The One Thing You Shouldn't Forget When Making a Thanksgiving Turkey

The One Thing You Shouldn't Forget When Making a Thanksgiving Turkey

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Ariel Knutson
Nov 18, 2014
(Image credit: Ariel Knutson)

If your stuffing, mashed potatoes, or pie don't turn out well on Thanksgiving, that's a bummer. But if your turkey is inedible and can't be served? That's a major problem. Despite the fact turkey is relatively easy to make, it's this pressure that makes cooking the bird a little intimidating. Nobody wants to be responsible for messing up the main attraction.

According to Butterball, expert in all things turkey, there's one thing you need to make turkey just a little easier on Thanksgiving. Can you guess what it is?

(Image credit: Ariel Knutson)

Butterball Turkey Talk-Line expert Karen Wilcher says that when people call and are nervous about making a turkey for Thanksgiving, she suggests making sure they have a thermometer on hand.

If you have one in your kitchen, make sure it still works and put it aside so it won't go missing on Thanksgiving. If you can't find your thermometer or you're due for a new one, buy one now. It doesn't have to be expensive.

If your turkey isn't thawed on Thanksgiving, there are ways to hurry along the process. If you don't have a good thermometer to check if the turkey is done on Thanksgiving, on the other hand, things can get a little tricky. "Is it done," is one of the most common questions received on the Butterball hotline, and a thermometer generally solves this problem.

(Image credit: Ariel Knutson)

When I was visiting Butterball University, I noted that we used two thermometers to check on the turkey we were making. The more the merrier! The cheaper thermometer was left in the thigh while an instant read thermometer was used to check the breast. Butterball suggests that the bird be brought to 180°F for the thighs, and 170° F for the breast before taking it out of the oven.

More coming this week from my tour of the Butterball HQ — including lots of tips from the good folks at the Butterball turkey hotline (believe me; they've heard it all!).

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