Talkin’ Turkey

poblano turkey

So, on Saturday I shared my Poblano, Cilantro and Citrus Roast Turkey recipe with y’all and gave two of y’all the chance to win Butterball Turkeys (congrats to the winners!)

Today, for Mouthwatering Monday and in honor of Thanksgiving coming up and Turkeys being cooked all across the country — I’m sharing the interview that I got to do with Mary Clingman, Director of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line.

Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions and sharing your knowledge with my readers and me; Please introduce yourself and share how long you’ve been a Butterball Diva 🙂

My name is Mary Clingman and I have been on the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line for 25 years.

Do you remember your first phone call? Were you nervous, excited.. was it an easy question or did it dump you right into the hot water?
I was VERY nervous to take that first call! I had studied and thought I was pretty comfortable with the information but I just KNEW that first call was going to be someone who would ask me something that I had no clue how to answer! Well, I took the first call and it was a young woman who didn’t have any money and she thought it would be a good idea to cook her little boneless turkey breast just enough to be able to get a couple of slices off of it and then she would freeze the roast back up for another time to cook it again. She didn’t know I did this but a big smile came on my face because I KNEW the answer! (do not cook turkey in different steps).

What question do you get asked the most?
“What’s the best way to thaw a turkey?” is the most popular question year after year. Some people may not realize you should allow one day of refrigerator thawing for every four pounds of turkey.  In fact, Butterball is declaring November 18 “National Thaw Day” to encourage people to purchase their turkeys in time to thaw properly before the holiday!

Can you share with us your craziest story or question? Oddest, funniest etc.. Has anyone ever called crying?
A flustered father called the Talk-Line a few hours after his wife had given birth to their first child.   He was concerned their turkey had been thawing in the fridge for too long while he was at the hospital.

When the staffer asked the man how much it weighed, he replied, “The turkey or the baby?

After determining the turkey’s weight and thawing time, I assured him he would be able to deliver a safe, delicious Thanksgiving dinner by the time mom and the baby returned home.

What is the best advice that you can give a first time Turkey cooker?

My top tip for new (and experienced) cooks are what I call the Three T’s:

  • · Thaw: Thawing in the refrigerator is the recommended method. For every four pounds of turkey, allow at least one day of thawing in the refrigerator. The refrigerator temperature should be 40° F or below.
  • · Temperature: Always use a meat thermometer to determine when the turkey is fully cooked. The turkey should reach 180° F in the thigh, 170° F in the breast and 165° F in the center of the stuffing.
  • · Two-Hour Rule: Store leftovers in separate containers within two hours after cooking and eat or freeze within two days.

Who calls more often? Men or Women?
We receive calls from both men and women across all age groups. We’ve seen a surge in men over the last few years…30 years ago we had less than 10% of callers were men. Today it is around 25%!

What is your favorite part about being a Turkey Diva?
I love that my job allows me to help so many people during the holidays. I get to join families across the country during one of the most special times of the year – not many jobs can offer that!

If you had one trick or secret to share to making a Tonguegasmic Turkey — what is it?
Always have a meat thermometer handy to determine done-ness! Oh and definitely tent the turkey breast with a piece of Reynolds foil 2/3 through the cooking process to ensure a tender and juicy turkey.

What’s your favorite way to prepare Turkey?
I prefer cooking in an open roasting pan. It makes cooking your turkey so easy, and your turkey comes out tender and juicy every time.

Thank you so much, Mary, for taking the time to answer these questions for us AND for being such a help to so many people!!!
I can’t wait to see what y’all have been cooking up and sharing with friends and family! Thank y’all for linking your delicious recipes!
Please leave a comment after linking up your picture and recipe, make sure that you link back here in your post so that others can find the Mouthwatering Monday fun and visit at least 3 other participants! Trust me, you’ll love it, although you may need a drool bib 🙂

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  1. My bestfriend got married when we were only 18 and had their first Thanksgiving a few weeks later at their new home. I’ll never forget the phone call we received that morning. She called frantically asking to talk to my mom. She wanted to know what was wrong with her turkey, she couldn’t understand why there was a hole in it!! We never laughed so hard!! I think of that moment every year!!

    1. bwahahaaaaa!!!!! I think that might seriously be the greatest Turkey query I’ve ever heard!! LOVE IT! Thank you so much for that giggle on this drizzly Monday!

  2. I finally found the comment button! DOH! It’s definitely Monday here! Thanks so much for hosting Mouthwatering Monday. I’ve linked up a recipe from a couple weeks ago, but it is lovely with Thanksgiving dishes so I thought I would include it! Really enjoyed your turkey post!

  3. I never felt intimidated about cooking a turkey, I just looked at the challenge this way , if I could roast a chicken, I could roast a turkey, same concept just on a simply larger scale! It also helped toknow that if I had any questions, my mom was only a phone call away. My first turkey I cooked was when we had only been married a few months and once I made up my mind to do it and thot if it as a really big chicken, well, it was not that hard at all and the turkey turned out great! Since then and that was 31 years ago, I have come up with additional ideas to enhance the flavor of the turkey on my own and everytime it seems to get better! Not bragging, just stating a fact! So all that to say, just jump in, ask questions if you need and enjoy the adventure of cooking!

  4. Hi Rachel! What a very cool interview with Butterball! I can’t wait for thanksgiving because I LOVE turkey! I am linking up a great Giada recipe for smoked mozzarella stuffed meatballs with a great sauce that has a very long name! All the best! Alex

  5. I love turkey. Somehow, with no knowledge of what I was doing, I’ve managed to always make a decent turkey. I had one near disaster the year that I didn’t get it quite defrosted (okay that is most years) and my BFF got her hand stuck inside the turkey trying to pull the bag of yucky stuff out. I thought I was going to have to drive her to the ER with a turkey stuck on her hand…but we managed to get some cool water in there to get her hand unstuck.

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