Here's Why You Should Never Ever Wash a Raw Turkey or Chicken Before You Cook It

That bath you're giving the bird is going to backfire big-time.

Thanksgiving is a death trap. Wait, wait: hear us out. Because while that sounds like hyperbole at first, it’s not so far from the truth once you start counting up the endless number of ways you can ruin your Turkey Day festivities.

Maybe you’ll mess up deep-frying your turkey and burn your entire house to the ground.  You could slice off a finger in front of a crowd in an unfortunate carving accident. You could take a cane to the teeth for talking politics with the wrong relative.

There are so many potential ways to injure yourself that the national death rate actually spikes at the end of November (and continues climbing straight through December).

So, in an effort to limit the number of ways you can harm yourself/your loved ones on the big day, we thought we’d pass along at least one important piece of safety advice from Delish:

Never rinse your turkey before you roast it.

While on the surface cleaning the bird might seem like a sanitary thing to do (who knows what it has touched), all you’re really doing is flinging bacteria all over your kitchen: “Washing an uncooked turkey can splash pathogens, like salmonella…and therefore can lead to serious foodborne illnesses,” the article points out.

Instead, it suggests you simply stick that beautiful bird straight in a hot oven, since the best way to destroy any bacteria on its skin is actually by cooking it to death. (The bacteria, not the turkey. Don’t cook your turkey to death.) Additionally, as with raw chicken, you’ll want to make sure you scrub any and all knives, cutting boards, countertops, and pans that touched the turkey, because cross contamination can be a cruel mistress.

Doing all of that should at least prevent anyone at your dinner from experiencing the painful side effects of food illness. Deep-frying, carving meat, and debating the Electoral College with your great uncle, however, are still at your own risk.

Celebrate with caution.

 

 

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