The Times They Are A-Changin’ at Butterball

Posted November 22, 2013 by jimhigley

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Bob Dylan’s lyrics were never so apropos. Especially at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line this year.

Those changes include men who will be “manning” the Talk-Line and representing the brand. A whole flock of them – including yours truly.

The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line began in 1981 when six home economists responded to 11,000 phone calls from worried Thanksgiving Day chefs. That team of six has grown to over 50 professionally trained “turkey experts” who, in 2012, helped over 1 million cooks during the months of November and December through personal calls on the Talk-Line, in chat rooms, and on Facebook.

And every one of those helpful responses was made by a woman.

But as Mr. Dylan said, the times they are a-changin.

“One out of every four calls at the Turkey Talk-Line comes from men,” explains RJ Jaramillo, the first male Turkey Talk-Line spokesman, selected after a nationwide search. “So it’s only natural to start seeing – and hearing – guys join the ranks.”

Before manning the Turkey Talk-Line, our fraternal team got a top-to-bottom turkey education from the experts at Butterball University where we learned the A to Zs on everything from health and safety issues to step-by-step pointers for a variety of cooking methods.

Here’s my top five take-aways:

Thaw with Ease: Thawing in the refrigerator is the recommended method. For every four pounds of turkey, allow at least one day of thawing in the refrigerator. However, if your turkey is still frozen and you’re short on time, submerge the turkey in cold water. Leave the turkey in the wrapper, place it in a tub or sink of cold water and allow 30 minutes of thaw time for every pound of turkey.

Coil of Foil: If you don’t have a flat rack, take a long piece of Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil and crinkle it the long way to create a tube like shape. Then shape the tube of foil into a medium sized circle to place at the bottom of the pan. Place the turkey on this homemade cooking rack – this elevates the turkey, reduces the amount of dishes (just toss the rack in the trash) and cooks the turkey evenly.

Tender and Juicy Turkey: The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line experts recommend the open pan roasting method using a flat rack in a shallow pan so that the turkey cooks evenly and is raised off the bottom of the pan. Tent the turkey with a piece of foil 2/3 of the way through through the cooking process to ensure the breasts and thighs cook evenly.

Food Safety: Practice good food safety procedures: wash hands often; keep raw turkey and ready-to-eat foods separated; cook foods to proper temperatures and use a meat thermometer to check for doneness – the turkey should reach 180° F in the thigh, 170° F in the breast and 165° F in the center of the stuffing when it is done; and refrigerate cooked turkey promptly to reduce temperature to below 40° F.

Carving: Let the turkey cool for 15-30 minutes before carving and if you don’t have to carve in front the family don’t – this will take off some of the pressure!

So we’ve got you covered as you get ready for your celebration around this year’s Thanksgiving table. Give the experts a call at 1-800-BUTTERBALL. And don’t surprised when you hear a man’s voice. Because the times they are – – – well, you know.

Gobble, gobble.


  • Tim Hart

    Jim – Thanks for the Hangout this evening and your passionate wisdom. Now, to the question: What’s the stupidest question you fielded on the Butterball Hotline?