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Tuesday 14 December 2010

When to Stuff a Bird

Well its approaching Christmas now and most of us will be eating a bird of some kind or another, the question I'm asked most often is; do I stuff my bird and if so with what?

Excuse me a moment whilst I go and quieten my closest friends! "Keep quiet you lot! I'm trying to be serious here for my food blog followers".

Sorry about that! Right where was I? Oh yes, the answer to the question is; you should always stuff your bird if cooking it whole as this will aid in keeping the breast meat moist.

If you cook a whole bird with its cavity empty, then the heat will circulate in the chamber and it will rise and dry out the breast meat.

You can if you so wish just place some vegetables inside the cavity, vegetables with moisture are best like potatoes, carrots, leeks, onion or better still citrus fruits like lemons. These will not only help keep the breast meat moist but they will offer aromatics to the flavour of your meat.

Don't forget to remove the wishbone before stuffing your bird from both ends, I use an oyster shucker to do this as it avoids any cuts to your hands.

If using breadcrumb based stuffings, whether homemade or shop bought, then cook them first before placing inside the cavity. The reason for this is simple, an oven roasted bird will cook from the outside inwards and if it has to reach and cook the stuffing aswell then the meat is at risk of drying out. However if the stuffing is already cooked then the bird only needs to be cooked through and the cooked stuffing will look after itself.
For the best results, brine your bird overnight before using as this will enhance the flavours, use 30g of salt to each litre of water used and add any herbs and spices to your liking, avoid using any metallic containers. Make sure you thoroughly dry your bird off before cooking.
Bon Appetite!


  1. Great tips! I usually stuff my birds with veggies. It really makes the bird taste a lot more flavorful!

  2. Will it be Puten this Christmas for you Sommer?

  3. Marc, I learned something from you again! I always bake the stuffing in a separate dish and nothing in the bird. Now I will stuff it with some aromatic vegetables.

  4. Hi Jean, I can't tell you how nice a brined chicken is and especially if you cut two lemons in half and stuff the cavity with the flesh of the lemons facing upwards where you can. Ooh I can taste it now!