Every year the question is asked, Should I cook the stuff inside or outside the Turkey?
Although there is some increase in flavor from the turkey when the stuffing is inside the bird. roasting the Turkey this way requires more attention to detail than if you cook the stuffing in it's own dish and the turkey without being stuffed.
Perhaps the first thing we want to consider during the Holidays is Food Safety. There are many food born illnesses that are preventable if we take simple measures to protect ourselves and our families.
With all the hard work that goes into preparing the Thanksgiving "quake", we want to be sure that no one becomes ill, so here are some tips on how to cook a great dinner safely.
First, Thaw the Turkey in the refrigerator, not on the counter top. Allow 24 hours for each 5 pounds of Turkey. If your Turkey is 15 pounds, plan for it to take 3 days to thaw safely in the refrigerator.
The safest way to cook stuffing is separate from the turkey. Stuffing needs to reach a temperature of 165 degrees to be safe, while the Turkey needs to reach 180 degrees. Trying to get the turkey to 180 degrees and the stuffing inside the Turkey to 165 degrees, can result in an over cooked dry bird.
If you still feel you must stuff the Turkey, it should be stuffed loosely – about 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. Remember, the stuffing needs to be moist, not dry. Heat destroys bacteria faster in a moist environment.
Cook the bird at a setting no lower than 325 degrees. Although some come with a "pop-up" temperature indicator, a meat thermometer must be used to test the temperature at the center of the stuffing (165 degrees, minimum) and the innermost part of the thigh (180 degrees) Juices should run clear , when the thermometer is removed. Let the bird stand for 20 minutes before removing all the stuffing and carving the bird.
Lastly, within two hours of cooking, what is left of the turkey and the stuffing should be refrigerated. Do not make the mistake of leaving them on the table for people to pick at all day. Let them know that if they want more, it is available in the refrigerator.
Have a safe and happy holiday.