No-Stress Turkey: Help is just a phone call away

Published on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 22:01 - Written by CHRISTINE GARDNER

One of the first national, toll-free consumer help lines, the original Butterball Turkey Talk-Line staff of six home economists fielded questions from 11,000 turkey-troubled Americans during its first season in November 1981. Each November and December, professionally trained turkey experts assist more than 1 million cooks through the Turkey Talk-Line,, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Live Chats and emails in the United States and Canada.

With more than 50 staff members, the Turkey Talk-Line has the resources to answer questions from either English or Spanish speaking callers, as well as respond to questions via email.

Headquartered in Garner, N.C., Butterball is the largest producer of turkey products in the U.S., producing approximately 1 billion pounds of turkey each year.

For more than 50 years, the company has provided foodservice and retail products to customers and consumers around the world.

Butterball products are currently distributed throughout the U.S. and in more than 30 countries and operates five processing plants located in North Carolina, Arkansas and Missouri.

A 2013 Butterball survey shows the majority of U.S. adults play a role in helping to prepare for the celebrated Thanksgiving meal, but that there are notable differences in how men and women contribute to the holiday dinner.


Key Survey Findings:

Expand Your Thanksgiving Cooking Crew: Whether it’s helping to organize the meal, preparing side dishes or cooking the turkey, 84 percent of men are involved in some aspect of holiday meal preparation for Thanksgiving.

Today’s Modern Kitchen: One in four men say their household responsibilities are shifting, and they are helping out more in the kitchen now than they were two to three years ago. Additionally, 58 percent of men say they are primarily responsible for providing meals for their family throughout the year.

Men Take on the Turkey: Nearly half of men are taking on turkey duty in their households, with 42 percent saying they take on the coveted responsibility of either preparing or cooking the main dish for the Thanksgiving meal.

Men and Women Share the Apron: When it comes to food preparation, a majority of adults would turn to a man for advice on grilling or smoking (51 percent), are less likely to do so when it comes to cooking (33 percent) and meal preparation (31 percent).

Who Says Men Don’t Ask For Directions: Men are more likely than women to say they would consult their significant other or spouse when seeking cooking advice for Thanksgiving (52 percent vs. 33 percent).

Turkey Know How: From thawing to carving, when preparing the Thanksgiving meal, the questions can be endless. More than half of adults say they turn to experts, cookbooks or cooking magazines (52 percent), and 49 percent rely on online searches for websites and videos as helpful resources for meal prep.

Man Tested, Men Approved: In general, men are more likely than women to say they’d go to another man for advice on cooking (38 percent vs. 29 percent).



The 50 professionally trained turkey experts at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line can provide Thanksgiving cooks with the tools they need to host a Thanksgiving that everyone at the table will enjoy.


CAROL MILLER, Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Supervisor

Years Talking Turkey: 30

Tip for the New Thanksgiving Table: “I love a tender and juicy turkey, so I always suggest using Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil to tent the turkey breast 2/3 through the cooking process – it helps ensure the turkey is cooked to perfection.”

Favorite Thing About Turkey Talking: “It’s rewarding to share my knowledge of turkey with cooks to ensure they have a picture-perfect holiday meal. When you help solve a problem, you know you’ve made a positive impact on their day.”


MARTY VAN NESS, Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Supervisor

Years Talking Turkey: 22

Tip for the New Thanksgiving Table: “Get everyone in the family involved this Thanksgiving and assign easy tasks like dicing vegetables or setting the table to more advanced like carving the turkey.”

Favorite Thing About Turkey Talking: “I love to show new and experienced Thanksgiving cooks how to make their holiday celebrations better by sharing my knowledge of turkey – what size turkey to buy, what cooking method to use and more.”


NICOLE JOHNSON, Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Expert

Years Talking Turkey: 10

Tip for the New Thanksgiving Table: “With more ways than ever to get advice and inspiration – from Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to Live Chats and – no matter where you are, you can access a Talk-Line expert.”

Favorite Thing About Turkey Talking: “It allows me to use my own experiences to empathize with cooks when they encounter similar problems as I have. I enjoy being a turkey talker because I provide cooks with simple tips that enable them to prepare a fabulous meal!”


SUE SMITH, Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Expert

Years Talking Turkey: 10

Tip for the New Thanksgiving Table: “Set aside some time to write a daily to-do list – that way, you don’t have to spend time thinking about what you need to do each day since you’ve already made a plan.”

Favorite Thing About Turkey Talking: “I love being able to take part in the holiday meals of families across the country. I can help ease the anxieties of a first-time cook or help families out of a real turkey predicament! It’s a great feeling to know I’m making a difference for people.”


JANICE STAHL, Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Expert

Years Talking Turkey: 6

Tip for the New Thanksgiving Table: “A great way to impress guests is by offering wine pairings to complement the Thanksgiving menu. I like to test out Woodbridge Wines before the holiday at my friendsgiving (the weekend before

Thanksgiving) – it’s my favorite way to find the best wine pairings for my turkey, pies and side dishes.”

Favorite Thing About Turkey Talking: “It allows me to help Thanksgiving cooks when they encounter similar problems that I’ve had while preparing my turkey. I enjoy sharing top Thanksgiving tips, enabling cooks to prepare a picture-perfect meal!”


Mary Clingman, director of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line had these tips to add to ensure a flawless Thanksgiving meal.

Celebrate the new Thanksgiving table: With more men involved in cooking than ever before, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is embracing this shift and you’ll be able to talk to a man or a woman this year. So, no matter who the cook is in your family, the Turkey Talk-Line will have top tips and advice via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest Live Chats, and 1-800-BUTTERBALL.

Thawing with Ease: If it’s 6 a.m. and you have a frozen turkey – don’t panic! If you didn’t allow enough time or turkey is not thawing fast enough, put turkey in cold tap water and allow thirty minutes per lb. The combination of refrigerator and cold water thawing will shorten the refrigerator thawing time.

Food Prep 101: Practice good food safety procedures: wash hands often; keep raw turkey and ready-to-eat foods separated; cook foods to proper temperatures to get a tender and juicy turkey – the turkey should reach 180 degrees in the thigh, 170 degrees in the breast and 165degrees in the center of the stuffing; and refrigerate cooked turkey promptly to reduce temperature to below 40 degrees.

Check for Doneness: Always use a meat thermometer to determine when the turkey is fully cooked. The turkey should reach 180 degrees in the thigh, 170 degrees in the breast and 165 degrees in the center of the stuffing.

Expand Your Thanksgiving Cooking Crew: Get everyone involved this Thanksgiving and assign easy tasks like dicing vegetables or setting the table to more advanced tasks like carving the turkey.



“Like” and follow Butterball on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for realtime advice, turkey prep information, culinary inspiration and special savings.


Download the free Butterball app on your Apple device to get easy access to delicious recipe ideas, how-to videos, upcoming Butterball promotions and cooking advice at your fingertips


Log on to to get cooking tips from the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line experts and get real-time advice via Live Chats

Other features include:

Recipes: Enjoy recipe ideas that appeal to everyone’s taste buds – tried-and-true contemporary recipes.

How-To Videos: Step-by-step instructions on how to thaw, roast, stuff, carve and more to prepare your Butterball turkey to perfection.

Turkey and Stuffing Calculators at Home or in the Store: Take the guesswork out of how much to buy, when to buy and how long to cook.

Conversion Charts: Metric, temperature and traditional weight and measurement conversions.



Phone lines open November 1, 2013

Bilingual assistance available (English and Spanish)


Nov. 1 through Nov. 27: Weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Nov 23 through 24: Weekend 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., prior to Thanksgiving

Nov 28: Thanksgiving Day 6 5 p.m.

Nov 29 through Dec 23: Weekdays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dec 21 through Dec 22: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Dec 24: Weekend prior to Christmas, Christmas Eve 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Southern Pecan Pie with Toffee Crunch



1 refrigerated pie pastry (from 15 ounce package)

1 1/4 cups dark corn syrup

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups pecans, halved

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup toffee pieces, divided

1 tablespoon flour



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll pastry into a 12-inch circle on lightly floured surface. Fit into 9-inch pie plate. Fold edge under and flute edge. Combine corn syrup, eggs, pecans, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl. Toss 2/3 cup of toffee pieces with flour and stir into pecan mixture. Pour entire mixture into pie pastry. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove pie from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup of toffee pieces over the top. Cool completely before serving. Tips and Ideas: Garnish each slice with unsweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of additional toffee pieces.

Recipe from BUTTERBALL