Thanksgiving Stuffing: In or Out?

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There has been lots of debate on whether to cook the stuffing inside the bird or outside the bird.  I am a fervent believer that stuffing should be cooked seperately from the bird.  It gives it a chance to shine on its own and we can all avoid the dangers of food borne illness this way. 

I always ask the host of thanksgiving if the stuffing is cooked in the carcass just to be sure.  I will not touch it if it is.  Although to be honest, asking is just a precaution because it is easy to see when stuffing is made in the bird by the way it looks - wet and gloopy and utterly unappetizing.

"Stuffing is Evil" - Alton Brown

 
 
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If the turkey is "stuffed" then the turkey ends up being under cooked, or totally dry.  But, This is america, and over cooked is seen as a good. 
 
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    I like to cook my stuffing outside of the bird, but using the juices from the bird to "baste" the stuffing throughout the cooking process.  I will also make some turkey stock before Thanksgiving.  I'll either cook a whole bird a couple of weeks before or by some turkey parts to make the stock and then freeze it until it's needed.

   Actually, thanks for reminding me...I need to get going on my stock /img/vbsmilies/smilies//smile.gif

   dan
 
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I usually use chicken stock but have also made stock using turkey wings (they make very good stock!). 

I have recently discovered that adding a tbsp of tomato paste to my stockpot bring an amazing depth of flavor to my stock.  It doesn't make it tomatoey, just rich and deep and luscious!  Tomato paste has transformed my stocks.
 

nicko

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Stuffing is always always always always always on the outside. I am sorry was that unclear? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif.

I follow a process similar to what Dan is saying. I think it yields the best stuffing.

Quite a few years ago I saw Jaques Pepin demonstrate a technique that I still use to this day.
  1. Separate the leg and thigh (keep them as one piece)
  2. Remove the breast as one piece keeping the wings connected.
  3. Prepare your stuffing
  4. Debone the leg and thigh pieces and use some of the stuffing to stuff them and tie them. 
  5. Put the remaining stuffing at the bottom of your roasting pan and set the breast over the stuffing.
  6. Put the leg and thigh pieces back where they would go normally (you are basically re-assembling the bird).
  7. Roast the turkey and it cooks in half  the time. The stuffing absorbs all of the wonderful juices from the turkey.
What I like about this approach you get the back bones of the turkey and the bones from the legs to use when you make your turkey stock for your gravy so your gravy has an extra punch.
 
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This sounds good.  It seems to solve most of the issues that I have with typical turkey.
 
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In the bird but I don't pack it tight, rest goes around the outside of the bird. Never have an overcooked breast problem. I do check the temps of the stuffing to make sure it is done.
 
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Frankly, since I discovered the "stuffin' muffin" concept that's the only way I do it. No more fights over the crispy part of the dressing.
 

phatch

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Out.

Quicker to cook. Can be made ahead, More of the best crusty bits. Flavor improves if made ahead, just reheat for service. 

drizzle some of the turkey drippings over it before reheating to give it that cooked-in-the-turkey flavor just before you reheat. Or make a turkey 6-8 weeks in advance of Thanksgiving and save some stock to make the stuffing with for the big day. I save 2 quarts for jump starting the stuffing and for gravy work ahead of time.
 
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Always, always, always outside. That's not to say I won't stuff something in the cavity, but it's not for later consumption. When I make stuffing (which we call dressing anyway) it's either with sausage or oysters. I don't like the dressing to taste like turkey. If it does, what's the point?
 
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I'll leave the explanation to KYH.  But below is a pic I found.  I do not enjoy the taste of stuffing, personally.  However, making it this way is definitely more popular with the stuffin' lovin' folks than the traditional method.

 
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I'll leave the explanation to KYH.  But below is a pic I found.  I do not enjoy the taste of stuffing, personally.  However, making it this way is definitely more popular with the stuffin' lovin' folks than the traditional method.
I believe you don';t like the taste, - stuffing outside the bird is pretty dry and tasteless. 

I always always stuff the turkey - that's what stuffing means. I can't possibly imagine it not in the bird.  No juices to flavor it, all dry and crumbly - not appealing to me.   I make it the day before - sauteed liver and heart and all that, lots of onion and celery, a bit of thyme or marjoram, toast, croutons whatever, sometimes cornbread, broth from a couple of turkey wings and a mashed potato to keep it moist. 

I leave in fridge the day before.  Stuff cold turkey with cold stuffing.  No warming of the interior to cause dangerous bacteria to grow. 

I stuff under the skin with cold butter mixed with thyme or rosemary, crushed garlic and salt and cracked multi color pepper

I cook the turkey at a very high temperature, tenting the breast when it starts to get too brown - if it does. 

It comes always juicy (even the breast).

Oh, and i usually have too much stuffing so i take the rest and wrap in double foil, make a couple of fork holes in the bottom and rest it in the roasting pan (very large flat low-sided pan) along with the potatoes.  Wrapped it remains moist, and the holes let some of the flavor in from the pan. 
 
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Originally Posted by siduri  
I believe you don';t like the taste, - stuffing outside the bird is pretty dry and tasteless. 
I don't like the taste no matter how it's prepared.  I've never tasted a stuffing dish that I liked, from inside the bird or outside.
 
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From a food safety standpoint, do not stuff the bird. By placing stuffing inside you would also tend to steam the bird not roast . The muffin way of stuffing looks and cooks nicely, It also allows a cook to know down to the wire if he has enough stuffing 20 people =20 muffins maybe a few xtra if you want. For Banquet or Hotel service, we always figured 1Pound of raw wight turkey nets 1 cooked portion  25 Lb. bird=25 portions. Figuring like this in 40 years in all different type places I never ran out. Gravy 3 ounces pp.
 
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Oh my goodness, IMHO, if the stuffing is "dry and tasteless", one of two things is amiss, the recipe or the technique!

That also goes for "wet and goopy" when it is "in the bird".

Dressing (stuffing) done right is delightful.
 
I believe you don';t like the taste, - stuffing outside the bird is pretty dry and tasteless...
 
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I don't stuff the bird - put half an onion and a whole lemon, cut into two in the cavity.  ALWAYS cook the home-made stuffing(s) outside the bird.  a sausage and apple stuffing and a sage and onion stuffing,

ALSO, I'm not an American, so I don't cook a Thanksgiving meal!
 
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Completely agree.
 
I believe you don';t like the taste, - stuffing outside the bird is pretty dry and tasteless. 

I always always stuff the turkey - that's what stuffing means. I can't possibly imagine it not in the bird.  No juices to flavor it, all dry and crumbly - not appealing to me.   I make it the day before - sauteed liver and heart and all that, lots of onion and celery, a bit of thyme or marjoram, toast, croutons whatever, sometimes cornbread, broth from a couple of turkey wings and a mashed potato to keep it moist. 

I leave in fridge the day before.  Stuff cold turkey with cold stuffing.  No warming of the interior to cause dangerous bacteria to grow. 

I stuff under the skin with cold butter mixed with thyme or rosemary, crushed garlic and salt and cracked multi color pepper

I cook the turkey at a very high temperature, tenting the breast when it starts to get too brown - if it does. 

It comes always juicy (even the breast).

Oh, and i usually have too much stuffing so i take the rest and wrap in double foil, make a couple of fork holes in the bottom and rest it in the roasting pan (very large flat low-sided pan) along with the potatoes.  Wrapped it remains moist, and the holes let some of the flavor in from the pan. 
 

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