Early Bird Tips from a Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Expert

When a friend tells me – with a little bit of dread in their voice – that they will be hosting Thanksgiving, they invariably ask me to share some of my early-bird tips. They know I work that day at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line and therefore I must have some secrets. These aren’t secrets but tips I have learned with more than my 20 years at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. I tell them to get organized by making a plan – be detailed, it will save time later – like the below:

*Compile a list of desired side dishes and shopping lists

*Write a guest list

*Decide where everyone will be seated so that the tables are set and you have enough chairs

*Determine your table decorations – do you need to add leaves to the table for a fall feel?

*Confirm what serving dishes and tablecloth you might use

I actually create two shopping lists. The first list is for pantry and non-perishable items which I can buy three weeks out. I always buy extra Reynolds Aluminum Foil, regular and Heavy Duty. I do not want to run out!  The second list is for one week out and is for items that need refrigeration, such as whipping cream and my fresh or frozen Butterball Turkey (they are all-natural and hormone and gluten-free!). This year my tip to friends is to watch for our Golden Thursday coupon on November 15th on the Butterball Facebook page.

Also, check out our Turkey Calculator at Butterball.com to determine the amount to buy per person.  I always round up or buy a second Butterball Turkey to have plenty of leftovers. A cook once told me that she always roasts a Butterball Turkey the day before Thanksgiving. Her guests love to have leftovers to take home.

I always remind cooks that recipes and kitchen prep can be done ahead of time too. I will chop and sauté the celery and onion for my stuffing two to three days before Thanksgiving and refrigerate. Measuring out ingredients ahead of time is also big time saver.

These weekly and daily ‘to-do’ lists make life so much easier and I love being able to check off the ‘done’ items. With these early-bird tips, you really can enjoy special gatherings any time of the year.

Share your favorite early bird planning tips below!




  1. Cheri
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have a Butterball young turkey in my freezer that is either one or two years old. i don’t see a ‘purchase by’ date on the tag but there are several numbers so I’m wondering if anyone knows how to read the tag so i may be able to figure out when i bought this bird! Either way, i’m told it should still be okay to cook since it’s been in a very cold freezer and is in original packaging.

    • Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Cheri – we would be happy to help you figure out when you bought your turkey! You can call 1-800-BUTTERBALL or visit our Live Chats on Butterball.com and have the numbers on your tag handy and we can look this up for you. Our rule of thumb is to use your turkey within 24 months of the purchase date.

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: