To Stuff Or Not To Stuff
I have tried several methods of cooking the turkey over the years. I have stuffed the turkey and I have left the turkey unstuffed. The most important factor in cooking the turkey, whether stuffed or not is to make sure the correct temperature of 165°F. is reached (check temperature with a thermometer inserted between the body of the turkey and the thigh, be careful not to hit a bone). When stuffing the turkey the temperature at the middle of the stuffing needs to be 165°F.. A possible downside to stuffing the turkey is that the bird overcooks before the stuffing reaches the proper temperature. Once the correct temperature is reached it is also important to let the turkey rest so the natural juices are distributed back into the meat. Remove the turkey from the oven and tent with a piece of foil and let stand for 30 minutes before carving. This allows you to warm up your side dishes in the oven while the turkey is napping. Funny, the turkey naps before the feast and we usually nap after!
Now that the important information about cooking is out of the way here a few common methods for cooking your turkey:
How to Roast, Unstuffed or Stuffed
On the Barbecue
An important sub note: Always take the giblet bag out of the turkey before cooking! I have a friend who told me a story about his mother who was not the best of cooks. She decided to roast the turkey for Thanksgiving and had it all prepared and put in the oven. Sometime into the roasting as the family was enjoying the pre meal festivities, a commotion was heard in the kitchen. They all rushed in to see what had happened, to their surprise the turkey had exploded. Cause: failure to remove the giblet bag!
I hope this post has helped you decide what cooking process to use for your turkey and will give you a little more confidence in serving the perfect turkey.