The Butterball Turkey Hotline highlights

If you think the radio talk shows get a lot of strange calls, take a look at some of the questions that the folks at the Butterball Turkey Talk-line have fielded over the years. They receive over 100,000 calls each year.  Here are just a few of the best:

  • Turkey thermometerCan I poke holes all over the turkey and pour a can of beer over it to keep it moist? You’ll do more harm than good- the skin keeps the moisture in. Poking holes in it will dry it out.
  • Can you thaw a frozen turkey using an electric hair dryer? Or by wrapping it in an electric blanket? In the aquarium with my tropical fish? In the tub while the kids are having their bath? No, no, no, and no. If you’re in a hurry, thaw the turkey in the kitchen sink by immersing it in cold water. Allow half an hour per pound, and change the water every half hour.
  • The family dog bit off a big piece of the turkey. Can the rest of it be saved? Maybe. If the damage is localized, cut away the dog-eaten part of the bird and serve the rest. Disguise the maimed bird with garnishes, or carve it up out of view of your guests and serve the slices. The less your guests know, the better.
  • The family dog is inside the turkey and can’t get out. A few years back, Butterball really did get a call from the owner of a chihuahua that climbed inside the raw bird while the owner’s back was turned. The opening was big enough for the dog to get in, but not big enough for it to get back out. The turkey expert instructed the owner on how to enlarge the opening without injuring the dog. (No word on whether the bird was eaten.) Butterball has also fielded calls from owners of gerbils and housecats. “I was told not to talk about that,” one Talk-line staffer told a reporter in 1997.
  • I’m a truck driver. Can I cook the turkey on the engine block of my semi while I’m driving? If I drive faster, will it cook faster? There’ve been cases in wartime where soldiers cooked turkeys using the heat of Jeep engines, but Butterball gives no advice on the subject.
  • I don’t want to cook the whole turkey, so I cut it in half with a chainsaw. How do I get the chainsaw oil out of the turkey? Toss the turkey and go get some hot dogs.
  • The turkey in my freezer is 23 years old. Is it safe to eat? Butterball advised the caller that the bird was safe to eat, but that it probably wouldn’t taste very good. “That’s what we thought,” the caller told the Talk-line. “We’ll give it to the church.”

A few more questions asked of the hotline…

  • Does the turkey go in the oven feet first or head first?
  • Can I baste my turkey with suntan lotion?
  • How long does it take to thaw a fresh turkey?
  • When does turkey hunting season start?
  • How do I prepare a turkey for vegetarians?
  • How long does it take to cook a turkey if I leave the oven door open the whole time? That’s how my mom always did it.

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