Fresh turkey? Frozen? Thawed? At what temperature… and for how long?
There are so many questions when it comes time to cook a turkey!
But who better than the person in charge of the Butterball Turkey hotline to provide answers!
Mary Clingman is the director of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. With Thanksgiving 2013 looming, she answered our turkey shopping and cooking questions:
CP: As a shopper looking at turkeys, about the only difference I see in all the turkeys is that they are different sizes and prices. Other than size and price, what should I be looking at to pick out a good turkey?
Clingman: You also want to decide if you want a fresh or frozen turkey. A frozen turkey you can buy well in advance of the Thanksgiving meal and thaw the week before the big day. A fresh turkey you can buy a few days before Thanksgiving and no thawing is needed.
CP: What basic tips to you have for cooking a turkey?
Clingman: We recommend roasting the turkey using the open pan method, using a shallow pan about 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep, and always use a flat rack so the turkey cooks evenly. Spray the turkey with a cooking spray before putting it in the oven. Cook in conventional oven at 325 degrees and start checking for doneness 1/2-hour before recommended end times for a tender and juicy turkey. To prevent overcooking, place a piece of lightweight Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty aluminum foil loosely over the breast and top of the drumsticks when the turkey is 2/3 done.
CP: What do you recommend in the way of safety tips?
Clingman: You can cook a turkey frozen or thawed. At the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, we have helped cooks who have had turkeys in varying states of being thawed. Depending on how thawed your turkey is, it will have an effect on the timing of your meal. If it is completely frozen, it will take longer to cook than one that is half-frozen. Use an accurate meat thermometer and let that be your guide to check for doneness. If cooks have any questions in the process, they can reach us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Live Chats, Butterball.com and 1-800-BUTTERBALL for tips and advice for their Thanksgiving table.
CP: What cooking times and temperature do you recommend for thawed and frozen turkeys of different sizes?
Clingman: We recommend roasting a turkey at 325 degrees no matter if it’s frozen or thawed. Check out our thawing and cooking calculators here on Butterball.com for more information.
> We thank Ms. Clingman and Butterball for their time and tips!
Along with the Butterball hotline, a number of other turkey brands offer turkey helplines as well – here’s the list we came up with:
Reynolds Turkey Tips Line: 1-800-745-4000,
Honeysuckle White, 1-800-810-6325,
Land O’Lakes Holiday Bakeline: 1-800-782-9606
Jennie-O Turkey: 1-800-621-3505
Foster Farms: 1-800-255-7227
Market Pantry (Target) 1-800-591-3869
House of Raeford: 1-800-8-TURKEY
What are your favorite turkey cooking tips and/or consultants?
Let us know in the comments section below!