Why You Should Never Rinse a Turkey

There are many misconceptions regarding the preparation of Thanksgiving turkey, but none is more dangerous than the turkey-washing myth. Raw poultry can contain dangerous microbes like salmonella, and it’s not uncommon for home cooks to rinse their meat under cold water in an effort to wash away those pathogens. The intentions might be good, but this is the greatest turkey sin you can commit…….other than maybe overcooking your bird. The reason you should never rinse your turkey is because there’s no guarantee that all of the nasty stuff on the outside is going down the drain. In fact, the only thing rinsing does is spread potentially harmful microbes around. In addition to getting bacteria on your hands and clothes, rinsing can contaminate countertops, sink handles, and even the surrounding air. To lower your chances of contracting salmonella, thaw your bird in the refrigerator, minimize contact with it before it goes into the oven, and give it plenty of time to cook. To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, wash your hands frequently and wash the plates, knives, and other tools that have come in contact with the turkey before using them again. Also, cook the stuffing OUTSIDE the turkey, rather than shoving it inside the cavity and creating a salmonella bomb.