Butterball’s Top Ten
Turkey Questions

From the culinarily challenged to the seasoned pro, the experts at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line are just in time for the holidays to assist any type of cook with their turkey-related needs. In 1997, the Talk-Line responded to nearly 170,000 inquiries. Here is a list of the 10 most commonly asked questions last season.

1. What’s the Best Way to Thaw a Turkey?

Refrigerator thawing is recommended. However, if short on time, submerge the turkey in cold water. Thawing turkey at room temperature allows bacterial growth and is not recommended.

Refrigerator Thawing:

Thaw breast side up in its unopened wrapper on a tray in the refrigerator. Allow at least one day of thawing for every four pounds of turkey.

Cold Water Thawing:

Place breast down in its unopened wrapper in cold water to cover. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep surface cold. Estimate minimum thawing time to be 30 minutes per pound for whole turkey.

2. How Do You Recommend Handling a Turkey So It’s Safe to Eat?

Follow these food safety guidelines. Refer to specific categories for additional directions. Thaw frozen turkey in the refrigerator or cold water. Keep thawed or fresh turkey in a refrigerator. Prevent juices from dripping onto other foods in the refrigerator by placing wrapped turkey on a tray. Thawed turkey may be kept in a refrigerator up to four days before cooking. Roast fresh turkey as soon as possible, but no later than the "use by" date on the package. Place raw poultry on non-porous surfaces; these are easy to clean. Avoid wooden cutting boards. Use paper towels, not cloth, to dry off turkey and wipe up juices. Stuff turkey just before roasting, not the night before. Wash hands, work surfaces and utensils touched by raw poultry and its juices with hot, soapy water. Use cooking methods that allow the turkey to reach an internal temperature of 140F in less than four hours. Avoid using low roasting temperatures or partial cooking methods. Use a meat thermometer to determine turkey’s doneness.
Store turkey, stuffing, gravy, broth and other left-over cooked foods properly within two hours after cooking.

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