Image Credit: Butterball

Winners are Samantha Cruz and Kathy Sykes*

My husband and I have been cooking turkeys for years and after today’s conversation I’m convinced that I need to rethink my battle plan for cooking this year’s bird. I had an opportunity to interview Mary C. a Butterball Hotline Specialist and boy oh boy did she know her stuff.

I thought it was so important for me to gather these tips for those of you cooking a turkey for the first time and have no idea where to start. Many of us are away from home for the holidays and can use alittle help as well.

In addition to the tips provided below by Butterball here are Army Wife 101’s tips for a good turkey:

1. Rub butter all over the turkey and place alittle up under the skin.

2. Let marinate with lots of poultry seasoning and garlic

3. I prefer the bag method of cooking.

 Below are just a few of the ideas and tips I left the conversation with from the Butterball expert:

Buying and Thawing The Turkey

* To determine the size of the turkey you will need to think about the amount of people you will have over to eat. Butterball has made it easy for you by having a calculator that tells you how big of a turkey you need.

* Many refrigerators are colder then people think so it is best to purchase your turkey about a week before and let it thaw out in your fridge because it can actually take a few days to fully thaw. Also many people think that just because a turkey is fully thawed that you need to cook it right away. The truth is you have up to four days to cook it, so it is not as if you will need to cook it right away. Always allow a good amount of time for proper thawing.

Cooking The Turkey

* I was surprised to find out that “basting” a turkey does not do anything to moisten the turkey. Basting would be the same as pouring water on a raincoat , it runs right off. Every time you open the oven door every hour or so you are loosing heat , essentially causing the turkey to take longer to cook. While basting makes for great drippings it’s definitely not the end all be all of a great turkey!

* For a perfect sheen spray alittle vegetable oil on the turkey or rub some olive oil on it.

* Butterball’s tried and true method of cooking a great turkey is to use a pan with sides between two to three inches high. While a rack inside the pan is very important it doesn’t necessarily need to be a metal rack. You can use a bed of carrots or ball up aluminum foil to create a base to lay the turkey on . The purpose of doing this is to raise the turkey from the bottom of the pan and allow better heat to flow all around the turkey.

How To Tell When a Turkey is Done Cooking &Preventing a Dry Turkey

* While all Butterball turkeys come with a timer, the definitive way to tell if it is done cooking is to use a meat thermometer.

* Many people cook turkey in a cooking bag and leave them in the oven thinking it won’t dry out. The truth is once a turkey has reached it’s done temperature , cooking it further only dries it out .

* The suggested temperature for a turkey is as follows:

Thigh meat- 175°-180°

Breast meat-165°-170°

*Because the darker meat takes longer to cook then the white meat, about half way through the cooking process, place a piece of foil over the breast area to avoid drying it out. Shielding the breast makes for a tender and juicy turkey.

*Poke the thermometer in the turkey in several different spots to ensure proper temperature is reached all over.

*The ideal temperature to roast a turkey is 325° while the bag method recommended temperature is 350°.

Both the roast method and steaming (bag) method are perfectly safe ways to cook a turkey.

Safe Storage Methods for Turkey

* Never put a whole cooked turkey back in the fridge because it takes to long to cool down and reach proper safe cool temperatures. You should always carve and cut the turkey into pieces and then place back in the refrigerator.

*Butterball goes by a rule that a turkey should be cut up and leftovers stored within two hours of removing it from the oven for safe consumption.

*Avoid leaving cooked meat sitting on the counter for hours.

The Butterball Hotline launched today for the holiday season and they are there to answer your questions and guides you through the turkey making task.

Call 1-800-BUTTERBALL to talk to one of they 50+ Turkey Talk-Line experts.

Image Credit:Butterball


In the spirit of the holidays Butterball is graciously allowing me to give (2) readers a chance to win a FREE Butterball Turkey for Thanksgiving.

How To Enter

Simply leave a comment telling me a favorite Thanksgiving tip of yours.

Giveaway ends 11/14/2011 and winner will be chosen via

Winner must respond within 48 hours of me receiving notification email or another winner will be chosen in their place.

Please leave a valid email address so that I may contact you if you are the winner.

Disclosure: Butterball provided me with a free turkey certificate and two certificates to facilitate a giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own and do not reflect or represent Butterball in anyway.

You can read more about about my disclosure policy here.





Powered by Facebook Comments

147 Comments on *CLOSED*How To Properly Cook A Turkey Tips and Turkey Giveaway from ButterBall

  1. Try to do as much as possible before Thanksgiving Day. Try to get your casseroles or whatever dishes you are making, made up and ready to go, so you are not waking up at 3am to get everything ready on time.

  2. I make almost all the side dishes the night before Thanksgiving. It saves so much time (and stress!) when most of the food is already cooked, just take them out of the frig and rewarm them right before the meal.

  3. Keep it simple. Don’t try a lot of new recipes that you haven’t ever made before, go for quality not quantity and it’ll be less stressful and just as delicious if not more.

  4. Thanksgiving tip: It is easier than you think! Even if it’s your first time, online recipes and YouTube videos go a LONG, LONG way! My first attempt at a feast wasn’t perfect, but it was close! Thank you, internet!

  5. TURKEY TIP….Not only do I use Reynolds Baking Bags for my Turkey, BUT I ALSO RUB the turkey down with Margarine/Butter. I completely coat the entire turkey and rub it within the cavity. I then sprinkle a small amount of cajun seasoning on top of the butter. The margine/Butter rub helps create a BEAUTIFUL browned outer coloring. I also use Cajun Injection seasoning. I INJECT, Butter/Margarine Coat, & Season 24 HOURS BEFORE I cook the turkey. This allows the all of the seasonings to soak within the meat…it’s sooo much better!!! =)

  6. I try to prep as much as I can the day before. I also make sure that I have enough of everything in the house, so I don’t have to worry about running out to the store that day. I make lists of everything I might need, and often times by twice as much, just in case. Especially since we never have a final count of who will be stopping by our house, those single soldiers don’t always plan ahead :)

  7. Taking lots of butter, salt and peper to season the turkey. Then basting with chicken broth, salt and melted butter every 15mins! The turkey turns out so yummy!!! Just make sure not to set your oven on fire.

  8. Chopping up any all veggies the day before such as onions and celery, prioritize your self so every thing gets done around the same time so nothing is cold, use disposable cook wear ( the tin or aluminum pans and trays) for a easier clean up

  9. We try something new every year! This year we’ll be doing a beer can Turkey with bacon strips. With some corn-bread stuffing. Am going to bake it on 325 for the slow cooking. Can’t wait :-)

  10. I ALSO start cooking/baking the day before oin Wednesday. I cook my cassaroles, and pies the day before so that on Thursday I can bake the TURKEY, HAM, and Mashed Potatoes before Family & Friends arrive. I also reheat the cassaroles and pies as company arrives, and the gravy is heating.

    My home is always filled with family, friends, and any soldiers that do not have a way to go home for the holidays. This year my husband is overseas and I am so excited to have friends and family coming. Some are spouses who’s husband’s are overseas also.

  11. My tips are to prepare as much as possible in advance & try deep frying the turkey. It comes out moist & tender with a crispy outside-yum!
    Also, try to relax as much as possible & spend time w/ those you love. :)

  12. I prepare all my stuffing and veggies, and pies the day before so on thanksgiving I only have a little to do and can relax

  13. Deep Fry is the best way to have a turkey!!! It turns out super moist, also use a Cajun injector seasoning!!!!

  14. I just do as much as I can before Thanksgiving. Sides, desserts, and breads are done the days before. Always brine the turkey. Lastly, remember to give thanks.

  15. When I cook my turkey I will set the timer so that I can baste it and rotate it every 30 minutes. Comes out perfectly juicy EVERY time!!

  16. I do all of my baking/desserts a day or two before. I prep as much as I can for side dishes and if possible make them Wednesday night. Since I make a Turkey and a ham, I need to devote all my cook time to them. If guest offer to bring things, I have them bring a side or dessert to alleviate soem of my cook time. I also set table the table the night before so that I am not rushing to do it while compnay is arriving.

    • Recruit help! It gives you an excuse to get some people there earlier so you can spend more time with your family! :-)

  17. Going to keep it simple this year since it’s my first thanksgiving away from home. I will take everything I’ve learned thoughtout the years of helping my grandma. Also I know to make desert the night before.

  18. Lots of mash taters and lots of gravy ;) with garlic
    with turkey and corn and yams all mixed together with a roll on the side..

  19. At the risk of sounding cliche, Im very thankful for my family. Unfortunately, I will not be able to spend Christmas with them this year (though I will be home soon after). Especially when a deployment is on the horizon, it brings into sharp focus how important family is and how little time we have with them.

  20. The best turkey is deep fried turkey. When frying a turkey the most important things are knowing how much your turkey weighs, how long the turkey need to cook for, how how the oil is that you are using and make sure to take the turkey out and put it in slowly.

  21. My tip is when you are baking the turkey, keep marinating it. This will keep the turkey juicy and the breast soft.

  22. Buy an electric carving knife,it will save you time, and possibly save you a finger…lol. My mother sliced her finger open two Thanksgiving’s in a row, after that we bought an electriccarving knife. Also prepare your desserts the night before.

  23. You can never have too much pumpkin pie and mashed potatos and gravy….and my tip for a yummy turkey is to pour red wine over it after you stuff it and put it in a roasting bag to keep it moist give the turkey great flavor and makes the gravy so yummy.

  24. butter, butter, garlic, and more butter. i to rub the turkey with butter. half way thru i add more butter on top! :) one can never have to much butter!!!

  25. I’ve learned to ALWAYS buy a little more than you think you’ll need. You never know who doesn’t have family in the area (we’re a military family) and might need someone to spend the holidays with :)

  26. Always make sure you have things to keep the children busy. We usually have holiday kids’ movies, as well as coloring pages and I usually come up with some fun arts and crafts the kids can make. This doubles as an awesome opportunity for the kids to make Christmas gifts ahead of time!

  27. As other posters commented, I also rub lots of butter on my turkey. In addition to that, I place a tinfoil tent over the top and most importantly, SAVE THE GIBLETS and make gravy from boiled giblets, eggs, and drippings from the turkey.

  28. Putting the turkey on top of rutabaga!! it makes it so moist!! and adds a lot to the flavoring of the gravy!! You have to actually line the bottom of the pan with the peices of rutabaga cut into disks and then when making the gravy puree everything on the bottom of the pan!!! YUM!!

  29. I cook most of my sides the night before and or prep/cut any vegetables I need to have for the big day. I use foil pans to avoid a ton of clean up in regards to dishes and DEFINITELY clean as you go!

  30. We do deep.frying.turkey and do a lot of the preparations the night before. We have thanksgiving for the soldiers that do not go home.

  31. I prepare our turkey night before i wash the turkey and let it dry then baste and stuff it next morning goes in the oven

  32. My tip……..Don’t invite the in law that always takes ALL the white meat turkey leftovers so you then have none left for your family the next day. If you must invite her make her bring a second turkey or pitch in for the cost! Lol Happy Thanksgiving All! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.