Sides & Casseroles

Smoked Stuffing | Dressing

Cooking the stuffing in the smoker is a delicious accompaniment for a turkey. This smoked stuffing is the ultimate in comfort food with a mild, smoky flavor.

Cast iron skillet filled with smoked turkey dressing.Pin
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

To Stuff or Not to Stuff

Technically, this would be considered dressing since we will not stuff the turkey with the stuffing. Smoking a stuffed bird isn’t a good idea for several reasons.

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  1. Extended Cooking Time: Stuffing inside a turkey can significantly increase the overall cooking time. Because smoking is a low and slow cooking method, the added mass of stuffing inside the bird means it takes longer for the heat to penetrate fully. This can result in uneven cooking of both the turkey and the stuffing.
  2. Food Safety Concerns: The most critical reason is food safety. For stuffing to be safe to eat, it must reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill harmful bacteria. Given the slow cooking process of smoking, there’s a risk that the stuffing inside the turkey will spend too much time at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F (4°C and 60°C), which is the danger zone where bacteria can rapidly multiply. Ensuring the turkey and the stuffing reach safe temperatures without overcooking the turkey can be very challenging.
  3. Quality of the Cook: From a culinary perspective, stuffing the turkey can result in less optimal results. Smoking aims to infuse meat with smoky flavors while maintaining moisture slowly. When a turkey is stuffed, the flow of smoke and heat is obstructed, potentially leading to unevenly cooked meat and less smoke flavor penetrating the turkey.
  4. Moisture Retention: The presence of stuffing inside the turkey can also affect the bird’s ability to retain moisture. The stuffing can absorb some of the juices, making the turkey meat drier than it might otherwise be if cooked unstuffed.

This recipe pairs perfectly with your smoked turkey. Smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is a delicious way to celebrate. It opens up valuable oven space for the other sides that need to be baked.

What you need

  • Bread: Use day-old bread or a package of premade stuffing mix.
  • Celery: Diced celery for flavor. If you don’t have any fresh, you can substitute dried celery seed.
  • Onion: Diced onion adds the needed savory element.
  • Butter: Gives the stuffing a delicious mouth feel.
  • Water or chicken broth or stock:
  • Herbs: Sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley pair well with stuffing. Fresh herbs provide the best flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper
Ingredients for smoked stuffing. See details in the recipe below.Pin
Ingredients. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Variations

  • Bread Selection: Use different breads like sourdough, cornbread, or brioche. You can cut the bread into cubes or pulse it in a food processor for finer stuffing.
  • Fresh or Smoked Sausage is delicious in stuffing. Particularly cornbread stuffing.
  • Dried Cranberries: Dried cranberries add a crisp, tangy brightness to the stuffing.
  • Fresh or Dried Apples: Apples will produce a sweeter stuffing that pairs well with the gravy.
  • Drier Stuffing: If your guests prefer your stuffing on the drier side, reduce the butter and the chicken or turkey stock.
  • Wetter Stuffing: This stuffing is moist but if you like a really wet stuffing, you can add two eggs to the mix.
  • Crispier Stuffing: If you are like us and prefer crispy stuffing, consider making stuffing muffins in mini muffin tins. This is the way to get the most crispy edges, so if the family fights over the crispy top, do this to make everyone happy.

How to Make it

Step One:

Chop the onion and celery.

Chopped onion and celery on a cutting board.Pin
Chop onion and celery. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Two:

Add the vegetables to a skillet.

Celery and onion added to cast iron skillet. Pin
Sweat the onion and celery. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Three:

Add the butter.

Butter added to the veggies.Pin
Add butter. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Four:

Sauté the veggies over medium-low heat, stirring often, until they are tender.

Onion and celery cooked down in skillet.Pin
Cook them over low heat until soft. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Five:

Pour the vegetables and butter into the bread mixture. Then, pour in the broth or water.

Vegetables added to the bread crumbs in a large bowl.Pin
Pour them into the bread crumbs. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Six:

Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust the liquid ratio if needed.

Mixed up stuffing in a bowl.Pin
Mix the stuffing up. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Pour the stuffing mixture into a greased cast iron skillet. Smoke on the rack above the turkey for 45 minutes to one hour.

What Wood to Use

You can use a variety of wood for smoking stuffing. Fruit woods like apple, cherry, or pecan are delicious. So is maple, hickory, or oak wood.

What Type of Smoker to Use

Bottom line, use whatever smoker you have. Pellet smokers do a decent job. They will add more smoke to your dishes that electric smokers, since they need to be full of pellets to heat. Charcoal smokers will add that delicious charcoal flavor.

What if I don’t own a smoker?

You can still enjoy smoked meats if you don’t own a smoker. You can use your grill to smoke. Set up your grill so that the fire is only on one side. You will place the meat or vegetable on the side of the grill without a direct flame (indirect heat). This is called indirect cooking.

Add soaked wood to a metal tray (we use a disposable foil pie plate or bread pan). Add another metal tray with water. Place water and wood chips on the side of the grill with the fire. Remember to fill the water if it runs out.

You can also create a similar setup for your oven in a pinch or in the winter.

How to Store Leftovers

Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days. It can be frozen in an airtight container for a few months to serve with chicken or pork dinners.

Rewarm leftovers in the microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat with a little water added to the bottom of the pan. You can also rewarm it in the oven, covered with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes at 350°F.

Side Dishes to Serve with Turkey and Stuffing

Smoked Side Dishes for Turkey

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Cast iron skillet with crispy stuffing.Pin

Smoked Stuffing

Cooking the stuffing in the smoker is a delicious accompaniment for a turkey. This smoked stuffing is the ultimate in comfort food with a mild, smoky flavor.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 44kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 1 12 ounce stuffing mix
  • 5 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Cup Celery 3 small celery stalks
  • 1 Cup Onion
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth or Water and Chicken bouillon

Instructions

  • Chop the celery and onion.
    1 Cup Celery, 1 Cup Onion
  • Add the vegetables and butter to a skillet. Cook them low and slow until the veggies are very soft.
    5 Tablespoons Butter
  • Add the contents of the skillet to a large bowl with the stuffing mix.
    1 12 ounce stuffing mix
  • Pour in most of the broth. Mix well. Add as much broth as you would like for your desired moisture level of the finished stuffing.
    3 Cups Chicken Broth or Water and Chicken bouillon
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Notes

To substitute bread for the stuffing mix, use 6-7 cups of bread cubes, shite bread, multi-grain, or ven cornbread can be used.
Add one pound of browned Italian or breakfast sausage to make sausage stuffing.

Nutrition

Calories: 44kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 238mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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Beth Neels

Author: Beth Neels

Title: Owner

Expertise: canning, game meat cooking, smoking

Bio:

Beth Neels is an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, author, and recipe developer. She founded Binky’s Culinary Carnival in 2014, focusing on “Crafting delicious recipes with sustainable ingredients.” She has been featured in multiple online publications, including MSN, Reader’s Digest, Associated Press, and Parade.

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