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How to Clean a Turkey

Be careful to keep everything clean while you prepare to cook your turkey on the big day. Follow a routine that will ensure the turkey is as healthy and delicious.


  • Step 1: Remove neck and giblets Reach inside the neck cavity and remove the neck and giblets. Save them for stock before the cooking starts.
  • TIP: If you can feel ice on the inside of the turkey, set it in cold water until it has completely thawed.
  • Step 2: Rinse it Rinse and clean the turkey thoroughly under cold running water, turning and rubbing to get every part, inside and out.
  • Step 3: Dry and drain Dry the turkey with clean kitchen or paper towels. Set the carcass cavity down so that it drains into the sink.
  • Step 4: Wash everything Wash anything that might have come into contact with the bird after you clean it -- utensils, cutting boards, and your counter top.
  • TIP: Be cautious not to touch or put any cooked food on a plate that held the raw turkey.
  • Step 5: Scrub your hands Avoid touching any surface in the kitchen before scrubbing your hands and forearms to be sure nothing is cross-contaminated.
  • Step 6: Cook the bird Cook and serve your bird, and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • FACT: In 1939, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up one week, to the third week of November, to lengthen the Christmas shopping season.

You Will Need

  • Preparation
  • Care
  • Cleanliness

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