Folks Have Been Asking The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Weird Questions For 40 Years

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Originally Published: 
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If you’ve ever cooked a Thanksgiving dinner, you have a story. It may be one of victory and a beautifully browned bird coming out of the oven as a tear of joy streams down your cheek. Or, the disappointment that comes with an unthawed turkey that you decided to cook at 600 degrees for two hours to speed things up and ended up charring your dinner. We may not all be #blessed with the natural ability to serve up a meal beautiful enough to grace the pages of a magazine, but we can all get there with a little help. And thanks to the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, Thanksgivings have been saved for 40 years!

The Talk-Line began in 1981 when a group of six home economists came together to answer questions about preparing a turkey. That first year, they took more than 11,000 calls from turkey enthusiasts looking to up their Thanksgiving Day game. Today, the Turkey Talk-Line serves more than 100,000 people each year, with about 15,000 questions on Thanksgiving Day alone. That is a lot of talking turkey.

The Turkey Talk-Line is now comprised of more than 50 experts who represent all culinary fields from chefs to registered dietitians, like Samantha Woulfe, who talked turkey with Scary Mommy. She comes highly qualified.

“All the Turkey Talk-Line experts must go through various trainings each year, including Butterball University. I am proud to say that I passed Butterball University and earned my status as a Butterball Turkey Talk-Line expert,” she said.

Experts like Woulfe are available to those of us who may be having some turkey troubles, 24 hours a day via various mediums. You can call 1-800-BUTTERBALL, live chat on BUTTERBALL.COM, shoot a text to 844-877-3456, or simply say, “Alexa, ask Butterball,” on your enabled devices. Plus, Butterball is on a variety of social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and new this year, TikTok. This is all in addition to thousands of calls on Thanksgiving Day.

Woulfe explained that the new TikTok channel will feature the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line where experts will be putting themselves to the test by trying out new trends, tips, and techniques and passing on what they have learned to TikTok users. This is a fun way to learn a few tricks this Thanksgiving.

We all know that if you are fielding hundreds of thousands of calls every year, you are going to hear some crazy stuff. Woulfe shared some of her funniest moments as a Talk-Line expert.

“I think every Turkey Talk Line expert has experienced his/her fair share of ‘unique’ questions. My most memorable story was when a host called, panicked about a critter/raccoon getting to her turkey that was defrosting outside. She wanted to know if it would still be safe to cook and consume. For reference, we would not recommend thawing your turkey outside for food safety reasons,” she said.

She also said that people have some crazy thoughts about where you should thaw your turkey. And for how long. Counter, bathtub, garage, those are all places where people thaw their turkeys. Would you believe that there are people who thaw the turkey in the trunk of their car? Yep, that’s a thing! Woulfe said that no matter what route you take, you need to be concerned about food safety.

“The safest way to thaw your turkey in the refrigerator on a tray wrapped in the original packaging. The general rule of thumb is for every 4 pounds of turkey; allow 24 hours in a fridge. For example, a 12-pound turkey should take about 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator. Once your turkey is completely thawed, you have up to 4 days to cook it,” she explained.

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As Thanksgiving day draws closer, Woulfe said that the questions change from how to thaw the turkey to how to best prepare it and specific Butterball product questions arise. On Thanksgiving Day, it may be troubleshooting when the turkey is finished, or tips and tricks for the best gravy. Sometimes, it is crisis, but sometimes, it is just for fun!

“I also enjoy the calls that usually involve a couple arguing about something related to preparing a turkey. Let’s just say I am the tiebreaker in the argument. I think it usually is in good fun; the winner feels even better going into the Thanksgiving celebration,” she said.

Thanksgiving is a time where we come together with loved ones to share a good meal and to reflect on our blessings. If we are able to celebrate with those whom we care about this year, that is something to truly be thankful for. Whether it is your first time making your own turkey and you need some advice, or you have been wowing your guests for years and hit a snag, the Turkey Talk-Line is here to help.

“Butterball is here to bring inspiration to new and seasoned hosts alike to help them get cooking this Thanksgiving, so there is less trial and error and more time with family and friends. As always, hosts can reach the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line experts by phone, text, chat, social media and our Alexa skill. We look forward to hearing from you,” Woulfe concluded.

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