Script: Other Holiday Meats
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home
podcast series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who
purchases and prepares meat, poultry and processed egg products
for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling,
and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping
foods safe during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Gertie Hurley with the Food Safety and Inspection
Service. I’m your host for this segment. With me today is Kathy Bernard, technical information
specialist from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. Kathy and I will discuss safe cooking
of those other holiday meats.
Other holiday meats sometimes share the menu with the turkey. Other times those other
holiday meats are served as an alternative to turkey.
Hello, Kathy. Welcome to the show.
Thank you Gertie. I’m pleased to be here.
No doubt about it, during the holiday season turkey leads the pack as the choice for the
main dish on many dinner tables. Let it be known, however, that turkey is not the only
main dish often served on holiday tables. There are some other main dishes that are also
traditional at holiday gatherings. Some families choose a rib roast, or pork, while others
may serve a crown roast of lamb.
Wild game such as duck, venison or pheasant is also popular, as are goose, Cornish hen,
and organ meats like chitterlings.
Whatever the choice, be sure to have a food thermometer on hand to determine when the
meat has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
Let’s start with the basics, which begin with Clean, Separate, Cook
- Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Separate - Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked
- Cook - Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked.
- Chill - Refrigerate or freeze food promptly.
Roasting is the recommended method for cooking tender meats. To roast, place the meat
on a rack in a shallow, uncovered pan and cook by the indirect dry heat of the oven. To
keep the meat tender and minimize shrinkage due to the evaporation of moisture, cook the
meat in an oven temperature of 325 °F. USDA does not recommend cooking meat or poultry
at oven temperatures lower than 325 °F because these foods could remain in the “Danger
Zone” far too long. The danger zone are temperatures of 40 °F to 140 °F.
Cook beef, veal and lamb, steaks and roasts to a safe minimum internal temperature of
145 °F. All cuts of pork should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160
°F. Poultry, including game birds, should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature
of 165 °F.
Cook rolled, tenderized or scored cuts of beef, buffalo, veal, and lamb to a safe minimum
internal temperature of 160 °F. When cooking chitterlings, boil the chitterlings in water
for 5 minutes BEFORE cleaning and then proceed with cooking.
Wild game killed by you or another hunter has not been federally or state inspected, so
care must be taken to handle it safely. Parasites such as Trichinella and
Toxoplasma may be present. Improper handling can cause bacterial contamination as
well as off-odors.
Dress game in the field right after shooting it. Dressed meat must be chilled as soon
as possible. Keep the game cold – below 40 °F - until it can be cooked or frozen. Cook
the meat to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F. For more information about
wild game, call your state or county extension offices, or visit the FSIS web site at
You can also learn more about safe cooking of other holiday meats by visiting the FSIS
Web site. Or visit us online for assistance from our virtual representative “Ask Karen”
at AskKaren.gov . That’s AskKaren.gov.
Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.
That’s it for this week. We’ve been talking to Kathy Bernard from the USDA Meat and Poultry
Hotline. Thank you so much, Kathy, for your helpful guidance on safe cooking of those
other holiday meats. I’m Gertie Hurley and I’d like to thank you for joining us for this
episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And remember, “Be Food Safe.”
Well, that’s all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode of
food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free meat and poultry hotline
at 1-888-mphotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative
"ask karen" at www.askkaren.gov .
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments to
Thanks for tuning in.