Talking Turkey: How To Safely Cook Your Bird

With health experts advising Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving with only members of their households this year, more first time chefs are stepping into the kitchen, and that can spell disaster. NBC's Sarah Dallof reports.

(NBC News) — With health experts advising Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving with only members of their households this year, more first time chefs are stepping into the kitchen.

Dr. Mindy Brashears with the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the first step is to thaw your bird.

Figure 24 hours in the fridge for every four to five pounds of turkey, and cook to 165 degrees, using a meat thermometer.

“We measure that in the thickest part of the breast of the turkey, or under the thigh or under the wings,” Dr. Brashears says.

Smaller gatherings may result in larger helpings of leftovers.

Dr. Brashears recommends refrigerating those within two hours and eating them within four days to avoid food-borne illness.

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