Christmas and New Year's celebrations have many home chefs feeling the pressure of putting together a holiday feast for their family and friends. One of the most daunting centerpiece meats is prime rib – but it doesn't have to be thanks to these tips gleaned from Holiday Boot Camp offered at South Dakota State University (SDSU).

Before any feasting begins, take time to ensure food safety. It begins at the grocery store, where consumers should avoid any packages that are ripped or torn. Remember to keep cold products cold by picking up meat just before checkout, and refrigerating those products upon arriving home.

“Temperature control is the best way to reduce food-borne illness,” explains Stacy Scramlin, SDSU meat scientist.

Three safe thawing practices are refrigeration, cold water or microwave methods.

“Refrigeration is a slow process, but it's the best way to thaw meat because it is kept at a constant cold temperature,” Scramlin says.

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