RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Let’s be honest, cooking a turkey is hard. When do you baste? What temperature does it have to be? Thankfully, you don’t have to go through this alone.
It may be the conspicuous centerpiece of thanksgiving traditions, but making the perfect turkey can go perfectly wrong.
“Hey, we’re here for you and [for] Thanksgiving to be fabulous,” said Butterball Turkey Talk-Line expert Karen Wilcher.
Since 1981, countless confused chefs have called with questions over how to prepare their turkeys. Wilcher, who’s been on the hotline for ten years, is part of a call team full of trained chefs, dietitians and homemakers.
“We’ve all been certified and all graduated from Butterball University,” she said.
First things first: Wilcher says you must plan ahead and thoroughly thaw your bird. If you’re thawing it in the fridge, you need to allow one day of thawing for every four pounds of turkey, so it’ll take a few days.
But we’re all busy, so to speed things up, you can instead try the water bath method.
“You just simply keep the turkey in its original wrapper and you’re going to thaw it using cold water, changing the water frequently,” she explained.
In a water bath, you need 30 minutes of thawing for every pound of turkey. After its thawed, you can roast, fry, grill, or even microwave your bird!
But Wilcher reminds you to make sure its fully cooked! It should be at least 164° in the center of the stuffing, and 180° in the thigh. After serving, don’t leave it out all day!
“You have 2 hours that you need to get that turkey served. And eaten, and if not you need to put it away in the refrigerator,” said Wilcher.
Turkey leftovers are only good in the fridge for three days.
Wilcher welcomes all callers, and says there’s no such thing as a dumb question, but she’s had some funny ones, like from a dad who wanted a shortcut to thaw his turkey.
“His job was to get the turkey thawed using our water bath method. Well, he also knew he was supposed to take care of getting the kids a bath. So he was thinking- turkey, water bath…kids, bath…perhaps I could put those together? Not a great idea!” Wilcher recalled.
It doesn’t matter if the meal is perfect. All that matters is that it’s safe to eat so you instead focus on making lifelong memories.
If you’d like to reach Butterball they have different options for you. The company has its traditional hotline but the experts also answer texts and they’re active on social media.
The hotline is open from November 1st through Christmas Eve.