6 Solid Reasons NOT to Stuff Your Turkey
Planning on stuffing your Thanksgiving turkey? You may want to reconsider.
When preparing a Thanksgiving turkey, many still insist on cooking it with the stuffing inside. This was super popular years ago – my Dad stuffed the bird every year when I was growing up. Now people are more aware of food borne illnesses though, and the tradition is changing.
Here are the top 6 reasons NOT to stuff your turkey:
- The middle of a raw turkey is porous, so as the turkey cooks, juices that may contain salmonella bacteria soak in to the stuffing — Ew.
- Stuffed birds require longer cooking time to get to 165 F, so it usually ends up overcooked and dry.
- If you make the stuffing separately, you can do it in advance, which helps with timing dinner for your guests.
- Stuffing cooked in the turkey comes out soggy.
- Did I mention the salmonella thing?
- If you stuff the turkey then you can’t season the inside. Try putting halved lemons, onions, and bay leaves inside for a delicious, citrus flavor.
The USDA recommends another option if you have your heart set on a stuffed bird. You can buy a pre-stuffed bird and cook it from a frozen state. Just plan on a lot of extra cooking time.
Another turkey tip: Make sure you eat cooked turkey within two hours and refrigerate any leftovers. The best way to store it is in a shallow container, so don’t just shove the whole bird in the refrigerator! Also, the USDA recommends using up the leftovers within three to four days.