top ten questions
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Butterball's top ten questions
Questions regarding virtually every topic come in to the BUTTERBALL TURKEY TALK-LINE, but the most frequently asked questions remain constant.
1. What's the best way to thaw a turkey?
Refrigerator thawing is recommended. However, if time is short, submerge the turkey in cold water. Thawing the turkey at room temperature is not recommended as it could promote bacterial growth.
Refrigerator Thawing
Thaw turkey in unopened wrapper breast-side up on a tray in the refrigerator.
For every four pounds of turkey, allow at least one day of thawing.:
Cold Water Thawing
Place turkey in unopened wrapper breast down and cover completely with cold tap water.
Change water every 30 minutes to keep surface of turkey cold.:
Estimate minimum thawing time to be 30 minutes per pound for a whole turkey.
2. How do you safely handle a turkey?
Follow these simple food safety guidelines:
Thaw frozen turkey in the refrigerator or cold water.
Keep thawed or fresh turkey in the refrigerator.
Prevent uncooked juices from dripping onto other foods in the refrigerator by placing packaged turkey on a tray.
Thawed turkey may be kept in the 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. It is recommended to use two cutting boards, one strictly to cut raw meats and the other for cooked and ready-to-eat foods. Cutting boards should be washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water after each use and allowed to air dry or dried with fresh paper towels.
Use paper towels, not cloth, to wipe off turkey and clean up juices.
Combine stuffing ingredients and 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 and disinfectant.
Use cooking methods that allow the turkey to reach an internal temperature of 140F in less than four hours and a final temperature of 180F in the thigh. If stuffed, the stuffing should reach 165F. 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 leftover cooked foods in separate containers in the refrigerator within two hours after cooking.
3. What's the best way to roast a turkey?
The Butterball Open Pan Roasting Method will consistently create a juicy, tender, golden brown, picture-perfect turkey.
Place thawed or fresh turkey, breast up, on a flat rack in a shallow pan, 3" deep.
Brush or rub skin with vegetable oil to prevent the skin from drying and to enhance the golden color.
Insert oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh muscle, but not touching the bone. When thigh is up to temperature, move thermometer to center of stuffing.
Place in a preheated 325F oven.
When the turkey is about two-thirds done, loosely cover the breast and top of drumsticks with a piece of lightweight foil to prevent overcooking the breast.
Place raw poultry on non-porous surfaces; these are easy to clean. It is recommended to use two cutting boards, one strictly to cut raw meats and the other for cooked and ready-to-eat foods. Cutting boards should be washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water after each use and allowed to air dry or dried with fresh paper towels.
Use this roasting schedule as a guideline; start checking for doneness 1/2 hour before recommended end times:
Frozen Whole Turkey
kg lbs Thawing time (fridge) Roasting time Stuffed Roasting time Unstuffed
2-4 5 - 8 2 days 3 3 hrs 2 2 hrs
4-5 8-11 3 days 3 - 4 hrs 2 - 3 hrs
5 - 8 11 -18 3 4 days 4 4 hrs 3 - 3 hrs
8 10 18 22 4 5 days 4 - 5 hrs 3 - 4 hrs
10 - 11 22 - 24 5 6 days 5 - 5 hrs 4 - 4 hrs
11 - 13 24 - 29 6 7 days 5 hrs 6 hrs 4 - 5 hrs

Frozen Stuffed Turkey(Do not thaw, cook from frozen)
kg lbs Roasting Time
4 - 5 9 - 11 4 - 6 hrs
5 - 6 11 - 13 6 6 hrs
6 - 7 13 - 15 6 - 6 hrs
7 - 8 15 - 18 6 - 7 hrs
8 - 9 18 - 20 7 hrs 8 hrs
Turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches the following temperatures:
180F deep in the thigh; also, juices should be clear, not reddish pink when the thigh muscle is pierced deeply.
165F in the center of the stuffing, if turkey is stuffed.
4. Where does the meat thermometer go?
When using an oven-safe meat thermometer, insert the thermometer in the thigh prior to placing the turkey in the oven and leave in while the turkey is roasting. Position the thermometer so it can be read while the turkey is in the oven.
When using an instant-read meat thermometer, do not leave the thermometer in the turkey during roasting. Insert in thigh and/or stuffing to take the temperature, then remove.
The tip of the meat thermometer should be placed in the thigh muscle just above and beyond the lower part of the thighbone, but not touching the bone, and pointing towards the body. For the stuffing temperature, the tip of the thermometer should be in the center of the body cavity.
5. How can leftover turkey be stored properly?
Within two hours after roasting, remove stuffing from turkey and carve meat off bones.
Refrigerator Storage:
Wrap turkey and stuffing separately and use within three days.
Frozen Storage:
Wrap turkey and stuffing separately in heavy foil, freezer wrap or place in freezer container or bags. For optimum flavor, use stuffing within one month and turkey within two months.
6. What's the proper way to stuff a turkey?
Generations of Canadians have been enjoying turkeys -stuffed and unstuffed. Whether you choose to stuff your turkey or cook stuffing in a casserole dish is a matter of personal preference. As with any preparation involving raw food ingredients, it is important to carefully follow proper food safety and handling procedures to ensure a safe turkey every time. For consumers who choose to stuff their turkey, we recommend the following five guidelines.
Prepare stuffing just before placing in turkey. Use only cooked ingredients in stuffing -saute vegetables, use only cooked meats and seafood (oysters), and use pasteurized egg products instead of raw eggs.
Place prepared stuffing in turkey just before roasting. Do not stuff the turkey the night before roasting.
Stuff both neck and body cavities of completely thawed turkey, allowing 1/2 to 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. Do not pack stuffing tightly in turkey.
Return legs to original tucked position, if untucked for rinsing or stuffing.
Use a cook method that allows the stuffing to cook along with the turkey. Do not stuff turkeys when cooking on an outdoor grill or water smoker or when using fast cook methods where the turkey gets done before the stuffing.
7. What do you need to do to a turkey just before roasting it?
Remove original plastic wrapper from thawed or fresh turkey.
Remove the neck and giblets from the body and neck cavities.
Drain juices and dry turkey with paper towels.
Stuff the turkey (optional) just before roasting; stuffing ingredients may be prepared earlier, but keep moist and dry ingredients separate and combine just before stuffing.
If untucked, return legs to tucked position.
Place turkey, breast up, on flat rack in shallow (3" deep) roasting pan.
Brush with oil to prevent drying of the skin.
Insert oven-safe meat thermometer into the deepest part of the thigh.
Follow roasting directions that come with every Butterball Turkey
Always use a meat thermometer. The turkey is done when the thigh temperature reaches 180F on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh next to body, not touching bone. If stuffed, place the meat thermometer in the center of the stuffing; temperature should be 165F.
When the turkey is cooked on an outdoor grill, water smoker or by fast cook methods where the turkey typically gets done faster than the stuffing, it is recommended that the turkey not be stuffed.
8. How do you know when the turkey is done?
Turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches the following temperatures:
180F/82C deep in the thigh; also, juices should be clear, not reddish pink when thigh muscle is pierced deeply.
165F/74C in the center of the stuffing, if turkey is stuffed.
9. Is it necessary to baste a turkey?
No
Basting the skin during roasting is not necessary. Pouring juices over the turkey's skin while it roasts will not make the meat juicier. The liquid penetrates only about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch beneath the skin and most of the juice will run off into the pan. Opening the oven door periodically to baste a turkey can interrupt roasting and may possibly lengthen the roasting time.
Before roasting, lightly coat the turkey's skin with oil, shortening or vegetable cooking spray to prevent the skin from drying.
10. Is a pre-stuffed turkey really safe?
Yes.
Butterball turkeys are stuffed immediately after processing when they are at their freshest.
Then they are blast frozen so there is no opportunity for bacterial growth.
The turkey is cooked from frozen so again there is no opportunity for bacterial growth.
Roasting Directions:
Preheat over to 325F/165C.
Before removing the bag, place the turkey under warm running water for one minute.
Remove the bag.
Remove the neck and giblets from the underside of the turkey.
Place the frozen turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
Brush the skin with vegetable oil to prevent drying.
Shield the neck area and exposed stuffing with foil to prevent overcooking.
Roast according to time listed on roasting chart.
Loosely cover with foil after 5 hours to ensure even cooking throughout.
Check for doneness with a meat thermometer.
The turkey is done when the thigh temperature reaches 180F/82C and the center of the stuffing reaches 165F/74C.
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