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Does anyone actually put stuffing inside the turkey anymore?

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I know there are certain safety precautions like not stuffing ahead of time and making sure stuffing itself reaches 165. Other than that is it a reasonably safe thing to do? I always remember the stuffing being cooked in the turkey when I was young - and it tasted great!

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  1. I still cook what I can fit inside the turkey and the rest gets put in a casserole, but the stuffing in the casserole is never as good....needs all the drippings from the turkey. American test kitchen showed putting some in cheesecloth inside the turkey for about an hour, taking it out and mixing it with the rest of the stuffing, adding the eggs and then putting it into a casserole and in the oven to finish cooking. I'm not doing the turkey this year so maybe I'll try it next year. You can go into their web site and watch the video.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mother of four

      Whereas I, a Southerner, think dressing is the only way to go. The giblets are used for making the stock for flavoring the dressing so it doesn't lack for flavor. At all :)

    2. My mother is 77 and has been doing it all of her adult life without a single problem. And this was feeding 20+ guests at both Thanksgiving & Christmas for most of the years.

      1. Yes, absolutely. Its been done forever, safely for the most part. I don`t know when people stopped doing this, because its never been a consideration for me...I`ve heard of the don`t prestuff and refrigerate, and most stuffings are mostly precooked anyways then stuffed in a bird, and then recooked with the bird. When DID we stop stuffing birds? Anyone know?

        1. It's just better when cooked in the bird--no way around it. I know all the tv chefs don't, though.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Babette

            I SO disagree. I like/love the crunchies from dressing.

            1. re: c oliver

              Yep. It's all about the crust at our house, too.

              1. re: sunshine842

                Indeed. My mom always cooked some in the bird, and some out. I always found the in-the-bird bowl to be too soggy for my tastes.

          2. Hell.YES..cook that stuffing IN the bird!!!! I agree with all other responders on this...just doesn't taste any better outside the bird! that's all.

            1. Well, damnit, we've been cooking the STUFFING in the whole turkey forever, for 20+ years, typical cheesecloth over the breast saturated with butter, but tomorrow we're not going to -- turkey's cut up, going to do it in parts. Dry-brined, spatchcocked (except I cut off the hindquarters), DRESSING on the side, etc. We'll see. A little freaked out about the changes. Conceptually right, but somehow wrong.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Spot

                Drizzle some turkey stock on the dressing before baking. You won't notice the difference.

                1. re: Candy

                  Wrong! I always use a lot of turkey stock on the portion of stuffing that has to be dressing. It is still never as good as that which is cooked inside the bird.

                2. re: Spot

                  What I've seen done is put a flattened bird on a rack, and position the rack over the stuffing (or potatoes, or veggies, or whatever). This lets the stuffing soak up the flavors. However, then you're at a bit of a loss for gravy as there aren't any gravy drippings available.

                3. I think it says a lot about our germaphobic society and not enough people knowing how to cook in general. Most don't seem to cook much from scratch anymore and hear the 'scary' stories from the media. I guess that seals the deal for them.

                  As someone who has always stuffed the turkey for the past twenty five Thanksgivings, with delicious results and no ill effects, this saddens me. My mother and grandmother always served stuffed turkeys as well, and no one ever got sick. The key is to know what you're doing for goodness sakes!

                  For the first time in my life (father passed away last Dec. and mom in assisted living), I am attending a Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-law's who thinks it's dangerous to stuff a turkey. To add insult to injury, she asked me to bring the stuffing after my other SIL took over my special corn pudding recipe. They said I haven't been around for the last few years so now it's her signature dish. Too say I feel a little slighted is an understatement as I haven't been around because of my parent's ill health. I'm an only child and I'd hardly leave my mom and dad alone on Thanksgiving. The memories of our meal together last year are now so precious as it will never be that way again.

                  Sorry to be a bummer. On an upbeat note, stuff the damn turkey. Such deliciousness will never be found on the outside of the bird. Give thanks for your loved ones, even those who steal your recipes, and enjoy!

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: justalex

                    Stuffing will go in the turkey! Thanks for all the replies.

                    1. re: justalex

                      My passive aggressive ass would totally be buying a turkey and utilizing my uber special technique of preparing the stuffing. No one the wiser once it makes it to a beautiful serving dish. But that's just me. What a bore to request a contribution, and then also dictate the preparation method.

                      It must be a hard holiday this year for you--missing your Dad. Thank you for sharing your story of your last Thanksgiving with your Dad. It will serve as a reminder to cherish this holiday with my family.

                      1. re: Mattkn

                        yeah HA! spatchcock a small one at home (your own leftovers later) and stuff the bejesus out of it, truss, roast on a rack over more dressing, pack up the stuffing and dressing and bring that. could be your new signature dish - let them have the corn pudding and unstuffed bird.

                        if your dish is going to be dictated it can at least be made by YOUR standards and practices.

                        you mentioned the SILs, so the spouse will have to be sworn to secrecy.

                      2. re: justalex

                        xoxoxox Sorry to hear about this. Sometimes inlaws can be SO insensitive. I'll be raising a glass to you and your parents today.

                        1. re: justalex

                          That sister-in-law needs to be stuffed into a turkey!!! Hey, you are NOT a bummer. I'm just now beginning to smell the "deliciousness" of turkey & stuffing wafting from my kitchen as I write this. Hope you survive the day!

                          1. re: justalex

                            It has nothing to do with germ phobia and everything to do with the fact that I can't stand stuffing and prefer dressing. My mom stuffed the bird every year.

                            1. re: rasputina

                              Plus nine gazillion. And my mother only did dressing. If served stuffing I'll take some polite bite but dressing? I could eat a pan full :)

                              1. re: c oliver

                                The difference being pan vs stuffed? Just wondering

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Stuffed is more dense, more moist, and absorbs a nice flavor from the turkey that is difficult to describe. I stuff plus fix a LARGE pan, there is no right or wrong, only good. Doing both allows you to accommodate different tastes or allergies, such as oysters or nuts, and make everybody HAPPY!.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    I agree that stuffing from inside the bird tastes better than dressing from outside the bird. But due to family preferences, safety, etc, etc, we make dressing every year.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      My grandmother always did both as well. Stuffed 2 birds and 3 extra pans but in her southern ways called it all dressing.

                            2. My mother is the Thanksgiving hostess and always cooks the turkey and stuffing. The past 10 years she has adjusted from cooking all of the stuffing in the turkey to only filling the turkey partially, then mixing that with the remainder that was baked separately.

                              1. In my opinion turkey is almost tasteless white fluff and it is only useful as a flavoring device for good stuffing, so if it wasn't for the moist delicious stuffing in the cavity of the bird I probably wouldn't have a turkey brining at this moment.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Kelli2006

                                  This does not compute: 'tasteless' and 'flavoring device'. Where does that flavor come from, if not the turkey?

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    I think what Kelli means is that the turkey meat is a good "edible spoon" if you will for the stuffing. That she finds the turkey flavorless and the only reason she eats it is because of the flavor that the stuffing imparts to the turkey. Just probably a Turkeyday info overload making for a less that crystal clear post?

                                  2. re: Kelli2006

                                    I think I basically agree with kelli, especially with regard to the turkey breast. If they bred "A-cup" turkeys that had 6 legs and 6 thighs, I'd be a very happy camper. That and the stuffing/dressing would satisfy me. Turkey breast is, for the most part, a pretty unremarkable meat.

                                    My mom and grandma always did the stuffing under the skin between the breast and thighs, as well as in the skin of the neck (suturing up the neck skin if necessary). That part was probably my favorite.

                                  3. My refusal to put it inside the bird has absolutely nothing to do with sanitation or food safety.

                                    I cook it in a dish because it's a complete and utter PITA to stuff it in the bird, give it enough extra time to be sure that it's done (note I didn't say "to temperature", but half-cooked dressing is nasty), then drag it all back out of the bird!

                                    In the dish it goes. (Mine is with oysters, too...which just makes it all the bigger pain in the butt to put into the bird and ensure it's done. Love raw oysters, love cooked oysters, half-cooked are nasty)

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      I have always and will always stuff that turkey - what @Kelli2006 said...

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        Sunshine, I'm doing duck this year, so`the oyster dressing w/ chestnuts & mushrooms (no huitlacoche this year) will be in a pan - but I poach the oysters first, trim them, and cut into pea- sized pieces. A half pint of oysters goes a long way in stuffing.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          I am with you here, the bird cooks faster too, with just a few aromatics inside.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            It's a PITA? Never has been for me. Make a dish of oyster dressing for the oven if that's such a big deal. No problem!

                                            1. re: Jeanne

                                              I do make it in the oven. Always have.

                                              I don't stuff any bird, ever.

                                              No problem.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                for me the PITA part is retrieving every last morsel out of every last crevice. I, too, really would rather use the drippings for moisture, covered in the oven so the dressing doesn't dry out.

                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                              See, I'd rather stuff the bird instead of worrying about oven space to heat up a side dish of dressing later. Also, I love stuffing cooked in the bird...although I wouldn't kick dressing baked separately in a casserole out of bed, either. ;)

                                            3. My mother always stuffed the bird, and so have I. Tastes great, and no problems. However, for the last 2 years or so, whenever I stuff a turkey (multiple times a year), the stuffing in the bird does not cook well & is a soggy mess, so we end up just eating the stuffing that would not fit & got baked in a casserole dish. Not sure why, no recipe changes. Anyway, this year I am trying something different. I made the stuffing (onion, celery, sausage, bread) and put some aside. Then I added stock to the rest, and put that in a casserole. The set-aside stuffing went into the bird (neck & cavity). Hopefully since it is much drier, it will not become a mushy mess. And, if it does, we'll have plenty of baked stuffing that is still tasty.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: elfcook

                                                What's often forgotten is that the bread needs to be of the best quality--a real bakery pullman bread that's left to get stale, mixed with onions, celery, parsley, garlic etc: it's all you need but the bread is the platform. And to hell with the "brave" voices calling for an empty turkey (along with all the fear mongering about calories, triglycerides, etc.)

                                                1. re: elfcook

                                                  What I do is take the stuffing out of the turkey while it's resting, put in a casserole dish and pop t in the oven for about 15 min to crisp it up a bit. Works great!

                                                  1. re: elfcook

                                                    It's possible that the turkey you are now buying

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        He's keeping us in suspense until tomorrow.

                                                  2. Absolutely. It is not stuffing if it is not in the turkey.
                                                    I don't understand stuffing can be half cooked if the bird is cooked unless it is WAY too packed in.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                                      How does the heat get to the stuffing to cook it? Since it has to pass through the bird, the meat will always be hotter than the stuffing. And even if the stuffing starts with safe, cooked ingredients, it will have absorbed raw juices from the bird early in the cooking process.

                                                      So the possible scenarios are:
                                                      - properly cooking meat (juicy etc), but uncooked stuffing
                                                      - well cooked stuffing, but over done meat (especially the breast)
                                                      - properly cooked meat and stuffing (as claimed by many posters in this thread).

                                                      Has anyone measured the temperature of the stuffing? How does it compare with that of the white meat (and the thigh)?

                                                      I suspect that in many of the successful cases, the stuffing is undercooked (below 160), but that the initial bacterial levels in the bird where not high enough to cause problems. I believe the sources that talk about the potential dangers of a stuffed bird, stress that you should stuff right before cooking. Letting a stuffed bird sit around for a while, even in the fridge, gives the bacteria time to multiply.

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        According to Butterball pamphlet in the turkey, stuffing should register 165 degrees.

                                                    2. No, I never have and will not. If you stuff the bird you will have to over cook it to get the dressing hot enough to kill any potential bacteria. The dressing stuffed into a bird needs to get to 160 F. When you get it that hot enough your bird will be dry and over cooked.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                        I'm betting most here who stuff their turkeys will disagree with you on the "will be dry and overcooked" description. My mother stuffs the body cavity as well as the neck cavity. Both turkey and stuffing are amazing every year. I can't wait!

                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                          I've never had this problem, and my birds turn out amazingly well. Perhaps that's because I brine them...that seems to hold in the moisture.
                                                          To each his or her own I suppose.
                                                          I'm completely confident in my turkey with stuffing combination, as was my mom and her mother, too.

                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                            Honey, I have been cooking the bird for most of 50 yrs, with stuffing in the bird. Bird is nice and moist and the whole family is still alive and kicking!

                                                          2. I make a double batch of stuffing...half in the bird...half in a casserole dish...mix together later. it is pretty good!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Tripper

                                                              Or just take out the stuffing and cook it a bit more in the oven, or better yet under the broiler to give it a nice crust.

                                                            2. If I'm not stuffing the bird with my dressing, then I'm not making the bird!

                                                              1. OF COURSE Stuff the bird !!!
                                                                All my family always did, still do

                                                                And yet.
                                                                For the last several years I have just been putting coarse chopped onions
                                                                and celery into the turkey and baking the dressing separately.
                                                                It's because ~ the turkey takes less time to cook that way ~
                                                                and then that way I can bake all my pies in the morning instead of the nite before.... :-)

                                                                Oooo yeah, I still like a stuffed turkey though.

                                                                1. The problem with stuffing a smaller bird (I don’t cook birds over 12 lbs, as the breast meat always overcooks by the time the dark meat is done) is that there is never enough stuffing!!!

                                                                  So I pack the stuffing into cheesecloth and let it cook in the bird for the first 90 minutes or so, so it has time to soak up all those lovely juices. I also cook the bird upside down for the first half of cooking, barded with salt pork--which the makes the stuffing, and the bird, 10x better!

                                                                  I pull the stuffing out after the first 90 minutes, let it rest until the turkey is done, then mix it with the rest of my stuffing, and finish it in the oven in a baking dish while the turkey is resting. This ensures that there is enough yummy tasting stuffing for everyone. :)

                                                                  1. USDA guidelines on how to safely roast a stuffed bird
                                                                    They strongly recommend checking the temperature of the stuffing.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      has anyone here ever heard of people getting sick from "unsafe" stuffing?

                                                                      1. re: magiesmom

                                                                        Never! My great grand mother, grand parents, and parents all use the same dressing and method of cooking, and no one has fallen ill due to the dressing.

                                                                        1. re: magiesmom

                                                                          So then that means it is perfectly safe? Personally, I have no desire to put the small children or elderly (and we have lots of both) at risk. It does happen. You are just lucky it hasn't happened to you or someone close to you, that is all.

                                                                          1. re: lalajane

                                                                            or anyone I have ever heard of in my 60 years on earth either in person or on the world wide web.

                                                                      2. Yes. Half the fun of making any kind of whole bird is stuffing it.

                                                                        1. half in the turkey with sausage ha ha

                                                                          half outside without meat for the vegetarians and gluten free (cornbread stuffing:)

                                                                          we got some picky ones in our family.

                                                                          1. Another I've-always-stuffed-the-turkey-I'm-the-3rd-generation-and-never-a-problem. However, I also reach in the neck cavity and loosen the skin over the breast (there's a midline that you can't get loose) as far back as I can go, usually all the say to the thigh joints. I then put stuffing in those cavities (and I'll add that my stuffing is very moist before it's cooked, much like bread pudding), tuck the neck skin under or skewer it if it's scanty, turn the bird around and stuff the body cavity. And even though it's inside, it's "dressing", not "stuffing"; dunno why. Anyway, the extra insulation over the breast helps keep it moist and flavor it, although the turkey looks like it has falsies on and gets a good laugh from any spectators around.

                                                                            1. Dressing a turkey is a century-old, culinary tradition... why listen to some robot that will tell you strange things? Unless u r intothat.

                                                                              1. robots do need love too, not to get all dissing them and everything.but i mean come on, really...

                                                                                1. Here's what I still don't know: Does stuffing the turkey make the turkey itself taste worse or better, or neither? This is assuming I'm not overcooking the bird. What are your experiences?

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: chefMolnar

                                                                                    stuffed bird tastes awesome... worse? Dunno that one.

                                                                                    1. re: hetook

                                                                                      I mean worse as in whether the stuffing acts as a sponge to soak the juices out of the meat and dries it out.

                                                                                      1. re: chefMolnar

                                                                                        Juices are squeezed out of the meat by the heat. This is the result of changes in the protein molecules (denaturing). The stuffing will absorb the juices that would otherwise collect in the cavity. If the bird isn't on a rack, they might also absorb juices that collect in the bottom of the pan.

                                                                                        1. re: chefMolnar

                                                                                          You just have to watch your temp and cooking time, then. re: post was meant 4chefMolar oops.

                                                                                    2. Not this year, since I cooked a breast instead of a whole turkey, but when I make a turkey for Thanksgiving, I stuff the turkey. I also make extra stuffing to bake in a pan. It takes a stuffed turkey longer to get done, but the stuffing is wonderful.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                        You can always put a mound of stuffing underneath the breast. If you want to use a rack, either use an oven-safe bowl or fashion a "nest" from aluminum foil.

                                                                                        I always pre-cook the onions and other meat/vegetable components of the stuffing, then add the bread crumbs, broth and/or cider, and when I think the mixture is no longer hot enough to scramble them, the eggs. As soon as it won't burn my hands, I spoon the stuffing into the bird, which I am sure would horrify the FDAwfulizers, and put the bird in the oven. No one has ever been sickened.

                                                                                        Last year I did a large breast by the very low heat method (cook at the temp you want it to finish at) and wanted it skin-side down so I mounded the (cooled for this method) stuffing on top and lightly covered it with aluminum foil. Once the meat was up to temp I flipped it skin side up and let it roast (rack removed) at a higher temp to crisp the skin. By hook or by crook, my turkey will be stuffed!

                                                                                      2. If you want a delicious, old fashioned flavored, moist bird for your holiday table.....stuffing inside of the bird is the only way to go ! Of course, one must take all of the proper precautions.

                                                                                        I make my stuffing very early in the morning; add the stuffing into the turkey's caveties just before the bird is completely readied to go into into the oven. Take care not to pack the stuffing in too tightly. The stuffing also can be made and refrigerated the day before.

                                                                                        Stuffing within the bird keeps the meat moist and tender......not to mention that it gives flavor (all of the good herbs and ingredients), and the bird's meat flavors blend in with the stuffing. They go together and compliment each other.

                                                                                        My mother always did it that way........and I see no reason to change it. No one has ever been sickened nor poisened. (Not even a twinge of a stomach ache !)

                                                                                        1. Havnt cooked stuffing inside the turkey for many years. The only things that go inside now are a halved lemon, some bay and thyme sprigs

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                            Did You read the CH story "I Stuffed My Turkey With Twinkies"...it's pretty funny.

                                                                                          2. This year I tried using preheated stuffing in a cotton bag, as described by Alton Brown in the 2004 Good Eats episode "Stuff It" (link to video: http://www.foodnetwork.com/good-eats-... ).

                                                                                            But even though the stuffing was preheated, I still found it took significantly longer to reach my target 161 degF than without the stuffing... meaning more drying out of the bird. So in future I think I'm going back to cooking the stuffing separately... or do as others have suggested and pull the bag out half way through.

                                                                                            1. So a big advantage of the stuffing is that it absorbs meat juices, and becomes more flavorful. Does that mean there are fewer juices in the bottom of the pan, juices that you would use for gravy? Are you, in effect taking flavor away from the gravy and putting it in the stuffing?

                                                                                              How about adding some of the pan juices to the stuffing that is baking separately? Wouldn't that make the stuffing just as flavorful?

                                                                                              Is the stuffing that you cooking in the bird enough? Do you bake the extra separately? Depending how whether this extra is covered or not, it may be drier, but might also have added flavor from a browned crust. Wasn't there some sort of chow tip or recipe to bake items like stuffing in muffin tins to maximize the crust? It should also be easy to pump up the flavor of stuffing that is not baked in the bird - use chicken stock, sausage, enough herbs, enough salt, etc.

                                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                I have never found a shortage of pan juices, and the little dribbles of stuffing that may end up in the pan are just adding to the fun. No, it is not sufficient, in that I always make more than that because we like it so much. I do the rest in a casserole for about an hour, usually putting it in as the bird comes out. No matter how much I have the kitchen elves baste
                                                                                                it, it's never as good. But it's better than not having it. No one here is mad for the browned parts except that the bit of stuffing in the bird that browns is (quietly) the cook's treat. My dressing is very moist, as is the family tradition, and we don't do mashed potatoes, so most of the gravy is used for the second batch of dressing, the one that's cooked in the casserole, and tht does things pretty nicely.

                                                                                                My mother always poured the rest of the dressing around the bird in the blue granite oval roasting pan she used. The cooking juices went there, of course. No one ever discussed gravy, didn't appear on our table at home or on my grandmother's table, so I came late to the plealsure of scraping up the browned bits, etc. However, I will say that even with all the extra turkey juice going into the stuffing, it still wasn't as good as the stuff from inside the critter. And considering how long it had to cook, even though the pan was covered for much of the time, it's not surprising, I suppose.

                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                  no, I make delicious gravy and the bird is moist and the stuffing and the bird also taste wonderful.

                                                                                                  1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                    OK Ma'am, so I wish to know how to fix the stuffing prior to stuffing the bird with it.

                                                                                                    what do I do?

                                                                                                    how do I prepare/cook/bake the stuffing?

                                                                                                    I've looked all over the internet & can not find a darn thing...

                                                                                                    1. re: SIRJAMES09

                                                                                                      Don't quite understand what you're asking. The internet is full of recipes for stuffing and dressing, which are the same thing, just a different name. Mix it to the point just before it's ready to be cooked or baked, put it inside the cavity or cavities (there's a small one at the neck, and I enlarge that by slipping my hand inside, under the skin and over the breast - the stuffing protects the breast meat and seasons it, but that's my choice), and bake the bird as directed in your chosen set of bird instructions.

                                                                                                      1. re: lemons

                                                                                                        "Mix it to the point just before it's ready to be cooked or baked, put it inside the cavity or cavities (there's a small one at the neck, and I enlarge that by slipping my hand inside, under the skin and over the breast - the stuffing protects the breast meat and seasons it, but that's my choice), and bake the bird as directed in your chosen set of bird instructions."

                                                                                                        THIS is what I was asking for...
                                                                                                        I know there are a TONNE of recipes for turkey day stuffing on he net, and I have a few that I saved, but I could not find ANY that told me what you did in the paragraph above.

                                                                                                        TY for taking the time & effort to answer my Question...this will be my very first year of doing the entire Thanksgiving dinner(30 pound turkey, 5 sides, 4 veggie plates, 6 different desserts,and of coarse the 3 pumpkin pies).

                                                                                                        Needless to say, already I'm busier than a 1 legged man in a butt kicking contest. 8 P

                                                                                                        1. re: SIRJAMES09

                                                                                                          You're certainly welcome. This is a good example of why those of us who've been in the kitchen for umpty-ump years need to be careful that what's obvious to us isn't obvious to everyone.

                                                                                                          And be sure to follow the time for a stuffed bird, not an empty one (so to speak). BTW, that breast trick may leave you with a bird that isn't quite picture perfect - the skin over the stuffing there gets browner than the rest - but at our house it's worth it. Of course I make a really wet stuffing, and I have no idea if it'd work with the dry sort. My grandmother had a virulent disdain for dry stuffing. It shouldn't need to have gravy on it to make it edible, she snorted (many times).

                                                                                                        2. re: lemons

                                                                                                          lemons - you know I respect you and your opinions, but the grammar-nanny in me just HAS to point out that while the ingredients are largely the same, stuffing is baked in the bird, dressing is baked out.

                                                                                                          but we can still be friends right? (smirk)

                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                            Thanks for those kind words. But in the household where I grew up in SE MO, my teacher parents were grammar sticklers and that stuff was dressing. "Stuffing" was considered an affected word. I am sure it's a regionalism. Some of my best friends are grammar-nannies and I understand where you're coming from. But even my dear late husband, an exacting editor when it came to grammar took it as a family phrase.

                                                                                                            And backatcha for respecting you and your opinions!

                                                                                                            1. re: lemons

                                                                                                              It was always dressing at my house too. I only have used "stuffing" in the last 10 or 15 years. And at my house it has always been cornbread dressing---the best.

                                                                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                                                                ha! I use the terms stuffing and dressing more or less interchangeably, but my ex (we're still friends) is from Little Rock who was very strict about which was which (they only did dressing). I was informed more than a few times of my Yankee ignorance - yeah STL is SO far from the South.

                                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                  Today on the Chew, Mario Batali was asked what he calls it when it is prepared outside the turkey. He said he still calls it stuffing. He said dressing sounds more like something you would put on your salad.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                    the term dressing evolved in the Victorian era, when "stuffing" had racy connotations.

                                                                                                                  2. re: hill food

                                                                                                                    Well, your ex was right and you were totally wrong :) (Grew up in Atlanta!)

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      ha! and I accepted that status with reluctant grace and resignation.

                                                                                                                      sunshine - that doesn't surprise me, IIRC that's when the vertical supports on chairs and tables were referred to as 'jambs' not legs and were often draped, lest we be driven into carnal frenzy.

                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                        yeah, the Victorians were a pretty perverted bunch -- they found sexual innuendo in things that would surprise even the Rule 34 fans.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                          Sunshine, by skirting the issue, you are skirting the issue...:)

                                                                                                      2. If I ever have anything to say about it the bird will always be stuffed. I do not care what anyone has to say because it is hands down superior in taste to casserole stuffing. I will not even try the non stuffed stuffing anymore. It is dry and boring. As for health risks, why don't you no-sayers here just read all the comments from the folks who report eating bird stuffing for many many years without a single reported incident of bacterial infection, etc. IN fact this year I declined to go to my traditional Thanksgiving feast because the host insisted she was not going to stuff the bird. The fondness of Thanksgiving for me is the memory of the many celebrations I experienced with my mother and father of many years long ago. To be there watching her mix the stuffing and wrestle with the bird pouring all her love into the act to make her loved ones happy stands ever present in my memory. It would be sacrilegious to not carry forth that tradition. And I am not even religious:) So this Thanksgiving I stayed home by myself and prepared for a feast of my making. Yesterday we (three of my closest friends and I) enjoyed a feast for a king with stuffing packed in the bird so tight I could have not fit another spoonful . I cooked the turkey in a brown paper bag resting on the typical veggies and an extra cup of chicken stock. When I took the bacon grease rubbed turkey out of the oven with a breast temperature of 175 deg and let it rest until the internal temp rose to 183 deg I cut and served. At that time the stuffing was 165 deg, the recommended temperature of the FDA. Stuffing was not overly moist and the flavors of the seasoning from everything, including the sausage laced stuffing permeated throughout deep in the bird. Both the white and dark meat were juicy and tender. The gravy.......the best I have every tasted and plentiful. Thanks mom for helping me to enjoy another one of your great lessons:) A stuffed bird it shall always be!!!!

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                                                                                                        1. re: RoadKingWilly

                                                                                                          "As for health risks, why don't you no-sayers here just read all the comments from the folks who report eating bird stuffing for many many years without a single reported incident of bacterial infection, etc."

                                                                                                          No one is claiming that you WILL get sick if you stuff a turkey. The same could be said for not washing your hands after stuffing the turkey, using raw eggs in eggnog, not washing the salad spinach, eating turkey thighs that are pink next to the bone, or packing up leftovers 2 hours after the meal. In fact I suspect the probability of getting sick from undercooked stuffing is similar to that of undercooked dark meat. Most of us can handle a modest degree of bacterial contamination, not getting sick at all. Even if we had some digestive problems a few days latter, we wouldn't necessarily blame the stuffing.

                                                                                                        2. Nope. Not vegetarian if it's cooked in the bird. We found a good mushroom bread pudding that we make instead of a more traditional stuffing.

                                                                                                          Also I'm not really a fan of stuffing cooked inside the bird. Yes the flavor is good, but I don't like the texture. Too mushy/heavy, I prefer a drier/crispier stuffing.

                                                                                                          1. I have a family stuffing recipe that I simply have to make or suffer serious consequences. It involves stuffing the turkey with at least 2 loves of my (91 year old) grandmother's bread, lots of onion, celery, dried sage. I have modified the recipe over the years as much as I dare (fresh sage, Italian parsley, a touch of nutmeg and cayenne). We never stuff it with anything hot, or meat-related. Food poisoning? We stuff it an hour or two before roasting, and no one is dead yet.

                                                                                                            1. wouldn't do it any other way. Worth whatever risk there may be. And yes the stuffing tastes much better cooked in the bird.
                                                                                                              And I'm curious why poultry is more dangerous now. I assume it's the handling in the big factories. Anyone have factual info?

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                                                                                                              1. re: snowschowder

                                                                                                                Stuffing is called stuffing for a reason. And if factory farmed birds are the problem, don't buy them.

                                                                                                              2. No, and I never did. It's just a lot easier and the turkey cooks better without it.

                                                                                                                  1. I don't stuff the turkey. When I make a lot of stuffing, I use a Nesco electric roaster, because the oven is usually full.

                                                                                                                    1. Always have and always will. I get so tired of the modern day pansy assed society in which we live being freaking phobic that every little thing is going to give them dyspepsia at the least and kill them at the most!!
                                                                                                                      Give me a recommend if you want stuffing in every turkey and a raw egg in every Orange Julius!!!! VIVA LA REVOLUCION!!!

                                                                                                                      1. When we host Thanksgiving at our house, there is as much of spouse's fruited stuffing as will fit inside the bird, as well as the rest of it cooked out-of-bird as a side dish. But its not at our house this year. Spouse's fruited stuffing is the family traditional favorite and the host has given out covered dish requests and assignments- of course, the request went out for spouse's fruited stuffing. I guess it will be entirely outside the bird. Crock pots are great!

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                                                                                                                        1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                                          absolutely -- I was just discussing this with my mom this afternoon -- it bakes without hogging oven space, you get lots of yummy crust, and it stays warm through the meal if you turn it to low or 'keep warm'.

                                                                                                                          I discovered it out of necessity (oven was too small!) but I'm staying with it because it just works so well.

                                                                                                                        2. Stuffed to the max, both ends, turkey in the roasting bag, 20 minutes a pound @350, large tray of extra oyster-chestnut dressing.
                                                                                                                          Works for me.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                            Same here though we do traditional regular bread sage. The crispy bits are the best, the stuffing under the neck goes to grandma the chef. I do low and slow now so can't stuff and miss it.

                                                                                                                          2. My Mom does and always has. The same with roasted chickens. Nobody has ever gotten sick. This has always been normal to me and I only found out recently that some people consider this potentially risky.

                                                                                                                            1. I refuse to dry out the breast and we like really crispy skin so I do the stuffing outside. My parents used to do it inside until my Aunt became a vegetarian. She doesn't come to our house but for safety etc I just use turkey stock to flavor it.

                                                                                                                              1. Never have, never will and really don't like it cooked inside.

                                                                                                                                1. I'm going to be heretical here; I have been Serv-Safe trained and am a professional microbiologist. I do not believe the temperature recommendations provided are correct. The real factors are much more complex; time and temperature, humidity and matrix.

                                                                                                                                  I like stuffing inside the bird. It isn't hard to do safely. Raise the temperature of the stuffing up to 120 F and spoon it into a warmed bird (roughly same). Then cook it. If you are planning on bringing the bird itself up to 165 F or so, I think you are overcooking that bird. It can be safe at 140 F, as long as it holds there for a 'long time.' Don't believe 'basic' food science popularization. Holding meat at 130 (55 F) for 1.5 hours is enough to kill 99.999% of Salmonella; 140 (60 C) for 55 minutes is good enough as well.
                                                                                                                                  [see references ... applied and environmental microbiology ... http://aem.asm.org/content/67/9/4128.... or
                                                                                                                                  the journal of food microbiology and safety


                                                                                                                                  The 'drying' effect in lean meat is related to the peak temperature experienced; the denaturing of protein, not actual drying due to evaporation. Cooking to a lower temperature for a longer hold time requires better temperature control in the oven, but produces a better product. Putting everything in at 450 and waiting for a peak internal temperature at 165 is decidedly sub-optimal. Initial heating (to raise temperatures quickly) and browning can be separated from the 'killing of bacteria' and safety can be achieved a much lower final temperatures.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: benk

                                                                                                                                    oh so we're just a bunch of cry-baby fraidy-cats? (well that's something I suspected all along).

                                                                                                                                    "Putting everything in at 450 and waiting for a peak internal temperature at 165 is decidedly sub-optimal" yes, that method never sounded right to me. I appreciate the back-up (synonyms have escaped me tonight). ahh! corroboration! that's what I meant! we're back!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                      *chuckle* Well, a case or two of gastroenteritis is pretty rough going. The biggest problem is not so much an excessive aversion to severe pain as it is an inherited problem with cooking technique and clumsy regulation.

                                                                                                                                      It is more difficult to regulate two factors (time/temperature) than it is one (peak internal temperature). Health inspectors wouldn't want to stand around and make sure that each piece of meat was hitting a certain temperature - for an hour - and they would have a hard time being sure that the employees continued the practice in their absence. Peak temperature is easier.

                                                                                                                                      Also, controlling the time 'in the danger zone' at potentially contaminated sites (external for solid meats, internal for ground meats, liquids, etc) is still important. This is where high heat can help; that initial increase in temperature. Where it hurts is the tendency to overshoot, to cook unevenly, and so on.

                                                                                                                                      Controlling the oven temperature and using thermometers effectively are both under-practiced skills. The payoffs are great - roast pork, roast beef, poultry, fish,... basically any protein can benefit from superior temperature control. If you want very rare roast beef, for example, it can be done safely at temperatures which scandalize - and without the fuss of sous vide - in a Dutch oven over an 8 hour window. The bacteria won't pose a problem.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: benk

                                                                                                                                      I don't know anyone that is going to put stuffing into a 120 degree bird.

                                                                                                                                    3. I don't do it, but my mom did and it always tasted super!

                                                                                                                                      1. If you are concerned you could buy a roasting wand which conducts heat into the center of the bird:

                                                                                                                                        1. I have always stuffed my turkey with a traditional bread and sausage meat stuffing ---I make the stuffing mix the day before and keep in fridge in a tupperware container. The bird is stuffed just before roasting . I do not add eggs as a binder, only use chicken broth to bind the ingredients. I have never had one problem with food bacteria or illness. I do use a large blue enamel roaster to hold the bird , which is usually a 13 to 14 lb. bird and last half hour of cooking I cover the bird with the roasting pan cover. I can honestly say that my stuffing is completely hot (and moist) when dishing out the food. If any stuffing is left over, which is not too much, I refrigerate along with other leftovers. The first time I ever ate a stuffing (I will call it dressing) outside the bird was at my sister in law's ---It was dry, flavorless and rubbery. Inside the bird is the only way for me.

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Richdor

                                                                                                                                            if it was dry, flavorless, and rubbery, then it's a case of preparation error, not where it was baked. Dry, flavorless dressing would have made dry, flavorless stuffing.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                              Sunshine 842---I'm sure there are plenty of folks that prepare their stuffing out side the bird that is perfectly delicious and moist but as in most people, you tend to follow the way your own Mom made it and that is my preference. My sis in law is not a cook and will be the first to tell you that---she simply does not like being in the kitchen. How my brother has adapted is to eat out a lot!

                                                                                                                                          2. my mom does every year, we've never had an issue

                                                                                                                                            1. My MIL does (I'm not worthy of cooking for a holiday. . .) and her whatever you call it is so gloopy and sticky and eww that I don't want to be worthy of that family recipe. Even the extras in the pan are overly moist and gloppy. Makes my mom's stove top look awesome.

                                                                                                                                              1. We are having both stuffing and dressing (aka inside v outside) this year. My family always did dressing and I love the added crunch you get from the browned top, my husband's family always did stuffing which he loves precisely because it doesn't have that crunch :) Whatcha gonna do? So both it is

                                                                                                                                                1. You bet! I will ALWAYS roast the turkey with stuffing (homemade, absolutely) inside. I don't even need a big 20+ pound turkey, 'cause I am just cooking for me and my wife and 1 guest, usually. But I wish I had a bigger turkey ( or a bigger cavity to stuff) because the stuffing inside the turkey tastes head and shoulders above the same stuffing cooked in a separate pan. I usually put the neck into the separate pan, to try to impart at least some of the additional flavor to the stuffing.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I always cook in the bird and make extra for a pan. WHat is in the bird is way better and is eaten before anybody touches the other.