Poultry with stuffing is especially susceptible to bacterial
contamination. Large numbers of bacteria are already present on 1/3 of all marketed
raw chickens. Introducing bacteria into the stuffing and allowing conditions
for them to grow and multiply can be very dangerous. Some safety prevention
- Prepare the stuffing, and stuff the bird right before
putting it in the oven. Alternatively, the pre-prepared perishable ingredients
should be combined with the premixed dry ingredients and the liquid right
before putting the bird in the oven.
- A bird should never be stuffed the night before it will
be cooked. If time is a problem, it is safer to prepare and store the perishable
ingredients and the dry ingrediens of the stuffing separately the day ahead.
Also, it takes less time to cook an unstuffed bird than one that is stuffed.
- The stuffing should be packed loosely inside the bird,
because the stuffing will expand as it cooks. If too much stuffing has been
made, the extra stuffing may be baked in a separate dish.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the bird and stuffing
for doneness. When inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (but not touching
the bone), the thermometer should read 180°F. Juices should run clear.
After the bird is removed from teh oven, the thermometer should be left in
the stuffing for five minutes. To be fully cooked, the stuffing temperature
should reach 165°F.
- Once the temperature has been checked, the stuffing should
be removed immediately from the bird, and placed in a separate bowl before
- A stuffed bird should not be cooked in a microwave oven,
because it may not cook thoroughly. If time is a factor, it is better to cook
the bird and the stuffing separaetly because it is quicker than cookign a
stuffed bird in a conventional oven.
Special Concerns for
Meat & Poultry
There are food safety concerns for cookign
meat and pultry in the microwave oven; here are some additional guidelines.
- Use a microwave temperature probe or meat thermometer
to check meat temperatures for doneness. Ovens vary in wattage levels (power)
so time is not a good way to judge doneness. Check the temperature in several
places, avoiding areas of fat and/or bone because these places give high and/or
lower tempearture readings. Any juices should run clear and meat shoud bnot
- Debone large pieces of meat; the bone can shield the
meat aroudn it from getting cooked.
- Cook large pieces of meat at 50% power for longer periods
of time to allow the heat to be transmitted deep into the meat. A cooking
bag is ideal becuase it maintains the internal temperature of the meat and
reduces the cooking off teparture on the actual surface of the meat. Cooking
bags help to avoid overcooking as well.
- Do not cook whole, stuffed poultry in the microwave.
Neither the meat around the bone or the stuffing can be thoroughly cooked.
If time is a factor, the bird and stuffing should be cooked separately.
- Combining microwave cooking iwth conventional oven broiling
or roasting is popular but the microwaved food should be transferred immediately
on a clean plate to the conventional cooking method. Never partially cook
food, and then let it sit.
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