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Nov 16, 2008 08:13 PM

Can you stuff a rotisserie chicken?

Hey Hounders - I'm thinking of doing a chicken for my small Thanksgiving of 2. I'd love to do a chicken instead of a turkey for size with bread stuffing, but since we're blessed with So. Cal's great weather I was thinking it would be fun to do it on the outdoor rotisserie. Can you put a stuffed bird on the rotisserie? Has anyone tried it and do you have any tips/recipes/links that could guide me in this mad quest? Thanks!

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  1. stuffing in general is a terrible idea. you put the stuffing in the chicken and it becomes contaminated. The only way the stuffing is safe to eat is for it to reach a temp of 165. By the time the stuffing reaches that temp the chicken will have reached 200 and be dry and terrible. Please don't stuff the bird.
    As long as you are grilling why not put some lemon and herbs in the chicken for flavor purposes only. Then grill a bunch of marinaded vegetables. Instead of stuffing make a bread salad using maybe tomatoes and basil with olive oil and vinegar or lemon. Even add a little chicken stock to the bread salad if you want something meatier.

    10 Replies
    1. re: keith2000

      I wouldn't think to roast a turkey unstuffed. Stuffing tastes SO much better after it's sat inside that bird and roasted along w/ it. That's my most fave part of the meal. I've never known, or heard of, anyone getting sick from contaminated stuffing. JMHO.

      I also stuff my roast chickens from time to time too.

      1. re: lynnlato

        Totally agree. Stuffing does NOT get contaminated when you stuff it in the bird. The issue is around using raw eggs in the stuffing and having it take a very long time to come up to temp. The solution is to preheat the stuffing in the microwave. No safety issue and as lynnlato says, you can't beat the taste of stuffing in the bird.

        1. re: lynnlato

          You may never have heard of anyone you know getting sick from it, but it is not uncommon.

          Stuffing a turkey is not the best idea for that reason (potential food poisoning), but you also have to roast the bird for much longer than it should be just to get the stuffing cooked through in the very center. In other words by the time the stuffing is done, the breast meat is far beyond dry. This leads to the common belief that turkey is inherently dry when in actuality it is almost always overcooked.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            As I stated, the rec (which came from Cooks Ill) is to preheat the stuffing in the microwave. No more health issues. I also recently saw Alton Brown do the same thing

            1. re: bnemes3343

              Good point. But you don't think that the addition of stuffing in the bird stops airflow around the inside of the cavity? The meat closest to the bone cooks slower anyway. When you then add stuffing to the inside of the cavity you obviously are preventing airflow from reaching the cavity and cooking the bird from that point as well.

              Listen, to each their own, but I find the turkey cooks much faster, and produces a better end result when it is not stuffed. I'm not one of these roast the turkey for 5 hours kind of people, that's just ridiculous.

              1. re: HaagenDazs

                An alternative that I've done with chickens (and I don't see why you couldn't do it with a 12 lb turkey) is to butterfly the bird and elevate it on an inverted roasting rack with the stuffing below the bird in a foil dish. This way you get the drippings of the bird on the stuffing and you would still have your air cavity.

                1. re: HaagenDazs

                  We've always done our turkey on the grill, not rotisserie but indirect on a Weber charcoal grill, and a 20-24 pound turkey takes two hours flat. Stuffing would increase the time by a lot, and more importantly, not allow the inside to seal the juices into the turkey in the high heat. I imagine a stuffed bird would taste wonderful,but to me it's too much extra work and too much more time for too little benefit. My dressing is always really good and it's never seen the inside of a bird. A big handful of herbs, salt and pepper are just perfect for the turkey on the grill.

              2. re: HaagenDazs

                I've never had a problem w/ dry turkey. I don't put egg in my stuffing, just bread, celery, onion, butter, chix stock, sage and s&p. I don't see how the stuffing is any different from the meat closest to the bone. If the turkey is sufficiently cooked, than it shouldn't be a problem. I think it all has to do w/ a bunch of fear-mongering back in the day and it's just stuck. Kind of like when your mom would tell you if you keep crossing your eyes they'll eventually stay that way - then, as an adult, you tell your kids the same thing. Ha!

                I follow Thomas Keller's very basic roast chicken method - high heat less time in the oven and no butter, oil, etc. Just s&p. Produces a moist turkey (or chicken) every time.

                1. re: lynnlato

                  HUH? You don't see how the stuffing is any different that the meat closest to the bone? What's that supposed to mean?

                  If you've never had a problem with dry turkey, what temperature do you cook your bird to? I do assume you use a thermometer?

                  Anyway, if you are referring to some old wives tales, then I challenge you to start eating raw chicken and turkey and I'll eat the cooked variety and we'll see who gets sick first. This isn't some made up scare tactic, this is food poisoning that will put you on the bathroom floor for days or in the hospital. There is a real risk of salmonella poisoning.

                  Look, the basic fact is that raw chicken and turkey and it's juices have to potential to give you food poisoning, especially the mass processed, grocery store variety. Whether or not you are willing to risk that is up to you, but the stuffing should be cooked until the temp reaches 165 to be safe. The inherent problem there is that by the time the stuffing reaches 165, the turkey, especially the breast meat, is overcooked. The breast meat is done at 160 for instance.

            2. re: keith2000

              I am sorry, but I do not agree with your comment, I have tried the "un"stuffed chicken, and well Blah, I do believe that the fresh herbs and veggies added to the stuffing adds flavor to the chicken, and the chicken's natural juices add flavor to the stuffing! Also, my chicken ALWAYS comes out moist, (adding an herbed up butter under the skin is my trick), and NEVER, EVER has anyone been ill after eating my stuffed chicken, turkey, pork, and yes even cabbage or bell peppers! Stuffing is just one of the greatest ideas for enhancing certain meals, so I say to the masses of want to be home Chefs, "KEEP STUFFING THOSE BIRDS!" (Or whatever else you desire to stuff). Enjoy your meals as your mother, her mother and women across this great nation has prepared them! Ok so maybe I went a tad bit over the top with my writing, button, blogging "Stuffing is a terrible idea" and then stating "Please don't stuff the bird" well that is crazy talk, so I too went a little crazy, now is am grounded, enjoy your chicken, no matter how you decide to prepare it.

            3. I'm not sure how fast a chicken cooks on the spit. Cooks Illustrated recommends that if you stuff a turkey you microwave the stuffing so it is very hot when it goes in the bird, but I don't know if the different timing would make it safe.

              10 Replies
              1. re: sheiladeedee

                So Sheiladeedee, given yours and Keith2000's comments above, at least for the safety thing, it seems like you could cook the stuffing in the bird and then take it out and nuke it to kill any contamination. But my real question is about is it possible to take a bird that is stuffed and put it on a rotisserie to cook. Anyone know? Thanks.

                1. re: PinotPlease

                  I wouldn't do it simply because of the cooking aspect of it as mentioned above. Contamination and over-cooked meat.

                  But... it is surely possible to do - why not? Just make sure you seal up the cavity openings with string and/or metal pins so you don't lose any of the stuffing to the grill gods. Light the fire and spin it up as usual.

                  Frankly, I don't see the dilema of trying to get it onto the spit. Just stuff the thing and put it on there!

                  1. re: PinotPlease

                    Don't know how the logistics of this would work because I don't have an outdoor rotisserie, just the Showtime electric one (you know, "Set it and forget it!") but can you place a disposable roasting pan full of baked stuffing directly under the chicken while it's cooking on the rotisserie? I've done this with par-cooked potatoes in my indoor machine and the fat and juices drip down over the potatoes to make a great dish. If it's something you can do, you wouldn't have to worry about keeping the stuffing at a safe temperature and you would infuse it with all the yummy drippings. Does this seem plausible?

                      1. re: Deenso

                        When the chicken is cooking, say in your oven, stuffed, is that what it's being infused with? I'm thinking if it was underneath and it was drippings it would be oily because it's getting the direct fat from the skin. But then, isn't it more the juices of the flesh hydrating and flavoring the bird when it's stuffed? I worry about greasy stuffing. Have you ever tried this with stuffing?

                        1. re: PinotPlease

                          I haven't tried it - it was only a theory. And I've never stuffed a bird for roasting in the oven, either. You may well be right about too much chicken fat dripping down over the stuffing. When I did it with the potatoes, it wasn't an issue, but then you can lift the potatoes out of the pan to drain a little and you sure can't do that with stuffing. Guess it depends on how much you like chicken fat... I *really* like it!

                          1. re: PinotPlease

                            I'm still a little confused as to why you think it will be so much trouble and so different (?). All you need to do is keep the stuffing from falling out as it spins on the spit and you're done. Again, use some string, use some toothpicks, use some metal turkey stuffing pins. Once you've got the stuffing in there just thread it on, clamp down the claw holder thingys and light the fire.

                            1. re: HaagenDazs

                              Except on a rotisserie there will be a big metal spit sticking through the middle of the chicken. The chicken cavity isn't terrible big to begin with so I can't imagine there would be much room (or much remaining) after stickin the rotisserrie spit through the center of the chicken.

                              1. re: ESNY

                                Stuff it first and then skewer it. Like I mentioned "Once you've got the stuffing in there just thread it on..."

                                I know chickens aren't that big, but all of the rotisserie skewers I've seen aren't any bigger than 3/8 of an inch square. It's not like you're ramming a fence post through the thing. The stuffing will move out of the way.

                                Frankly, if I go back to my original position, I wouldn't stuff the thing to begin with but if you're going to do it, just do it.

                          2. re: Deenso

                            That sounds like a really good idea for cooking indirect on the grill, but wouldn't it get in the way of the bird being cooked?

                      2. I thought I got this idea from Alton Brown, but just looked and couldn't find it. Anyway, find/make a bag from cheescloth (rinsed). Put the dressing loosely in the bag and microwave to heat until VERY hot, steamy. Quickly, so not to loose heat, fit the bag into the cavity of the chicken, truss quickly and ram the thing on the spit and GO.

                        The bag will keep the dressing from spilling out all over.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: CocoaNut

                          A've seen this recommendation somewhere, too - can't remember where. Another advantage is that it will make it super easy to remove all the stuffing from the cavity in one fell swoop at serving time.

                          1. re: Deenso

                            But then you don't get those surprise bits of stuffing when you are taking apart the bird the next day. Our stuffing is always gone at dinner, so a little bit more the next day is a surprise treat.

                            1. re: Sooeygun

                              That surprise treat could turn out to be a few hours of misery - or worse. For reasons of food safety, you shouldn't leave the carcass whole after dinner, but slice the meat off the bones before refrigerating it, as well as the left-over stuffing in separate shallow containers. Use leftover turkey within four days; stuffing and gravy, in one or two days.

                          2. Wow, such intensity and thought from everyone, thank you. Maybe, given the small size of the cavity and all I will try it stuffed AND with stuffing underneath and do a side by side and report back here.

                            1. For years I made what I called "5-minute chicken". 5 minutes was the time it took to unpack my groceries, prepare stovetop stuffing with butter and canned chicken stock, stuff it into a 3 pound Perdue oven-stuffer roaster, then relax for an hour with a couple glasses of wine, and then I had a perfect stuffed chicken.
                              Go for it. Small cavity, but still room for a couple chestnuts and poached oysters with the stuffing.