If turkey, ham, roast or other animal protein is on your menu over the holidays, now is a good time to make certain your food thermometers are giving you accurate readings. HACCP Mentor advises using either the boiling water method or the ice water slurry method to check your thermometers. A thermometer in boiling water should read 212˚F (at altitudes below 1000 feet) and a thermometer in an ice slurry should read 32˚F, with a two-degree margin of error. If you aren’t already calibrating your thermometers daily, remember to do so before using a new one, after dropping it, or if you use it for testing both very hot and very cold foods.
Will a turkey, roast or ham be the focal point of your holiday table? Your eye won’t be able to tell if it is cooked to perfection or if it could pose a safety threat to your guests, so put your trust in your food thermometer. According to the USDA, a turkey is cooked when the innermost part of the thigh and wing, as well as the thickest part of the breast, reach a minimum internal temperature of 165˚F. Beef, whether a roast, tenderloin or steak, must reach an internal temperature of 145˚F and be allowed to rest for at least three minutes after cooking. Fresh or smoked ham must be cooked to an internal temperature of 145˚F and allowed to rest for at least three minutes, while pre-cooked, reheated ham should reach an internal temperature of 165˚F.