Turkey baking tips to ease your anxiety over cooking the bird this Thanksgiving

A butterball turkey expert offers advice to ease your worries

Turkey experts are standing by to take your calls right now.

Many of us plan to spend a good amount of time in the kitchen this weekend preparing the bird, the stuffing, and all the other delicious things.

However, for the first-time turkey baker, there are a lot of questions.

Butterball turkey expert Susan Smith says the number one mistake is not giving your bird enough time to thaw.

Take your frozen turkey out of the freezer now, she says.

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It takes about one day for every four pounds in the refrigerator.

For example, if you have a 5-7 kg turkey you plan to eat on Monday, take it out of the freezer now, and put it on a tray at the bottom of your refrigerator.

“On Sunday, if it still seems pretty frozen you can soak it in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes,” she says.

If it’s thawed, put it back in the refrigerator, and it’ll be fine for Monday.

When it comes to cooking, the simplest way is to place it in a shallow open pan, uncovered in a 325-degree oven. Brush it with some vegetable oil to get a nice golden brown colour.

As for the bird’s positioning, Smith says your best bet is to cook it breast up.


“For a few years, it was a trend to cook it breast down with the theory it would be juicier,” Smith explains.

“We’ve tested it breast side down, and we don’t find that it’s any juicier that way. The breasts are self-marinating and are already juicy, so we recommend cooking it breast up the whole time.”

The sure-proof method to know your turkey is done is by using a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 180 in the thigh and 170 in the breast.

Rock 95 Turkey Drop

One thing you have to take note of is if your turkey is pre-stuffed.

If you buy a frozen pre-stuffed turkey, you should not defrost it. Those are meant to be cooked from frozen. They will take longer to cook but must be cooked from frozen.


Then comes the best part, the leftovers! Those should be refrigerated within two hours.

Smith says they get a ton of questions on their hotline at this time of year and love to hear from people new to cooking the feast. You can call them at 1-800- butterball if you have any questions.

Happy thanksgiving!