How do I cook the perfect turkey?
That sounds like one of those questions that can have a different answer depending upon who’s asking it. Before I arrived at Butterball University that was the question that I would ask the 1-800-Butterball Turkey Talk-Line if I were calling. The turkey is the centerpiece of a holiday feast and as the official “cooker of the turkey” it is my responsibility to make sure that the turkey that I put on the table looks great, and more importantly, is moist and delicious.
Having spent two days with the experts of this year’s Turkey Talk-Line I think that I know the answer to that question, and yes, depending upon what YOU consider to be the perfect turkey the answer may be different than mine. With so many options for the purchase and preparation available the answers will be just as varied. My family prefers the traditional open roasted method on Thanksgiving. I learned how important purchasing the best turkey for my family (frozen or fresh, how large) is the foundation of what I’ll be working with. Butterball offers fresh, frozen, or turkey breasts and more.. Knowing that I like how the turkey LOOKS on the table, my choice would be a whole turkey. I liked the idea of buying a fresh turkey, although when push comes to shove, there’s really no difference in the flavor.
I learned that taking the time to thaw the turkey properly means not having to deal with a partially frozen turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Even if I did have a partially thawed turkey, the Turkey Talk-Line experts have plenty of ideas for quick thawing and how to deal with just about any situation that might arise. The resources they have at their fingertips are AMAZING. Each expert is armed with a binder that would make a body builder grunt when lifting it. Plus, with years and years of experience under them, they have some tricks up their sleeves that have worked for others in the past that they’ll be able to pass along to you as well.
The cooking is all about bringing the turkey to a proper temperature. Since I use the open pan method (and stuff my turkey), I learned that when the thigh reaches 180 F and the stuffing 165 F that I’ll be getting plenty of complements on dinner. When I’m not celebrating Thanksgiving, I like cooking turkey outside on the grill. Since I use charcoal rather than gas, I learned that I was doing GREAT using the indirect method (simply put a foil pan in the center of the bottom of the grill) and surround it on both sides with just the right amount of charcoal for the size of the turkey (which is KEY).
The reality is, whatever your questions, the people at 1-800-Butterball are there to help, no matter what your turkey questions are. Having been around for 30 years, they can help you with everything from thermometers to carving and food safety to how to the perfect turkey.
Yes, they answered my question and more during my two days and even though I’ve been cooking the Thanksgiving turkey for almost 30 years (as long as the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line has been around), I still learned so much. So, don’t be afraid to call, visit Butterball.com or check out Facebook and Twitter you may just have the BEST Thanksgiving dinner that you’ve ever made.