Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Stuffing Dilemma: Inside or Outside of the Bird?

It's the age old dilemma...should you prepare the stuffing inside or outside the bird. And if you prepare it out, do you have to call it dressing? Either way, with these tips, you're going to love the final results!

In the Bird
Prepare the stuffing according to your favorite recipe. Never stuff a bird until right before you’re ready to roast it because the cavity can provide an environment for growing bacteria. The stuffing should be warm when placed in the turkey so it reaches 165 degrees F (70 degrees C) by the time the bird is done.

Loosely stuff the cavity of the turkey, as the dressing will expand slightly while cooking. Be sure to include the neck cavity. Once stuffed, pull the neck skin up and pin it down with a skewer to enclose the opening. The body cavity opening may be trussed or sewn closed to protect exposed dressing. Another option is to tie the legs back and place a piece of aluminum foil over the opening. Any extra stuffing should be placed in a buttered casserole dish and kept covered and refrigerated until ready to bake.

If the turkey is finished cooking before the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F (70 degrees C), scoop it out and place it in a greased baking dish. Cook it in a microwave on high or bake it at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until it reaches the correct temperature.

Out of the Bird
This one is much easier. Just follow the cooking directions of the stuffing recipe! If it calls for you to cook the stuffing in the bird but you would like to cook it out of the bird. Follow these tips:

1. Grease the cooking dish
2. Cover with foil
3. Cook for half the recommended time and double check the temperature of the stuffing every 5 minutes after the first half of cooking time.
4. Once the stuffing reaches the 165 degrees, remove the foil and bake for a few more minutes for a crispier finish or remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes in foil for a juicier finish.

Looking for some stuffing recipes? Check out a few of our favorites below:
  • Bread and Celery Stuffing
  • Slow Cooker Stuffing
  • Creole Cornbread Stuffing
  • Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
  • Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing
  • Wild Rice Stuffing for Turkey

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