Thanksgiving turkey prep has never been easier

By peoplestaff225
November 18, 2015 01:19 PM

Kate Mathis/Getty

Let’s be honest: while giving thanks is undoubtedly an important part of Thanksgiving (it’s in the name, after all), nothing quite compares to the holiday’s delicious staple — the turkey.

With the big day approaching (which understandably calls for a load of prep and finger-licking sides to boot), we’ve decided to enlist the help of Butterball’s famous Talk-Line. The service has been fielding thousands of questions from all kinds of cooks (first-timers and veterans included) for the past 35 years — and, in turn, has become a go-to for those eager to conquer Turkey Day.

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In case you’re feeling anxious about finally taking on the reigns this holiday (thanks, mom!) or need more of a quick check list, take a look through the most frequently asked questions and answers in regard’s to the holiday’s main attraction — straight from the Butterball Talk-Line archives.

1. My turkey is still frozen – help!

Thawing in the refrigerator is the recommended method. For every four pounds of turkey, allow at least one day of thawing in the refrigerator. The refrigerator temperature should be below 40° F.

If it’s 6 a.m. and you have a frozen turkey – don’t panic! If you didn’t allow enough time or turkey is not thawing fast enough, put turkey in cold tap water and allow thirty minutes per lb. The combination of refrigerator and cold water thawing will shorten the refrigerator thawing time.

2. How do I know my turkey is done?

The proper temperatures to get a tender and juicy turkey – the turkey should reach 180° F in the thigh, 170° F in the breast and 165° F in the center of the stuffing; and refrigerate cooked turkey promptly to reduce temperature to below 40° F.

3. How long should I cook my turkey?

We recommend roasting in an open shallow pan at 325°F. A 16lb turkey will take between 3 and 4 hours but we recommend you use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

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4. How much turkey should I buy?

We recommend a pound to a pound and half per person to allow for generous leftovers.

5. What are the best tips for carving a turkey?

Carving can be stressful so here are three tips to make the process a little less stressful this year:

– Make sure you have a sharp knife – it makes all the difference.

– Let the turkey sit 15-20 minutes before carving – it allows the juices to settle and keeps the turkey moist.

– Don’t carve at the table – carve in the kitchen where there is less pressure.

6. Is it safe to stuff your turkey?

Of course – as long as you use a meat thermometer. Check the stuffing to ensure it gets up to 165° F in the center of the stuffing.

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–Grace Gavilanes