When most people think of the word stuffing, they think of turkey. Stuffing is used in the preparation of many different types of other meats, such as pork chops and lamb roasts. The key to cooking stuffing is that for health reasons, the stuffing needs to reach the same internal temperature as the meat before being considered fully cooked. To ensure this, you will need a meat thermometer and know the proper cooked temperatures of the meat.
The Food Safety and Inspection service of the USDA recommends cooking stuffing, or dressing, separate from the turkey. If you feel you must stuff the turkey for cooking, you should plan on cooking the bird for 20 minutes per pound or until the turkey reaches 165 degrees F in the thigh, breast and the center of the stuffing. If you choose to make the stuffing in a casserole dish, prepare the stuffing according to the recipe directions and cook while the turkey is at rest outside the oven or roaster for 30 to 45 minutes. Cooking a stuffed turkey on the grill or in the microwave is not recommended.
Many people stuff pork and lamb chops along with various types of roasts. When cooking stuffing in meats of this type you should cook the meat to the medium or well-done state to ensure the stuffing is cooked properly also. For pork and lamb chops and most beef, the internal temperature of the meat should read 160 degrees F. Stuffed beef tenderloin is an exception and should be cooked to at least 145 degrees F.
Stuffed fish and seafood, such as trout or lobster, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. For fish this can be in as little as 20 to 30 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. For lobster and other shellfish, the cooking time can increase to around an hour.
Stuffing can be prepared on the stovetop from packaged mixes safely and quickly. Follow the directions on the box for cooking times. Make this type of stuffing during the resting stage of the meat or poultry.