My #1 Question for the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line

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 or check out Facebook and Twitter you may just have the BEST Thanksgiving dinner that you’ve ever made.



  1. Judy Lucas
    Posted November 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Today is Sunday and my 6 lb. turkey breast has thawed. Bought it on Thursday. It’s in a sealed package. Will it be okay to keep refrigerated and cook next Thursday or should it be cooked prior? Can it be refrozen for a few days?

    Judy Lucas

  2. Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Judy,

    They actually talked about this at Butterball U. and I think that I know the answer, but just to be on the safe side – why not give the ladies at the Turkey Talk Line 1-800-BUTTERBALL a call just to be certain.

  3. Nancy
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t really understand the difference between Fresh and Frozen. The “Fresh” Butterballs at my Grocery store were frozen. Not quire as hard as the frozen ones but definitely frozen. You could hear the ice crystals when you pushed on it. The Grocer said that they have to be frozen to ship them. Is this a true? Is “Fresh” just pre-thawed frozen turkey?

  4. Posted November 23, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    Nancy – Butterball Fresh turkey’s are all natural and never frozen. They are supposed to be refrigerated at 35-40 degrees F .

    I’d give the Butterball Turkey-Talk line a call to see what they have to say, maybe they can clear up the confusion. 1-800-BUTTERBALL

  5. Jeanie
    Posted November 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I should be putting my 25 lb. stuffed turkey on to cook at 11:00 a,m. I am leaving for golf at 6:30 and will not be home til 1:00. Can I put my turkey in the oven at a lower temp til I get home? If so, how low. Thanks!!

    • Posted November 24, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Gee, you’re PRETTY close the the perfect time, since a 25 lb. turkey takes 5 1/2 – 6 1/4 hours to cook (stuffed).

      The turkey-talk line will be able to help you with the exact temperature and timing for a Butterball that size (and yes, they’ll be working on Thanksgiving).

  6. Irene Loya
    Posted November 24, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    hey i got my turkey out like around 9a.m. out of the freezer and its a 19.27 lbs. turkey. so anyways i got it out and put it in frig. and around 4:30p.m . i put it in cold water and i let it sit until 7:40 p.m. cuz it looked defrosted but it turns out that the inside is still a lil frozen. what do i do since i took it out of the cover.

    • Posted November 4, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink | Reply

      There are a few things that you can do. There are some GREAT tutorials about thawing right on the site. When thawing in water, change the water every 1/2 hour.

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