How Long To Cook A Stuffed Turkey In The Oven?
Thanksgiving season is near, and everybody is getting hyped up for the grand thanksgiving dinner. However the star of the show, the stuffed turkey, can often be a challenge to cook properly. With confusing ratios, and long cooking times, only the best of cooks can perfectly roast such a marvelous bird, while keeping it juicy, and succulent. Well, not for long. We have done our research and have found the tips and tricks needed to perfect the stuffed turkey, and simplified it, just for you.
How much turkey should you buy?
Ideally, you should calculate how much turkey to get based on how many people you plan to host. The ratio you should follow is between 1 to 1.5 pounds of poultry per person. Choosing 1 pound per person would most probably leave you with little to no leftovers, whereas choosing to get 1.5 pounds per person would leave you with enough leftovers to have another mini-feast with your close friends and family.
How should you thaw the bird?
The time that it would take to get a bird completely thawed and ready to cook depends on the size and weight of your turkey. Be prepared for the turkey to take multiple days to thaw. Ideally, if you put the bird in the fridge, it would take 1 day per 5 pounds of turkey to properly defrost and be ready for cooking.
How to make the perfect stuffing.
There are a multitude of items that go into making an amazing turkey stuffing. Turkey stuffing usually contains a mixture of vegetables, different types of seasonings, turkey broth, and cubes of sliced up bread. Stuffing is occasionally served as a side dish, to absorb all the juices released by the turkey, and other items. Different types of bread are used for turkey stuffing, and the type of bread chosen can truly add a new layer and dimension of flavor into the dish, and make it even more exciting than before. These include cornbread, Italian bread, French bread, and many more. We compiled some tips to make sure the stuffing is consistently perfect, every thanksgiving.
- Introduce exciting flavors. In the scenario where you would be baking the stuffing separately by itself, it would lack the flavor gained through the juices it would absorb from the turkey during roasting. A solution to this would be, to add extra seasonings, and flavor filled elements, such as fat or butter. This would really bring in the flavors together, and take the stuffing to another level.
- Do not use fresh bread. Regardless of the type of bread that is being used, it is a rule set in stone, to always use day old bread. If for some reason, you do not have access to day-old bread, you could toast the bread, and then proceed to use it. The reason for this is, bread with high moisture content levels tends to make the stuffing soggy, whereas the lack of moisture in day old or toasted bread, soaks up all of the flavor which is released from the other contents of the stuffing.
- Follow safety measures. Whenever you cook a turkey, you must remember to adhere to some food safety rules. Stuffing essentially turns the turkey into an insulator, which makes it cook slower than usual. We definitely emphasize on the fact that juices released by the turkey make the stuffing more flavorful, but it is also important for the juices to be cooked through, before consumption. In order to avoid undercooking, try not to stuff the turkey too tightly with stuffing, and to make sure that the stuffing and the turkey have hit 165°F before they are taken out of the oven.
- Do not undercook the bird. This would prevent the stuffing from getting soggy, and remaining flavorful. Ensure that the broth from the stuffing has evaporated, and the stuffing is absolutely perfect texture-wise.
How long should you leave the bird in the oven?
So you’ve stuffed the bird, and applied the seasoning. You realize that you have reached the most difficult and challenging part of roasting a stuffed turkey. Do not fret, you are almost there. The cooking time for a stuffed turkey depends entirely on how much the bird weighs. There is also the question of what temperature the oven should be at. Ideally, your home oven should be set and preheated at 325°F, or 160°C. Here is a guide for how long you should leave the turkey in the oven:
If the turkey weighs between 10-12 pounds, roast for 3.25-3.5 hours.
If the turkey weighs between 12-14 pounds, roast for 3.5-4 hours.
If the turkey weighs between 14-18 pounds, roast for 4-4.25 hours.
If the turkey weighs between 18-20 pounds, roast for 4.25-4.75 hours.
If the turkey weighs between 20-24 pounds, roast for 4.75-5.25 hours.
For safety purposes, you should check the internal temperature of your stuffed bird with a meat thermometer. These probe thermometers have a long, pointy end which you would poke into the bird, after which the thermometer would show a reading, after which you could determine if your turkey is done, or not. The temperature should ideally be around 170°F around the breast, 170° around the thigh, and around 165° in the stuffing. The internal temperature of the bird would rise about 5°F, even after it is taken out of the oven, due to the residual heat.
How to carve and serve the bird
Carving can often seem like a very scary and intimidating task to carry out. The most important part is to make sure that the turkey has been fully rested, which would make your job way easier, and make the final product even better. You’ll need three things, a sharp chef’s knife, a meat fork, and a cutting board. The first step is to remove the legs, followed by the breasts and then the wings. Then, you would slice the turkey breasts to your desired thickness. After removing the drumstick from the thigh, you are ready to serve and enjoy the best stuffed turkey you’ll ever make.