It’s almost time to cook for Thanksgiving but before you don that apron, you’d better be worthy of it. We’ve got the most unbelievable turkey recipe right here. But it’s your job to avoid the pitfalls that come with preparing a Thanksgiving feast for family and friends. The last thing you want to serve is a rare turkey with wine that has an off taste. Need a few tips to get that feast just right? Here they are, thanks to our Thanksgiving experts, Butterball and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi.


1. GET YOUR THAW RIGHT If you bought your bird frozen, it needs to be the right temperature when you cook it. If you’ve got room in your fridge, then follow these guidelines for refrigerator thawing. If there’s no room, or no time for that, skip right to the rules for cold water thawing below.

Refrigerator Thawing

  • Thaw breast side up, in an unopened wrapped on a tray in the fridge
  • Allow at least one day of thawing for every 4 lbs

Cold Water Thawing

  •  Thaw breast side down, in an unopened wrapper, with enough cold water to cover your turkey
  • Change water every 30 minutes to keep the turkey chilled
  • Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per lb

2. TIME YOUR TURKEY RIGHT It’s so frustrating to run out of cooking time when your guests arrive hungry. So make sure to preheat the oven ahead of time and make sure you have your meat thermometer handy.

Turkey Cooking Time

  • The turkey is done when the temperature is 180°F in the thigh and 165°F in the breast or stuffing
  • If you don’t have a thermometer, make sure the turkey legs are on top so you can wiggle them. If they are loose and wiggly, your turkey is done.


Q. How much wine do I need?

A. One bottle (750mL) will serve five glasses of wine.

Q. How full should each glass be?

A. Never fill glasses more than ⅔ full. Leaving room in the glass allows your guests to swirl the wine and avoids spillage.

Q. What’s the ideal wine temperature?

A. For red wine, store at room temperature and place in refrigerator for 20 minutes prior to serving. For white wine, place wine in refrigerator for two hours and remove 20 minutes before serving.

Whether you are an experienced cook or this is your first time hosting a holiday dinner, Butterball turkey will make you look like a star. Unsure about any step along the way? Call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL (288-8372).

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