Stuffing-To stuff or not to stuff?
Turkeys that are stuffed take longer to cook than turkeys that aren’t. This is because the stuffing forms a dense mass in the centre of the bird and heat takes much longer to penetrate to the centre.
If you are cooking the turkey with stuffing inside the cavity, make sure that the stuffing has been prepared and chilled beforehand. Turkeys can be stuffed in two places: the main cavity and the neck-end cavity. Some cooks like to use a different stuffing for each part; others use the same. During cooking, most types of stuffing expand a little so don’t overstuff and do leave a little space. Place the stuffing in lightly and compactly but not too forcefully. The stuffing needs to be sealed in so either use small skewers or a large needle threaded with cotton-string (not plastic string- it melts) and sew the flaps of skin together. The alternative is to cook the stuffing in a separate baking dish and serve as a side accompaniment.
Don’t be too eager. It’s best to stuff the turkey just before you want to start cooking. You could stuff an hour or two ahead as long as you then store the turkey in the refrigerator until cooking begins.
DON’T STUFF THE DAY BEFORE. To an extent, the stuffing is insulated from the cold temperatures of the refrigerator by the turkey cavity. If there are any harmful bacteria present inside the turkey or in the stuffing, they can multiply during storage.