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When is the Turkey Cooked Through?

What should the internal temperature of a turkey be?

Still gobbling or in your oven?

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that the turkey be cooked to a temperature of 165°F (74°C), as measured in the innermost part of the thigh. If the thigh is 165°F, the breast meat is likely to be 10°F hotter. Many cooks would tell you that a turkey roasted to those temperatures is overdone and would taste unacceptably dry.

Cookbook author Madeleine Kamman gives you some latitude if you know how well the turkey has been cared for since its demise. If it has traveled a long distance (and therefore had plenty of time for bacteria to multiply), she suggests at least 170° for the breast. The minimum breast temperature — the point at which bacterial are killed — she says, is 150°F (66°C).

 

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