The most important tip in cooking poultry concerns safety. Raw (uncooked) poultry contains bacteria that can make you sick. The bacteria can be destroyed by cooking (freezing does not kill bacteria). The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) advises consumers to cook raw poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F. If roasting an entire chicken, the temperature should reach 180 degrees as measured in the thigh with a thermometer. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh, without touching bone. Poultry should be roasted at an oven temperature of 350 degrees. Never lower than 325 degrees.
It is extremely important to take care in handling and preparation of poultry. The juices of a chicken can contaminate anything it touches. This means cutting boards, utensils and your hands that touch the chicken should not touch other food or utensils before being washed. Additionally, care should be taken, when placing poultry in the refrigerator, that the juices do not drip onto other food.
Poultry should be refrigerated, frozen or on the stove being cooked at all times. Never leave poultry out on the counter while you attend to other matters. All frozen poultry (and other meat) should be defrosted in the refrigerator. Or you can defrost in cold water. Place the chicken in a plastic bag, seal the bag then place in a bowl of cold water. Replace the water in the bowl every 30 minutes. Never defrost at room temperature.
Poultry should be consumed immediately after cooking. Leftovers should be refrigerated immediately. Use refrigerated leftovers within 3 to 4 days. In the freezer you can keep cooked poultry 3 to 4 months.
- When buying turkey, allow one pound of turkey for each adult person (8 people = 8 pound turkey). This provides a little leftover for later meals.
- Look for a turkey that has a pop up timer. This eliminates all concern of determining when the bird is cooked.
- Rubbing the poultry with salt inside and out before cooking will enhance the flavor.
- For more flavor, season your poultry inside and out with herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage or Tarragon.
- Place a small onion and 4 or 5 cloves of garlic into the body cavity.
- Try our Southern Fried Chicken recipe HERE.