Is it a good idea to cook a 30-year-old frozen turkey?

By peoplestaff225
Updated December 03, 2020 04:24 PM

Tim Boyle/Getty

Butterball’s Talk-Line has helped confused cooks with Thanksgiving turkey prep since its inception 35 years ago — and while the service has successfully churned out thousands of responses to common questions, which the company so graciously shared with PEOPLE, it has also received a great deal of outlandish queries.

From one caller wondering if it’s possible to roast and consume a 30-year-old frozen turkey (why?) to another caller asking about her breast-less turkey (spoiler alert: there was breast meat; the turkey was just placed upside down) those taking on Turkey Day responsibilities have submitted a slew of questions that have kept Butterball’s Talk-Line experts entertained and well-trained through the years.

RELATED: Is It Safe to Stuff Your Turkey? Your Most Pressing Thanksgiving Questions, Answered

Keep scrolling to see the most memorable questions asked via Talk-Line, and how the experts handled them.

1. So I’m looking at a turkey from 1969 sitting here in my father’s freezer … any tips on the best way to cook a 30-year-old bird?

A man found a turkey in his dad’s freezer from 1969. The Talk-Line suggested the man throw out the old turkey and purchase a new one. Then, the Talk-Line suggested to cook the turkey in the open roasting pan method.

2. How do I roast my turkey so it gets golden brown tan lines in the shape of a turkey bikini?

A strange request in deed, but the Talk-Line can help in any turkey situation! The experts helped to create a “bikini look” by using aluminum foil in certain places on the turkey.

3. How to carve a turkey when all of its bones have been broken?

A proud gentleman called to tell the staff how he wrapped his turkey in a towel and stomped on it several times, breaking the bones so it would fit in his pan. The experts wouldn’t recommend this approach — if you have several folks coming to your holiday meal but a small pan, the Talk-Line would recommend trying a different method, maybe deep frying the turkey. Or, buy two smaller turkeys in place of a large one.

4. I carved my turkey with a chainsaw … is the chain grease going to adversely affect my turkey?

A gentleman called to tell the operator he cut his turkey in half with a chain saw and wanted to know if the oil from the chain would adversely affect the turkey. The Talk-Line wouldn’t recommend serving a turkey with chainsaw grease! Instead, let your turkey rest at least 20 mins after cooking to make carving easier. Then, using a carving knife you would find in your kitchen.

5. Why does my turkey have no breast meat?

A disappointed woman called wondering why her turkey had no breast meat. After a conversation with a Talk-Line operator, it became apparent that the woman’s turkey was lying on the table upside down. The Talk-Line experts recommend cooking your turkey breast side up in the open roasting pan method. This will give you a flavorful turkey and make it easier when transferring your turkey to a plate so you don’t have to flip it over.

6. It’s my first Thanksgiving and I have a tiny apartment-sized oven … how much will my turkey expand when cooking?

A new bride cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in a small, apartment-sized oven, wanted to make sure her turkey wouldn’t expand during cooking (as baked goods do) and get stuck in the oven. Rest assured, your turkey will not expand in the oven. But be sure to use a pan with at least 2″ sides so your turkey juices don’t spill over during the cooking process … you want to save the juices for turkey gravy.

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7. How do I get my turkey to stop sudsing? Is a soapy turkey recoverable?

A first-time Thanksgiving chef called after she had washed her turkey with dish soap. You don’t have to clean your turkey, simply pat the extra juices dry with paper towels before stuffing or roasting the turkey – quite a bit easier than washing with soap!

8. For the sake of delicious smells, can I cook my turkey over the course of four days?

The Talk-Line doesn’t recommend slow-cooking your turkey over the course of multiple days. You are able to use a slow cooker if needed, but experts would recommend 6-8 hours in the slow cooker. If cooking in the oven, it should only take a few hours to cook.

9. How do I baste a pre-basted turkey?

Some folks love to baste the turkey while it’s cooking. If you’re one of them, the Talk-Line suggests basting only a few times during the cooking process so you don’t continuously let out the heat of the oven.

10. My turkey thawed on my lap … can I eat it?

A gentleman won a turkey at the casino, and brought it home on the bus where it had thawed. The safest way to thaw your turkey is in the refrigerator — it takes one day for every four pounds of turkey. The Talk-Line experts wouldn’t recommend eating a turkey that has been thawed in warmer temperatures.

Grace Gavilanes