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View Poll Results: To Stuff or Not to Stuff?
yes 11 55.00%
no 9 45.00%
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Old 11-08-2004, 03:02 PM   #1
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To Stuff or Not to Stuff?

I've heard arguments both for stuffing a chicken or turkey and against it.

On one hand, I've heard that the steam from the stuffing helps to keep the bird moist.

On the other, I've been told that stuffing makes it take longer for the internal cavity to heat up - causing the rest of the bird to dry out while you wait for the inside to reach the right temperature.

Can anyone settle this debate for me once and for all?


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Old 11-08-2004, 03:12 PM   #2
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I'm a stuffer. This should be a good debate

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Old 11-08-2004, 03:12 PM   #3
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I don't think anyone will settle this "once and for all", Ruth! There's aficianados for both methods, and both will swear theirs is the only way for various reasons.

I usually "stuff" with a few aromatic veggies and bake the bread stuffing outside the bird, but I also love the moisture content of stuffing cooked "en bird". You can always douse dry meat with extra lashings of gravy.
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Old 11-08-2004, 03:41 PM   #4
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Strictly based on tradition, we'll be stuffing this year. I like my stuffing on the dry side (strange, I know) so I'd rather it be cooked outside of the turkey, but others in my family like it really mushy-moist, so we have the stuffed stuffing and the stuffing that's baked in a pan, keeping everyone happy.

Yes, MJ, I'm predicting this thread will last several pages!
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Old 11-08-2004, 04:00 PM   #5
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There are some undeniable scientific facts that need to be considered.

Stuffing cooked within the bird is unsafe to eat until it reaches 165 degrees. Plain and simple. Otherwise it's a potential salmonella stew.

If you cook your turkey with the stuffing inside until the stuffing reaches 165, chances are the turkey meat will be overcooked.

If your turkey is cooked to correct temp and your stuffing has not reached 165 degrees, you should not eat it. You should remove it all from the bird, put in a baking dish and bake until it reaches sufficient temp.

I just find it easier to cook it outside the turkey but use the giblet broth to make it so it tastes quite TOOTHSOME.

Plus I always brine my turkey so a moist and juicy turkey is never a problem.
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Old 11-08-2004, 05:28 PM   #6
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Welcome to the site, Ruth!

While I will stuff the turkey cavity full of onions and apples, etc., the stuffing itself is cooked outside the bird. Typically two types: bread-sage stuffing and cornmeal-based oyster dressing.
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Old 11-08-2004, 08:47 PM   #7
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I vote to stuff the bird! I like mine "reasonably" moist, but not mushy...but this is usually achievable by quantities of ingredients (whether you use stale breadcrumbs or fresh bread, how much butter, onion, stock, etc)

Fifty years of eating stuffed turkeys, chickens, ducks and geese (and, on occaision pork roasts with stuffing, too, now that I think of it!) and never once observed any instance of food poisoning due to "undercooked stuffing"! (And yes, had my share of undercooked chicken and turkey; actively advocate "undercooking" pork!)

"Chance"? I think not!

On the other hand, when you remove the bird from the oven, the first chance you have, you remove ALL...as in every last vestige of your (bread) stuffing from the bird...because NOT doing this can and will lead to botulism or some other such dread disease (not a physician, so am not giving diagnosis, here!), so it is my practise to remove the stuffing and foil it over, even keeping it in the oven, if the bird comes out that early...

As when I use chicken innards (giblets, liver, heart, neck meat) for a step up in my bread stuffing recipe(s) these are already cooked...and ground up...bread, margerine, onion, seasonings, celery, carrot, garlic, soya sauce, bran, etc, can all be eaten, safely, either raw or cooked, so where the issue is with overcooking the whole lot, I'm not sure...

Perhaps you can explain better?

I think your information is flawed, myself...

For the rest of the readership, remember what Audeo has posted elsewhere about "never believe what you read on the InterNet, unless you back it up elsewhere"...so this is a piece of debate...

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Old 11-08-2004, 09:23 PM   #8
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I am firmly in the don't stuff category. A quick look at the cooking times for a stuffed vs an unstuffed bird tells you everything you need to know.

The heat has to go through the meat to heat the stuffing. Consequently, the meat get hotter than the stuffing and will always be drier than an unstuffed bird.

I have settled on brining the turkey and cooking it empty. I make stuffing and cook it along side the bird. If I want crispy stuffing, I leave the pan uncovered. If I want it moist, I cover the pan with foil.

Check out Alton Brown's Thanksgiving turkey recipe, it's a winner.

BTW, do you call it dressing when it's cooked outside the bird?
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Old 11-08-2004, 10:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your responses so far. What I thought would be a relatively simple questions seems to be turning into quite a debate!

But since I was getting such a mixed response and still being unsure which way to go, I decided to try a middle of the road approach for last night's dinner. I tried Audeo's idea and stuffed my chicken with large chunks of apples and onions and made a sausage and apple stuffing outside the bird. The chicken came out very moist and absolutely delicious! The stuffing, while also tasty, was a bit dry and I think a bit lacking from not having the chicken juices seeping in. Next time I roast a chicken I think I'll try with the stuffing in the bird and then the following time without... I'll let you guys know how it turns out.

I'm still curious though, does the stuffing need to reach 165 degrees if it doesn't have any eggs or other uncooked ingredients?
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Old 11-08-2004, 10:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Andy M.
Check out Alton Brown's Thanksgiving turkey recipe, it's a winner.
Where could I find this recipe. I love Alton Brown and his scientific cooking explanations.

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