We Asked The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Questions So You Don't Have To - Exclusive

The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line answers thousands of consumer questions each holiday season, helping home cooks get their turkeys from the freezer to the fridge to the oven and then to the table as smoothly as possible. And the experience can be stressful — after all, it's not like most home cooks are roasting a turkey on the regular. Add inexperience to the pressure of cooking for a family's special occasion and Thanksgiving can be a real challenge for many in the kitchen.

In a recent exclusive interview, Mashed spoke with Butterball Turkey Talk-Line supervisor Andrea Balitewicz about the Talk-Line's most-received questions, and, unsurprisingly, there were several trends. Top turkey questions, every year, focus on thawing and food safety.

According to Balitewicz, "Year after year, the number-one question is how long to thaw your turkey. When we do our staff training, we spend a ton of time talking about how to tell consumers how to thaw a turkey. They don't realize that it takes so long because typically, people are not thawing that large of a piece of meat. The formula is one full day will thaw every 4 pounds of turkey. So if you have a 20-pound turkey, it could take five days to thaw in your refrigerator. [In response], we have what we have termed 'National Thaw Your Turkey Day.' It's the Thursday before Thanksgiving. This year, it's November 17 ..."

Other top turkey questions

But beyond just needing to know how long to thaw a turkey, Andrea Balitewicz says consumers also often call into the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line with questions about potential thawing mishaps. She told Mashed, "There are lots of questions around mistakes that people have made when it comes to thawing. You definitely have people calling at that last minute. They'll say, 'Oh my gosh, I completely forgot to thaw my turkey, and Thanksgiving is tomorrow.' Or they call on the day of. We have some tips, and we always provide them with some solutions."

Some consumers, she says, will even call in because they've misplaced their turkey. She said, "... They've left the turkey maybe in the garage because there was so much excitement when they were bringing home all these groceries, and everybody went out to help, but the turkey was so heavy that they put it down, and then days later, they find the turkey in the garage or in the car ... The turkeys are everywhere. They're outside. They're placed all over the place when people are rushed or excited or in a panic. Those are the unique questions, where we have to then determine, is that turkey going to be safe for them? And Butterball is always going to err on the side of food safety. If the turkey has not been held properly, we will tell them that it's best to discard the turkey."

However, if you did all your thawing safely and correctly, Balitewicz said you can hold your turkey in its thawed state for up to four days before cooking.

Have more questions? You can call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL. The Talk-Line is open through December 24.