DON’T thaw your turkey at room temperature, in the sink or on the kitchen counter.
DO thaw your turkey on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator based on its weight (read the outer turkey wrapping for time/weight instructions).
DON’T under cook the turkey.
DO use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey has reached 165 degrees (check temperature in several places including the breast).
DON’T rinse the turkey in the sink.
DO wash your hands, the counter, the cutting board and any knives or tools thoroughly after preparing the turkey for the oven. (DON’T prepare any other food until you have done so.)
DON’T keep your turkey dinner out of the proper temperature range for more than two hours.
DO ensure your leftovers are in shallow pans, made into smaller portions and not left to cool in the crockpot before you put them into the refrigerator to keep. It’s not just the turkey! Be careful with rice, soup, chili, stuffing, vegetables and potatoes, cheese dishes, desserts with creams or custards or fruits – really just everything you serve for any holiday gathering.
DON’T keep leftovers for more than five days.
DO eat your leftovers within a few days, and ensure all leftovers are heated thoroughly before serving.