Thanksgiving Day preparations can be stressful, especially when it comes to the turkey. Whether you’re cooking dinner on your boat, frying a turkey on the dock with your slip neighbors, or preparing a feast at your house, here are some essential safety guidelines to follow.

  • After shopping or preparing food, make sure you refrigerate or freeze perishable food within two hours.
  • When it comes to thawing in the fridge, allow 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of meat.
  • You can also submerge the turkey in cold tap water to thaw. Make sure the turkey is in a container that won’t leak, and change the water every 30 minutes until thawed.
  • Do NOT thaw meat on the counter. It’s not safe.
  • If you’re cooking stuffing inside the turkey, confirm that the stuffing reaches the temperature necessary to kill potentially harmful bacteria. 

According to the USDA, you should cook an 8-12lb turkey for 2.5-3 hours and a 12-14lb turkey for 3-4 hours. 

If you suspect that food poisoning has occurred and need to contact the Palmetto Poison Center, call 1-800-222-1222. 

Stay safe, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!