Thaw the turkey in its original wrap on a tray placed in the bottom section of the refrigerator. Allow about 24 hours of defrost time for every 5 pounds of turkey. For example: A 20-pound turkey will take 4 to 5 days to thaw.
Use a meat thermometer. Dark meat takes longer to cook, so always insert the thermometer in the thickest, innermost part of the turkey thigh without touching the bone. A whole turkey and turkey parts are safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is safe to eat at this point, but some consumers, for reasons of personal preference, may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
Remember to remove the giblet bag from inside the turkey.
Keep hands, sinks, counters, utensils and platters thoroughly clean with soap and hot water before and after working with raw turkey.
Eat and enjoy your turkey after letting it sit for at least 20 minutes to make it easier to carve. Bonus tip: Check to make sure your carving knife is sharp. Dull knives can lead to accidental injuries. Use a carving fork to keep your fingers out of the way of the carving knife.
You can safely keep leftover turkey in your
refrigerator for three to four days, plenty of time for after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches.
Info courtesy of illinois.edu