Turkeys are intimidating, even to the most experienced home cooks. Though not rocket science, cooking a 15 lb bird—or even choosing a cooking method—can be tricky. And it’s not like we get much practice.
But fear not! You are not alone. A quick dial to one of these turkey hotlines will get you on the line with a trained expert who will answer any turkey question or, more importantly, talk you through any turkey disaster imaginable. ANY.
Don’t believe me? The good folks who work the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line once talked a woman through removing a Chihuahua from her turkey’s cavity. That’s right, folks. Her dog got trapped inside the turkey. They also helped a man who realized, on Thanksgiving morning, that his turkey was bigger than the opening to his oven. (He ended up wrapping the turkey in a towel, stomping on it to break a few bones and finally got it in!)
These experts are no joke. Some, like Butterball Turkey Talk-Line expert Mary Clingman have been talking turkey on the hotline and on television including CNN, The Today Show and The Rachel Ray Show for over 24 years!
The most frequently asked questions are about thawing a turkey. The experts agree that if you get that part down and keep a meat thermometer on hand, you’ll be in good shape. Barring oven jams and frisky dogs, of course.
Butterball Turkey Talk-Line
The hotline is available in English and Spanish from 9 am – 9 pm weekdays through Dec. 23; 9 am – 7 pm weekends before Thanksgiving; and 7 am – 7 pm on Thanksgiving Day. You can also send the Butterball experts a message, specifying your preferred method of contact (email, phone, mail) or send them a tweet (a gobble?).
Foster Farms Turkey Hotline
800-255-7227 (when prompted, dial 1 to get live assistance)
This farm in California raised this year’s turkey for the annual White House turkey pardon. Seems pretty expert to me!
USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline
888-674-6854 (when prompted, press “1” for English, then “0” for a live help)
This line offers live assistance with a USDA food safety specialist from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Eastern time, Monday through Friday. Their area of expertise is safe food handling. This is the line to call if you are worried that your bird was improperly thawed or cooked. Service also available in Spanish.
Perdue Consumer Help Line
Perdue’s customer service hotline will be offering live assistance from 7am – 3pm Easten time on Thanksgiving day.
This “Thanksgiving Triage” line, open from 1 am – 1 pm on Thanksgiving morning, allows cooks to call in questions live to Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of public radio’s “The Splendid Table.” Joining the program this year are big time chefs and authors Jamie Oliver, Jose Andres, Joshua Wesson and Jane and Michael Stern. You can also submit questions online at splendidtable.publicradio.org/.
Reynolds Wrap Turkey Tips Line
This hotline provides recorded info about thawing and cooking turkeys.