Three T’s Of Turkey Preparation

As if seeing your entire extended family didn’t cause enough stress, preparing an enormous meal can be downright overwhelming. Turkey is almost always the centerpiece of the holiday feast, so making a quality bird is extremely important.

Luckily, the Butterball Turkey Talk Hotline is here to help. Womensforum had a chance to speak with co-director of the Turkey Talk Line Nicole Johnson and talk about what steps you’ll need to take ensuring a delicious turkey.

Johnson described preparing the perfect turkey using what she called the “three T’s.” By following these three simple steps, you’ll be able to prepare and excellent meal with no trouble at all!



Thawing out the turkey is an often overlooked step that puts a lot of amateur chefs in a tough spot. Thawing out a turkey can take hours or even days depending on the method you choose.

Using the refrigeration method can take 24 hours for every 4 pounds of turkey meat, and Johnson reminded us that, “a 20-pound turkey’s gonna take a good five days when using the refrigeration method. If you’re short on time, or you don’t have the refrigeration space, opt for the cold water bath.”

The cold water bath offers a much quicker thawing method, only taking about a half hour per pound.



The second ‘T’ of Butterball’s turkey-tips is the thermometer. The meat thermometer is the best way to tell how close your turkey is to being ready during the whole cooking process.

It’s important to remember that different parts of the turkey will require different temperatures to indicate they’re ready to enjoy! There are three key places you’ll want to measure on your bird:

  • Thigh: 180 degrees
  • Breast: 170 degrees
  • Stuffing: 165 degrees



You might not have ever heard of the third and final ‘T,’ but it’s an essential step in ensuring a quality turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. ‘Tenting’ is done when about two-thirds of the cooking process has is completed, when the breast area of the bird starts to brown a little faster than other parts of the turkey.

“So at that time you can take your piece of foil, tent that breast area,” Johnson told us, “and that’s gonna help prevent the breast from over-browning.”

So thawing, thermometer, tenting. Three easy T’s to remember to have one of the tastiest holiday meals yet. Got your own questions about your holiday bird? Give the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line a call at 1-800-butterball!


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Tracy is the Editor in Chief for WomensForum. The daughter of a Texas football coach and a high school teacher, Tracy is a passionate sports fan, an avid reader, world traveller and connoisseur of barbeque. When she's not being a workaholic, our Gal Friday is catching up on the latest binge-watch show, exploring a new neighborhood or being Sid and Harry's favorite aunt.