Thawing the turkey is usually the first step in meal preparation, but it can be tricky. There are three methods of safely thawing a turkey: in a container in the refrigerator, in a sealed plastic bag in a sink of regularly changed cold water, or the microwave. One of the biggest mistakes cooks make when handling thawed, raw turkey is to wash it in the sink before starting the cooking process. This practice spreads bacteria present in the meat and does nothing to prevent food poisoning. The bacteria can infect prep surfaces, utensils, and other foods. Never cook a turkey at less than 325 degrees. Use a thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast before serving.
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