The Strangest Calls The Butterball Turkey Talk Line Has Ever Received - Exclusive

When you get 11,000 calls in a matter of weeks, some of them are bound to be pretty, well, strange. And as that's the number of calls that were placed to the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line in its first year of operation alone, some calls were indeed odd. The year was 1981 — yes, the Turkey Talk-Line is now 40 years old — and there were just six people on hand to cover the phone lines, per the brand. Do the math, and that's about 1,800 phone calls per person that year, whether the calls were quick and easy or completely out of left field.

During an exclusive interview with Butterball senior brand manager Rebecca Welch, Mashed learned about one of the strangest calls the team ever fielded. "Oh, we've received, well just an unbelievable range of strange questions," Welch said. "We had a gentleman call in one year. He was trying to get his turkey to thaw quickly. He also needed to get his twins in the bath. He called to find out if he could just throw the twins and the turkey, in the bathtub together, whether that would work, we suggested maybe splitting them up. And the twins probably wouldn't like the cold water that much."

As it happens, questions about how to properly, safely, and quickly thaw turkeys are about the most common that the experts get, which is why Welch's number one piece of advice was essentially to plan your Thanksgiving cooking well ahead. "A lot of times people don't realize that you need to start thawing that frozen turkey three, four days in advance, maybe even up to a week in advance based on the size," she said.

Other strange turkey questions

In the four decades that Butterball has been fielding calls (and, in recent years, texts, tweets, and chats), they have helped some 50 million people calling in to ask about everything from proper cooking temperature, to thaw times, to ideas for side dishes.

While the bathtub thawing of it all may have been among the strangest, it was hardly the only weird call that came in. It turns out that another issue Butterball has seen come up several times is turkeys lost in the snow, Rebecca Welch said. "We've had questions from people who are trying to thaw their turkey, they've put it in a snowbank and they're trying to figure out if that was okay, or now they've lost it [in the snow] and now they're trying to find it and wanting to know if that's okay."

As for a few of the more relatable questions often fielded? "We've had people call in and they've accidentally left the neck [on], or they have a bag of parts on the inside. They're concerned they've left that in. And that's one of the common questions we get," Welch said.

And sometimes the questions are entirely logical. "We had a question one year where someone was trying to figure out how to get their turkey across town and still keep it warm. And our experts were able to walk them through how to carve up the turkey, get it into something that was easy to transport, and could help them keep it warm as they moved it across town," Welch said.

Got turkey questions? Call 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372) or text 844-877-3456, or reach out to Butterball via TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest channels, try the Butterball Skill for Amazon Alexa, or chat live with the experts on for real-time suggestions, advice, trusted recipes, and tips for success.