The new rules for cooking a bird
This is the first Thanksgiving since the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its recommended minimum internal temperature for cooking...
Seattle Times staff reporter
This is the first Thanksgiving since the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its recommended minimum internal temperature for cooking poultry.
Holiday Cuisine 2006
Main dish recipes
- Nancy's Oven-Roasted Turkey with Gravy
- The Spouse's Smoked Turkey
- Prime Rib of Beef with Horseradish Sauce or Au Jus
- Cherry-Sauced Ham
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Dried Fruit and Hickory-Baked Tofu
- Sweet and Spicy Pecans
- Hot Salsa-Baked Cheese Dip
- Smoked Salmon Rolls with Arugula, Mascarpone, Chives and Capers
Side dish recipes
- Chestnut Salad with Pecans and Pancetta
- Chestnut Stuffing
- Green Beans with Walnut Oil and Thyme
- Roasted Cipolline Onions with Fig Balsamic Vinegar
- Thyme-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Gratin of Winter Root Vegetables
- Frango Chocolate Cheesecake
- Pecan Tart Cookies
- Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Maple Drizzle
- Pumpkin Tart with Gingersnap Crust
Dining & takeout options
After years of advocating an internal cooking temperature of 180 degrees for turkey, the new minimum internal temperature is 165 degrees. That means that, for safety, a temperature of 165 degrees must be reached in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. If the turkey is stuffed, that temperature must also be reached in the center of the stuffing.
Turns out, officials based their previous recommendations on doneness, rather than food safety alone, said Tara Balsley, a Food Safety and Inspection Service spokeswoman.
So, for palatability preferences, cooks may want to cook poultry beyond the new minimum.
This season, we have seen a variety of internal cooking temperatures and cooking advice touted in magazines and recipe publications.
Although some cooks like to take meat out of the oven prior to it reaching the recommended internal temperature and let the temperature rise during the "resting time," Diane Van, manager of the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, said the agency does not recommend this for turkey. She said the bird should be left in the oven until it reaches the 165-degree reading on a meat thermometer.
Although the USDA has changed the temperature requirements, their official cooking chart (shown at right) does not reflect a change in the "approximate cooking times."
Van said the agency has not conducted the necessary tests to update that information, so she recommends that cooks consider the time as approximate and begin testing for the desired doneness, using a meat thermometer, before that time.
The new cooking temperature is the result of a study the agency conducted last year following an outbreak of salmonella in Minnesota and Michigan. Consumers there ate microwavable chicken meals that appeared ready-to-eat but contained poultry that actually required more cooking.
Sharon Lane, Food editor, contributed to this article.
Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or email@example.com