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Stuffing a Turkey Overnight

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  • Zach Georgopoulos Nov 20, 2003 03:28 PM
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My family has decided to descend upon my new apartment this Thanksgiving, so that puts me in charge of the Turkey. I thought I'd try making it on a Farberware rotisserie, and I will need to truss the turkey up tightly so it doesn't fall apart on the spit. Ideally, I'd like to have it seasoned and trussed the night before, so I don't waste time on Thanksgiving morning, and to let the seasonings work in while the turkey rests in the refridgerator. However, trussing it the night before would mean putting the raw stuffing in as well. Ths seems dangerous -- e.g., letting a bunch of uncooked rice and stuff sit inside a raw turkey overnight _could_ lead to bacteria breeding that may not go away with cooking, I would think. Has anybody had a good or bad experience with stuffing a turkey the night before?

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  1. Don't do it. Season it if you'd like, but don't stuff it in advance.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AlanH

      you should never stuff a turkey with uncooked stuffing. It never gets above 140f in the cavity. cook the stuffing and put it in the turkey after it comes out, it tastes the same.

    2. I'm weird about putting the stuffing in the turkey at all. But thats just me.

      1. Do. Not. Stuff. In. Advance.

        1. z
          Zach Georgopoulos

          OK -- my suspicions are confirmed -- I will not stuff the turkey overnight...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

            Very smart decision!

          2. How long will a turkey take, 7-9 hours ?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Alan
              z
              Zach Georgopoulos

              On the rotisserie? According to the handy-dandy Farberware book (published in the '60s) it should take between 4 and 5 hours (for an 8 to 10 lb. turkey). I've made some really good roasts on this thing, but have never used it for fowl. I figure I'll be OK if I keep taking the temperature with my high-tech digital thermometer...

            2. Maybe we just live dangerously in my family, but my 75 year old mother has been stuffing the turkey the night before for over 50 years - and we are all still alive to do the same!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Barbara

                It seems to me that if you cook your stuffing and then let it cool thoroughly before putting it in the bird to sit in the fridge overnight it should be OK. Problems arise putting warm stuffing in a cold bird or not cooking the stuffing beforehand.

                That said, I make stuffing outside.

              2. Try calling the Butterball hotline and see what they have to say.

                1. n
                  Natasa Sevoleva

                  "Stuffing is Evil" say certain 'authorities'.

                  These same 'authorities' also keep repeating themselves and end up stating their own points out of context. It is traditional for most home cooks, mom, gramma, auntie, etc, to cook a roast, whether turkey or beef or pork or whatever, until there is nothing but pure protein left. If this is a decided cooking method (I understand you are using a modern rotisserie machine) then stuffing a turkey with the dressing a few DAYS before shouldn't give you any problems at all. Barbara below states that her "75 year old mother has been stuffing the turkey the night before for over 50 years - and we are all still alive to do the same!" I haven't yet been invited over for Turkey dinner, but I suspect that a thermometer isn't a cooking tool her "75 year old mother" employs in the cooking of the bird.

                  The point is most foodie "authorities" claim (in context) that if a moist turkey is WANTED, including a moist breast, internal temperatures should not exceed XXX degrees F. If you are a 'modern' cook and trust that your store bought thermometer will do you good at reading the precise temp you choose to cook your roast, then 'stuffing is evil" because the internal temp of the stuffing will never reach that ‘kill all bacteria’ point at the Same Time the breast and the rest of the turkey reaches THEIR optimal point. If you do it the 'old fashioned way' and cook it "thoroughly through" all the way (perhaps using some other cooking technique or family secret - like bacon wrapped roast or something like that to keep it moist) then who cares if the roast reached above 190 degrees F to assure or ensure the full cooking of the stuffing inside, therefore creating no problem with bacteria, like salmonella, etc.

                  I, for my family, choose to use a thermometer and I do not stuff the bird, if only because it gets scooped out into a bowl before the carving anyway. So what's the point other than one less thing to bake off?

                  1. I'm still confused about why one shouldn't make the stuffing the night before? If you refrigerate it and then stuff your turkey right before roasting? why is this dangerous or bad?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MimiBet

                      What you just described is different - the OP wanted to stuff and truss the bird, then let it wait overnight. But even if all they wanted to do is make the stuffing ahead and keep it (separately) overnight, think about two things: the fragility of the ingredients (are there oysters? eggs? milk?) and the bulk of the stuffed bird (if the stuffing is chilled, the bird will be burnt to a cinder before the stuffing inside gets hot enough to cook).