My #1 Question for the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line

You’ve seen this number before, right? 1-800-BUTTERBALL (800-288-8372). The number starts showing up every year as your go-to for Thanksgiving turkey preparation questions.

Did you know the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line was launched in 1981?

Do you realize that this means that 2011 will be the 31st year that cooks will have the benefit of having trained Butterball experts available with just the tap of a few buttons?

Way back in 1981, I didn’t give a whit about anything on Thanksgiving other than the fact that there was going to be turkey (I was three and I was not at all precocious in the kitchen, in fact I didn’t really learn to cook until I left home). However, six home economists cared and they responded to 11,000 phone calls that inaugural year.

What about this year?

In 2011, 50 professionally trained turkey experts will help over 1 million Thanksgiving cooks via web, phone, Facebook and Twitter this November and December. Butterball is smart and is changing with the times, not only will these trained experts be available by telephone, they will also be responding to questions via Twitter and Facebook.

There is no question too silly for the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line experts, trust me, they have heard it all.

Yes, people have asked what to do with a frozen turkey at 2pm on Thanksgiving Day.

What’s the answer? Dinner may have to be pushed back a bit, but all is not lost. has a cold-water hawing calculator tool that will tell you exactly how long your frozen turkey will take to thaw. The cold-water method is your go-to thawing technique for turkeys that are not fully thawed and need to be in a hurry.

What do people ask? Well here are a few examples from the Butterball Facebook Fanpage

Q: Are Butterball turkeys dairy free?
A: We do not use dairy in our basting solution. Any of our products that contain dairy state this on the packaging. Hope this helps!

Q: I bought a 20lb. Butterball Prem. turkey.  Is it self-basting? Does not state that on the packaging anywhere. Thanks.
A: Both our Butterball fresh and frozen turkeys are pre- basted. Enjoy! They are tender and juicy every time.

Q: To brine or not to brine? Most of the Butterball’s we get here are frozen and I always worry that brining will make them too salty. Any suggestions?
A: You’re in luck – it’s not necessary to brine a frozen Butterball turkey! Both fresh and frozen Butterball turkeys are pre-basted to make them extra tender and juicy! Hope that helps!

What would I like to ask the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line experts?

When I get a chance to talk to these trained turkey experts, I know exactly what I’m going to ask:

What is your favorite way to prepare a Butterball turkey?

As it’s only fair to answer the question I ask, I’m going to have to let you in on a secret that no one but my family knows. I love to experiment and not everything I cook comes out perfect the first time. I usually cook between 6 – 8 turkeys over the course of the season, I do this as I experiment with recipes and techniques for my own website. Last year, to change things up a bit, I decided to try my hand at brining a turkey and I decided to use my good friend Rachel’s turkey brine recipe as a starting point.

Some of you may know that my personal favorite Butterball turkey cooking technique is deep frying. I love this method not only because it yields an amazingly tender and juicy turkey, but also because it also frees up my oven for the rest of the Thanksgiving menu.

In all honesty, this experiment was the ugliest turkey I have ever seen. You see, the sugar in the brine caramelized to such a dark color that I thought for sure I had burned the turkey.  I was sorely disappointed, but only until it cooled enough for me to pinch off a taste. That hideous turkey was the best turkey I have ever tasted and I am salivating at the thought of making it again. I just didn’t have the heart to document that ugly turkey and even this year, the ugly turkey will be for personal consumption rather than as the star of a website photo shoot.

What do you want to ask the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line experts?



  1. Theresa
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 7:01 am | Permalink | Reply

    The directions that came with my butterball turkey said not to add water. I am following a turkey recipe which says to add 4cups of water. My question is it ok to follow a turkey recipe to add butter, kosher salt and herbs to my turkey? Does the butterball turkey already have salt added to it?

    • Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Theresa – you can certainly follow any turkey recipe you like but we recommend not adding water for two reasons: your drippings won’t be as rich and the water tends to steam the turkey while it is cooking.

  2. southernfairytale
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I feel very honored and special! My name and recipe just appeared on the Butterball blog! WOO HOO! 🙂

  3. nabb
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Seems to difficult to find a simple answer to the question…Should you brine a butterball turkey?

    • Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:35 am | Permalink | Reply

      That’s a great question! Butterball turkeys are pre-brined,guaranteeing a delicious, moist turkey. You can, of course, choose to brine the turkey yourself as well, but there’s no need to.

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