November 21, 2014


Whether you’re hosting thanksgiving dinner, trying to impress your in-laws or even just a first time cook, it’s time to talk turkey.

Cooks all over the country are getting ready to prep their turkeys for the perfect thanksgiving meal, but before setting out to battle the bird, there’s a call they might want to make first.

The experts at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line have been guiding home chefs through the basics of cooking turkey since 1981 and their home base is right here in Naperville. We recently stopped by to get our own guide for the best way of preventing any last minute disasters.

One common mistake? Waiting too long to thaw out your bird. Plan on one day for every four pounds.

“You want to make sure that turkey is completely defrosted. You can put it in your refrigerator a week before, you can also put it in cold water if you’re short on time,” said Sue Smith, Co-Director of Butterball Turkey Talk-Line.

Now that it’s no longer rock solid, it’s time to pop it in the oven, Butterball has a simple method to get that golden-brown look.

“In a shallow pan, two to three inches, you’re going to brush the turkey with some vegetable oil on the breast, put it in the oven at 325 degrees covered,” said Smith.

To prevent the turkey from getting dry, Smith recommends lightly shielding the breast with foil two thirds of the way through cooking and continuously checking the temperature.

“You always want to use a meat thermometer and check it in the thigh and you want to get that up to 180 degrees, and check the breast to make sure it gets to 170 degrees and if you stuff the turkey, make sure the stuffing gets to 165 degrees,” said Smith.

Cooking times vary depending on the weight of the bird, a 9-18 pounder should take three to three and a half hours unstuffed. Once it’s done, let the turkey cool down for 20-30 minutes before carving.

Need more help? Just ring up 1-800-BUTTERBALL, or hit them up on Facebook or Twitter because there’s no question that they can’t handle.

“I had a mom call, she had toddler twins taking a bath and she put her turkey in to thaw it because she kind of was cross training and like ‘Can I do this?’” said Smith.

Butterball reaches over 3 million cooks between calls, social media and


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