Should you even bother to stuff the turkey? One expert says no.
- Heating broth before adding it to stuffing. Since all the ingredients go in the oven together, it makes little difference what temperature the liquid is.
- Stuffing the turkey. “The turkey cooks faster if it’s not stuffed,” says Martha Hall Foose, author of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales From a Southern Cook (Clarkson Potter, $32.50). Keeping the stuffing and the bird separate also prevents the risk of food poisoning from uncooked turkey juices, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “If you want to present the bird in the traditional manner,” says Hall Foose, “make the dressing separately, then scoop a little into the cavity before serving.”
- Sewing up the turkey neck. Just tuck the flap of skin under the bird―it will stay in place.
- Basting frequently. Spooning pan juices over the turkey can help the skin brown, but doing it just once or twice is sufficient. If you want a moist bird, forget about basting and take it out of the oven before it overcooks.
- Peeling potatoes. The skins add color, fiber, and texture to mashed potatoes.