Smart stuffing: why not to stuff it in your turkey

Verify: How to make safe stuffing

Chef Tim McCoy is one of the pros at the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking.  He teaches the professional chefs the skills of his profession.

He also teaches serving-safety, plus sanitation rules and regulations from the Health Department.

His Turkey Day tips to keep your family safe:

- Don't cook the stuffing inside the turkey.  Chances are they won't cook up to the correct 165 degree safety temperature at the same time.  So you'll either get undercooked turkey and overcooked stuffing or vice versa.

- Undercooked stuffing can contain salmonella that may have come from the turkey and make the whole family sick.  

- If you're tied to tradition, he says you can start the stuffing in the turkey, but then pull it out, put it in a roasting pan and finish it off in the oven.  Make sure it hits 165 or better if you do this.

- Use a proper food thermometer to measure temperature.  Don't depend on the one that comes with the turkey.  It may be accurate for one part of the turkey but not others.

- Always check temperature in breast and in the meatiest part of the thigh.  That section usually takes longest to cook.  If the breast is at the right temp but the legs are not, just take them off and put them back in the oven while the rest of the bird rests, so the juices can redistribute.

- NEVER let food stay out in the open more than two hours.  If you have late comers, that's what microwaves are for.  

- When you put the stuffing away, use a flat container.  It takes awhile to cool so if you store it in a bowl it may take too long to cool in the middle and McCoy says organisms can begin to grow.

If you want to learn how to make stuffing from scratch like our viewer Stacy Hune did, just click on the video below.

Happy Thanksgiving! 


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