chapman said. For instance, Staphylococcus aureus resides on many of us approximately our eyes and nose. But it doesn"t release its toxins till it has actually a food source, favor turkey meat. Scratching your sleep or rubbing one eye while dealing with the turkey could give the staph a ride onto the food. The cold temperatures in your refrigerator will slow-moving down growth, keeping the microorganism at for sure levels.

In addition, a couple of pathogens may have actually survived the range in tiny hideouts and if offered the chance will take off in growth.

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

FACT: "Not a good idea, due to the fact that you can"t really regulate the exterior temperature the the turkey," Chapman said, adding the turkey"s temperature could climb above 41 levels F, in ~ which suggest the Salmonella and Campylobacter can begin to grow.

Thawing the turkey ~ above the respond to can be problematic, too, as the external of the bird will certainly reach a different temperature than the inside.

And while over there is no "best" thawing technique, Chapman perform a few descent ways: placing the in the fridge, microwave or under cool water. All methods, however, come through their very own risks. Because that instance, you have to make certain the turkey"s center gets thawed as soon as in the refrigerator.

According to the USDA, here are guidelines for thawing a totality turkey in the refrigerator:

4 come 12 pounds: one to three days12 to 16 pounds: three to 4 days16 to 20 pounds: four to 5 days20 come 24 pounds: 5 to six days

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

FACT: that low temperature could be simply what the harmful bugs need to thrive.

"We contact that temperature in between 41 and 135 levels the risk zone. That"s the temperature the pathogens can thrive at," Chapman called "If you shot to chef a turkey low and long, you might be putting the turkey and pathogens in that risk zone for also long, and also they"ll grow."

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

MYTH No. 5: as soon as the turkey is safely cooked, your project as safety chef is done.

FACT: new fruits and vegetables have actually been connected to much more outbreaks that foodborne illness than any other kind of food.

Once create has become contaminated, it have the right to be tricky come shake the poor guys, consisting of Salmonella and also E. Coli, loose. That"s partly since bacteria can type tight-knit neighborhoods called biofilms the hang on come fruits and veggies.

Rough surfaces favor those ~ above cantaloupes and spinach administer lots of nooks and crannies wherein pathogens have the right to hang out. Because that cantaloupes, the bacteria can be transferred from the surface to the internal tissues when preparing.

You"d desire to scrub such produce more thoroughly in cool water. However too intense of a cleaning might bruise or tear the protective skin extending the food. The an outcome could be spoilage and the associated bacteria, according to the USDA.

The U.S. Food and also Drug management recommends storing develop that is supposed to be kept cool in the refrigerator at a setting of 40 levels F or below. And toss out any kind of bruised or contempt rotting fruits and serve her fresher goods.

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Jeanna is the editor-in-chief the Live Science. Previously, she to be an assistant editor at Scholastic"s Science human being magazine. Jeanna has actually an English level from Salisbury University, a master"s level in biogeochemistry and also environmental sciences from the university of Maryland, and also a graduate science journalism degree from new York University. She has functioned as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for intimidated species. She additionally received an s sciences journalism fellowship native Woods hole Oceanographic Institution.