Another hot topic of cooking the Thanksgiving turkey is the tiny red thermometer found in most frozen, commercially-farmed turkeys. These little thermometers are calibrated to pop up when the internal temperature is reached (usually 180-185°F). But by that time, your turkey will be overcooked. A dedicated (leave in the bird) meat thermometer will give you continuous temperature feedback but only in one location. AC100
Note: these techniques apply to traditional (hot) oven cooked turkey. We will be talking about other ways to cook turkey in future articles.
Consider investing in an instant-read thermometer as well AC131 to help you know when the whole turkey is at temp and ready to be taken out of the oven. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the thigh and deep into the breast (but not too close to the bone) and remove the turkey when the temperature reaches 155-160°F at all parts. You should let the turkey rest at least 30 minutes, and the carry-over cooking will bring the temperature up to 165°F, the proper turkey temperature.
Note: it's also a good idea to take the temperature of your turkey before it is cooked. If you are using a frozen turkey, it should be fully thawed and, for best results, make sure that the starting temperature taken from deep in the breast is 40°F degrees or greater AC131