Tampa Bay, Florida - You found the perfect turkey and now what? You can stuff it, bake it, roast it, even deep fry it but for how long? Butterball has their Turkey Talk phone line you can call in November and December, 1-800-Butterball (1-800-288-8372). According to Butterball's website they've solved some bizarre turkey situations everything from turkeys on fire to how to time it to be ready by halftime. Here are some common questions and answers.
Top Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long can I keep my turkey once it is open? Turkey lunchmeats should be refrigerated before and after opening. Once the package is opened, expect to keep the meat 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. If you've cooked a turkey or a roast, wrap leftovers and refrigerate within two hours. Again, finish the leftovers within 2 to 3 days of refrigerating.
2. Can I freeze my turkey? Feel free to freeze our turkey products in their original wrap before the Best-By date. Thaw in the refrigerator and use within 2 to 3 days.
* Thaw breast side up, in unopened wrapper, on a tray in the refrigerator.
* Allow for at least 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds of turkey.
* Thaw breast side down, in unopened wrapper, in enough cold water to cover it completely.
* Change the water frequently to keep the turkey chilled.
* Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per pound for a whole turkey.
3. What's the best way to thaw a turkey? Thawing a turkey can be harder than it seems.
4. What's the proper way to stuff a turkey? Too much stuffing and your turkey may not cook all the way through. Too little and it may be overcooked.
* Prepare your stuffing right before you place it in the turkey. Use only cooked ingredients in stuffing (i.e., sautéed vegetables, cooked meats or seafood, etc.). It is also important to remember to use pasteurized egg products instead of raw eggs.
* Place the prepared stuffing in the turkey just before roasting. Do not stuff the night before, as it could cause food-borne illness.
* Stuff both neck and body cavities of a completely thawed turkey, allowing 1/2 to 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound. Do not pack stuffing too tightly, as it may promote uneven cooking.
* When preparing a whole turkey for the oven, return legs to the original tucked position if they were untucked for stuffing. Turn wings back to hold the neck skin in place. Tucking the wings helps to stabilize the turkey in the pan and while carving. Note: If you are stuffing a whole breast of turkey, you can eliminate these steps.
* Do not stuff turkey if cooking on an outdoor grill or when using a water smoker. Additionally, do not stuff your turkey if you are using a fast-cook method in which the turkey will be done before the stuffing.
* Stuffing should be 165 degrees when done.
6. How do I know when my turkey is done? The best way to tell if your turkey is ready to eat is with a meat thermometer. When the meat thermometer reaches the following temperatures: 180 degrees deep in the thigh. At this temperature, juices should be clear, not reddish pink, when thigh muscle is pierced deeply. 165 degrees in the center of the stuffing, if turkey is stuffed. When the stuffed turkey is done, remove turkey from the oven and let the turkey with stuffing stand 15 minutes.
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