What We Learned at Butterball University

As we got ready for our trip to Butterball University, it’s safe to say we were both a bit intimidated. Neither of us had ever cooked a whole turkey before, nor did we really know much about cooking them. With all the hype and nervousness surrounding cooking a turkey we assumed it was borderline rocket science! Why else would people need an entire Turkey Talk-Line dedicated to the cooking of turkey if it wasn’t incredibly difficult?

But just a couple days later, we feel like complete turkey experts! Well, maybe not as much so as the Turkey Talk-Line experts, but we do feel like we could prepare a delicious and beautiful-looking turkey all on our own with no problem. Because cooking a turkey isn’t so hard after all. It’s all about confidence and knowing a few basic pieces of information. And that’s part of what the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is for. To give people confidence and encouragement to cook that turkey. And, of course, the Turkey Talk-Line is for tips too.



It was an action-packed two days, but also incredibly fun. Everyone at Butterball was so kind and nobody laughed at us when we confessed we had never cooked a turkey. We observed, listened, practiced, and learned from the very best. We had an amazing experience in all things turkey!

Here are some of our favorite tips we learned while attending Butterball University:

Thawing: You need to start thawing your frozen turkey 3-7 days ahead of time, depending on the size of it (give 1 day for every 4 pounds). Thaw it breast-side up in the fridge. NOT on your counter.

If you forget to thaw and are short on time, you can use the cold water method. Submerge your turkey in cold water, changing water every 30 minutes. Thawing will take about 30 minutes per pound.


LOTS of people overcook their turkeys by at least a whole hour! Your turkey is done when it’s 180 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. If stuffed, the stuffing should be 165 degrees in center. Don’t keep it in the oven “just to be safe.”

If you don’t have a rack for your roasting pan, did you know you could line the roasting pan with large carrots? Or a foil coil? Simply take a long sheet of foil, roll it up into a narrow tubular shape and fit it to the bottom of your pan! The Turkey Talk-Line experts are full of great information like this to get you out of any rut.

Don’t forget to remove the giblet bags from the cavity and neck of the turkey before preparing and cooking (lots of people do!).

Spray or brush your turkey with oil before cooking to give the skin a nice golden color.

prepping the turkey

Deep-fried turkey is absolutely delicious!


And the most important tip we learned: If you have any problems at all, call 1-800-BUTTERBALL. The experts answering the phone are the sweetest, most knowledgeable people around and can answer pretty much any question you might have!



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