Austin Sports Medicine: Holiday Turkey tips

It’s time for another Austin Sports Medicine 101 class! If you’re one of millions of Americans that celebrates Thanksgiving and the holidays with a turkey meal, we’ve got a few answers to those frequently asked questions about everyone’s favorite holiday bird.


  • Roasting a turkey in a disposable aluminum pan isn’t dangerous – EXCEPT in the removing of the pan from the oven. A heavy turkey could cause the pan to buckle under the weight of the bird. Consider investing in a roasting pan that can be used over and over again.
  • Basting a turkey is only performed to produce the golden brown, crispy skin. Keep basting to a minimum and only during the last hour of cook time to prevent heat loss from regular opening of the oven door.
  • According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, turkeys can safely marinate in the refrigerator for up to two days before cooking.
  • There is no discernible difference between a fresh and frozen turkey – follow your individual preference.
  • If the turkey is fully cooked, but the meat is pink close to the bone, it likely means that the bird was very young and had immature porous bones that allowed the hemoglobin to leach out into the meat. As long as the meat was fully cooked and the minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees was reached, the meat is safe to eat.
  • Cooking stuffing inside of the turkey runs the risk of not reaching a safe bacteria-killing temperature of 165 degrees. Stuffing baked outside of the bird (also called dressing) is an equally delicious alternative.
  • Leftover turkey, gravy and stuffing should be eaten within one month of being frozen.
  • U.S.-raised turkeys are not injected with growth hormones.
  • There is not a significant amount of tryptophan in a typical serving of turkey to cause an abnormal increase in sleepiness. If you feel tired after the holiday meal, it’s likely the result of an unusually high amount of carbohydrate calories.
  • Turkey and other leftovers should not be allowed to sit out for more than two hours. After that period of time, they are much more susceptible to bacteria that cause foodborne illness.

If you have questions or have needs regarding sports medicine in Austin or the surrounding areas, visit us at, call or send us an email!